Power of Integrity

by Ron Potter
Image source: Phalinn Ooi, Creative Commons

Image source: Phalinn Ooi, Creative Commons


Recently I’ve had the opportunity to join a very small elite group of people. Thankfully the number of members is small because we’re among the few that have contracted one of the rare antibiotic resistant bacteria’s found in hospitals.

A few well-meaning friends have asked if we will be suing the hospital over the infection. Without hesitating, my immediate answer has been “no.” However, it’s been necessary for me to analyze my answer. Why have I reacted to a legitimate and meaningful question this way?

Overall I believe our society as a whole has become way too litigious and it’s harmful to be suing so easily over every issue. (It’s not healthy that we graduate more lawyers than engineers every year.) But that’s not a good enough reason.

As I began to examine my response in more depth, it seemed to boil down to a single reason why I’m not considering suing over this costly error:

The personal integrity of my doctor!

I’ve been reading Integrity: The Courage to Meet the Demands of Reality by Dr. Henry Cloud. In this book, Dr. Cloud explains that integrity is something far beyond personal honesty. It includes the dimensions of:

  • Establishing trust
  • Being oriented toward truth
  • Getting results
  • Handling the negative
  • Being oriented toward growth

In his chapter on establishing trust, Dr. Cloud speaks to connection between people; listening to understand, empathizing and connection. Here’s a quote from the section:

“Medical malpractice lawsuits are avoided when a doctor listens and understands what the patient or family has experienced as a result of an error.”

Whether an error occurred or not, I don’t know. But I do know that our doctor has been with us every step of the way with full transparency, understanding, listening, empathy, and personal sacrifice on his part. This is a man of true and deep integrity. The power of that integrity comforted and calmed me and helped me through the hard times of dealing with this infection.

Have you ever thought about how much your personal integrity impacts the ability of your people to be productive and calm as they weather the storms of corporate life?

There is a chapter on integrity in my book Trust Me and I have always helped my clients understand the power of integrity by claiming,

“If I don’t believe you have integrity, I’m not interested in being influenced by you. Leadership is only influence. If you surrender your integrity, you lose your ability to influence and lead.”

Integrity needs more than just protecting; It needs nurturing, growing, and developing. Those of the greatest integrity will be the greatest leaders.

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George Azrak May 15, 2015 - 12:48 pm

Wow… So true… Blessed to know you Mr. Potter.

Lynn Pavlis-Jenkins April 4, 2016 - 12:18 pm

Hi Ron,
After reading your post today on the “The Real Deal- The Barriers to Integrity”, I moved to this post on “The Power of Integrity”. This blog spoke to me on many levels. The world needs more people like you, who truly walk their Integrity.

I hope your battle with antibiotic resistance bacteria has been waged and won, and you are on the mend.

FYI, I have launched LPJ Consulting. Thank you again for your support and coaching. Your eagle story remains framed in my office, for daily inspiration.


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