Amybeth Hale – Research Goddess

A Lesson in Integrity, From a Reality TV Show
July 17, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: Thoughts

There’s a new show on Tuesday nights, I Survived a Japanese Gameshow!, which is questionable for entertainment value, but in this week’s episode, there was a lesson learned in integrity that I think could be applied in our line of work.

Mary, a 23 year old gym membership sales rep, and Donnell, a 24 year old real estate appraiser, made a deal with their teammate Meaghan, a 22 year old bartender, who put herself up in a previous episode for elimination with the promise that she would be immune from possible elimination this week. Both agreed, and Meaghan won her challenge and remained on the show. However, when their team was once again up for an elimination challenge this week, Donnell wanted to re-neg on their pact. Mary, however spoke on camera and decided that she would keep her promise to Meaghan because in her words, “I need to be true to myself and true to my word.” (paraphrased) She ultimately ended up being eliminated, but she can go home with a clear conscience knowing that she stayed true to her word and didn’t compromise her integrity by going back on a promise.

Who’d have thought that we could learn a lesson in integrity from a(nother) reality TV show? I was impressed that Mary stuck to her word, even when it resulted in her being eliminated from the show. Donnell, on the other hand, has to face a teammate that he stabbed in the back and deal with the trust issues that have no doubt resulted from it. And I’ll bet that the integrity Mary maintained will come back and reward her down the road. I am a firm believer in sowing/reaping – what you give is what you’ll get in return.

How often does a situation like this come up in our professional lives though? We make promises and give our word on things, but then when it’s not convenient for us, we ‘change our minds’ or try to justify why we cannot be true to our word. If we stopped to think about it, the convenience of the moment of going back on our word results in the destruction of a trusting relationship. It takes so much time and effort to develop trust, yet so little to break it down. Why destroy what you’ve worked so hard to build just because it’s not the absolute ideal situation for YOU, at the moment?

My thoughts on this are as follows: think about the promises you make to people, not just in the moment but over the long term. Will you be able to complete that search assignment in a timely manner? Will you be able to find that individual a new position? Can you meet the financial requirements your client has laid out to you? Don’t make a spur-of-the-moment promise to someone just to gain their immediate business if you don’t think you can fulfill it in the long run. Being honest with someone about what you can and cannot do will actually build more trust with them than if you give your word, only to go back on it later on.

No more reality TV for me 🙂 But I hope this gives you some food for thought!


1 Comment so far
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Great post! Reminds me of a saying I heard recently, “Promises are like crying babies at a theater – they should be carried out immediately!”

Comment by Jeff Radt

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