The timely and timeless virtue of integrity was formulated across a succession of centuries and passed down to us as a legacy of upright conduct. Authorities of the ages rank it first among the noble cardinal virtues. The absence of it is unmistakable—among individuals, professionals, and corporations. It goes lacking:
• if we place too little premium on trustworthiness and reputation;
• if we cannot keep our word in matters great and small;
• if we ascribe no weight to accountability;
• if we fail to deliver as promised, when promised, in the manner promised;
• if we are prone to cut corners and play loosely with the rules;
• if we have no sense of sin; as Robert Radcliffe , president of the Southern Company, called it;
• and, if we are unwilling to stand up and be counted when it counts.
Then! over time, our relationships—personal and otherwise–our good works, products, and services will find fewer and fewer takers.
That’s as true as turnips and taxes and ain’t nothin’ truer than them,” David Copperfield told Mr. Barkus.