Successful People Build Their Brand on Integrity

Competence is one of the keys to success in my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success; Your Success GPS; Star Power, I Want YOU…to Succeed and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success

If you want to succeed you need to develop four basic, but important competencies: 1) creating positive personal impact; 2) becoming a consistently high performer; 3) communication skills; and 4) relationship building.  

Creating and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.  While your personal brand should be uniquely you, it should be built on integrity.  According to Wikipedia, “Integrity is consistency of actions, values, methods, measures and principles.”  Integrity and consistency are intertwined.  People who are consistent in their actions are seen as people with a high degree of integrity.

Which brings me to the point I want to make in this post… 

Recently, I had an opportunity to review a new video called “Ouch! Your Silence Hurts.”  This video deals with a subject with which many people are uncomfortable – what to do when someone says things that are in conflict with your values. 

The video has four vignettes in which someone says something derogatory about another person.  In the first vignette, a person’s name is dropped from a promotion list because of her image.  We’re left to guess the image – it could be that she is overweight, it could be that she is disabled, it could be that she has oddly colored hair.  In the second, a server at a restaurant gives very poor service to a Black couple and then complains when they don’t tip.  In the third, a person makes insulting remarks to an Hispanic man.  In the fourth, several people in a team building session make veiled comments that question a man’s sexual preference.

Each of the vignettes demonstrates a discriminatory attitude that results in a negative situation.  If you are someone who values the dignity of every human being, and believes that our diversity makes us stronger, you probably would be offended if you experienced these vignettes in real life.

The producers of “Ouch! Your Silence Hurts” suggest that you can react to such situations by being a “silent colluder”, a “passive bystander” or a “pro-active ally.”  The message in the video is that we all need to become pro-active allies if we are to defeat stereotyping – and its negative effect — in the workplace and society. 

If your brand is built on integrity and you claim to value the dignity of every human being, you should become a pro-active ally when you encounter such situations.  That means that when you experience a negative situation, you take positive action to address it.  You speak up – you say something, even if it means that others might be uncomfortable.

Several years ago, I was conducting a team building session.  At one point in the session, one of the participants blew up and went on a rant.  After he finished, there was dead silence in the room.  I sat quietly waiting to see what would happen.  After about  a minute, one of the participants started a new conversation – essentially acting as if the entire rant hadn’t happened.  Just as I started to say that we couldn’t just move on, we needed to discuss the rant, the effect on the team and the issue that caused it, one of the members of the group spoke up.  She said something like, “That was quite a blow up.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m uncomfortable moving on until we take some time to discuss it.”  She chose the pro-active ally route.

Notice that she wasn’t confrontational.  She did two things.  She labeled the incident, “quite a blow up.”  More important, she spoke about how she felt, “I’m uncomfortable moving on until we take some time to discuss it.”  She stayed true to her personal brand of being forthright – and she helped the team.  And she did it in a non confrontational or blaming manner.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people create positive personal impact.  Creating and nurturing your unique personal brand should be your first step in creating positive personal impact.  Regardless of how you choose to brand yourself, you should build your brand on integrity.  This means saying what you think.  The newly released video, “Ouch! Your Silence Hurts” suggests that you should become a “pro-active ally” instead of a “silent colluder” or “passive bystander” when you encounter a situation that doesn’t fit with your values.  I like this video.  It is a wakeup call.  It tells us that we shouldn’t let words and actions that conflict with our values go unchallenged. 

That’s my take on maintaining the integrity of your personal brand when you encounter difficult or unpleasant situations.  What’s yours?  Please take a few minutes to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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  1. The strategy that the women in your example employed is quite interesting. As you point out, she neither attacked the negative behavior, nor did she let is slide.

    Being able to pull off such an adept maneuver in the middle of a heated situation is not the easiest thing to do, however I agree that it is probably a skill worth learning.

  2. This woman is a wonderful person — and a great leader.

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