Leading with Integrity

By Dana Morey

This blog post is part of a series on Morey’s culture and values. To begin with the first post, please click here.

In my last post on vision and culture, I defined values as the characteristics or traits that organizations place special importance on. When companies effectively clarify and communicate their values, they have guidelines for choosing the right direction to go and for making the right decisions. Their values determine what behaviors will be expected, celebrated, tolerated and not tolerated. Morey’s five core values are:

  • Commit to Honor
  • Own It
  • Value Each Other
  • Embrace Creativity
  • Build Partnerships

Let’s take a deeper look at what it means for us to Commit to Honor.

Legacy matters, and we believe lasting legacies are founded on integrity. Cranking out world-shifting ideas and products sounds amazing. Who wouldn’t want that?! But at the end of the day, we believe that who we are matters more than what we do. So we start with character.

There are certain words that can be hard to fully define—courage, valor, chivalry, nobility—because they represent some of the best of potential human qualities. I think of King Arthur and his knights of the round table as a timeless example of people who have set for themselves a higher standard and are committed to living by it. In movies, we want the hero to have honor. We don’t want to see them cheating on their spouse or treating people as if they don’t matter. We want to see people that we can look up to and emulate—not just because of what they’ve accomplished, but because of who they are. They make us want to be better. 

That’s why we chose to add honor to our list of values. Not because we already embody it perfectly, but because we aspire to.

Honor is a way of seeing in yourself and others inherent dignity and value which need to be recognized and respected.

Honor gives its seat on a crowded bus to an older person who needs it more. It points out that the server undercharged them or gave them too much change. Honor holds doors open for others and says please and thank you. It chooses not to talk behind people’s backs. Honor doesn’t cheat or lie or cut corners—not for fear of getting caught, but because it’s better to fail than to win by corrupt means. Honor doesn’t tell white lies or try to get away with things.

There is a magnanimous quality to honor—a nobility that is able to lift up other people, that looks out for the other guy, and that remains humble and gives the credit away. 

A person of honor may not achieve what is typically deemed as worldly success. They may not have much in their bank account or the kind of accomplishments that we give awards for. But they almost certainly are leaving a legacy, profoundly influencing the lives of those around them simply by the quality of person that they have become.

Recently, a dear old friend of my parents called to touch base. His name is Pete, and he’s 95 years old. During their conversation, he told my mom that in his 95 years of life, my dad is the most honorable man he has ever known. What a thing to be said about you! I believe that Pete is right. That is true about my dad and that is one of the reasons so many people love him. Through the good and the bad, one thing is for certain: My dad led Morey with honor. And I believe that quality is not only part of our legacy, but also a standard worthy of committing ourselves to.

In practice, this means committing to live honorably in two specific areas:

Personally: We care enough to look in the mirror every day and self-assess. Are we honest? Are we trustworthy? Are we loyal? What are our weaknesses? Where are we short-sighted? A commitment to integrity starts with being humble enough to work on our own shortcomings first.

Professionally: We don’t work hard and build partnerships to win accolades or accrue wealth; those are simply byproducts of business done the right way. A handshake without trust, a conversation without honesty, and a commitment without loyalty aren’t worth much. We bring real value to our people, our partners, and our peers through the character with which we conduct ourselves. And we hold ourselves to a higher standard because we believe that making the world a better place depends on it.

As we stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us and look to the future, we pay homage to our legacy and also forge a new one by championing the same level of honor that has gotten us where we are today.

Does your business value honor and integrity similarly? Let us know; we’d love to connect.