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What is Integrity?

Updated: Dec 5, 2022

As seen in APeeling in Summer 2020

The Definition of Integrity.

Knowing the definition of integrity is important because many people use the word, however few know what it really means to live with integrity.

Too often people believe they are living in integrity when their behaviours are not in line with their words. This occurs because they don’t know how they are behaving, they think integrity is a value but they don’t know the meaning of the word.

According to the Webster’s dictionary integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. Or the state of being whole and undivided. This definition doesn’t fully define integrity.

Integrity is doing what you say and committing to what you said. It’s being congruent in your messages, being congruent in your values, staying true to yourself no matter the situation.

It is also being true to what you committed to and having people in relationships with you, who are congruent to that integrity as well.

It is being who you say you are and matching your behaviour with your words.

It is the foundation for a successful employee-employer relationship. It promotes a culture where individuals can depend on one another because they treat each other with respect. As a result, people are typically more productive and motivated.

My Integrity Story

If I think about integrity, I think about holding people accountable to their words and actions. I used to have Monday meetings at Matrix, my IT company, at noon every week. It was an hour and a half long meeting about life by design and people hated it, until they started realizing why we were doing it.

One guy would always show up late. I wouldn’t have a conversation with him about his tardiness because I didn’t want to have a conflict and he was such a good employee. I didn’t want to lose him because I knew he didn’t like the meeting and wanted to rock the boat. I didn’t push him. He kept on showing up late and then one day I said, “Listen, you know you are showing up 10 minutes late and there are 10 of us in this meeting. That’s one hundred people minutes you waste each week and I can’t afford for you to not showing up on time. You need to show up on time.” The next week, he showed up late again. So, I told him go home.

After that, he always showed up on time.

I had to make showing up on time important to him and everyone on the team. This was a few years ago. He messaged me a couple days ago saying, “I wanted to reach out and let you know that you had a massive impact on my life. My time at matrix turned a lot of things right for me. It led me to where I am today and I couldn’t be more thankful. I often think about how different things would have been if you guys had not brought me on the team.” I didn’t think he got it, but he got it.

I believed in integrity and following up. If you say you’re going to show up – show up. If you can’t do it, give people ample notice that you can’t make it. Don’t call in five minutes before saying I’m running late. You’re not running late. You didn’t think. You didn’t plan and you didn’t communicate. I’m very particular about time.

I used to have a saying in my in my IT company, I have zero tolerance for not being excellent. That means we push hard. We give it all we got, we do everything we need to based on our core values, based on who we are, and based on why we do things. We give it 110%. It’s not perfection, it’s effort. It’s not saying “Well, whatever, we’ll get through it. We’ll just get it done.” No, it’s about getting it done so the people feel that they got so much value from you. They feel your excellence.

Most people know what Ritz stands for. Excellent, excellent service. I had the opportunity of staying there one night through a vendor, and I couldn’t believe they knew my name when I walked up to the front desk. The staff had a print-out of a profile, including a picture, on me before I went in. They find you and now they have Google glasses to do facial recognition. It’s not, “Hi, how are you?” It’s “Hi, Mr. Lavji, Welcome to the Ritz Carlton. I hope your travels from Vancouver was good.” It’s an extra personal service.

There was a story about Ritz Carlton where a couple who went out one night were going on a cruise the next morning. The wife’s heel broke on their way back to the hotel late at night. When they passed the concierge hobbling, he says, “Can I have your broken shoe? I’ll have it resolved for you before you leave tomorrow morning on your cruise.” He knew exactly who they were and that they were leaving the next morning on a cruise. He got the shoe fixed and dropped off at the room nicely wrapped and said, “Enjoy your trip.” That is excellent service.

That’s a different level and when we get to that level, we can achieve excellence all the time. But what’s stopping us from getting there? What blind spot is stopping you from living in integrity and being excellent?

Your blind spots affect every aspect of your life, how you show up in relationships, and how you react to others. Every single one of your actions causes either a positive or negative impact on others, who then react either positively or negatively towards you. This cycle can cause an issue to escalate out of control or an emotionally charged situation to explode. In a professional environment these reactions can impact a person’s future opportunities for advancement and the team’s effectiveness to succeed. As a leader, you will need the tools to understand the situation and how to defuse any negative emotional build up.


Likky Lavji is a business coach, mentor, mastermind facilitator, and speaker. Discover more about him and the blind spot assessment at


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