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Integrity and Good Governance is more than Paperwork

Ensuring integrity and good governance in an organization requires much more than papered principles of good governance. It requires organizational buy in. And, organizational buy in requires those who make up the organization, from top to bottom, to embrace and adopt integrity and good governance as the way business is done each and every day on the job. In other words, it’s the people in the organization that either bring integrity and good governance to life or leave it as thin wallpaper covering over the cracks that don’t change in the operation of an enterprise.

To have it work, really work, leaders in managing the organization have to manifestly treat integrity and good governance as an integral part of business every day. It can’t be filed away to be just pulled out and referred to in response to a crisis that may arise. It must become the way the organization does business, not some of the time, not most of the time, but rather all of the time. It’s similar to leaders on a sport’s team – if staff see that their leadership has incorporated integrity and good governance in all that they do, staff will follow the lead and be sure to get on board, i.e. support the team.

An organization’s true test of whether integrity and good governance has been truly woven into the fabric of the organization is when a situation arises that may cause embarrassment for the organization. This is when the going gets though, and as the saying goes, the tough get going. It’s easy to be a fair weather supporter of integrity and good governance. It takes true commitment to stick with these principles when their application discloses that something or someone within the organization has been or acted at odds with them. One route is to stick-handle the situation through the papered principles of integrity and good governance and endeavour to come out the other side unscathed and unnoticed. The other route, the one that will demonstrate an organization’s true adoption of these principles, is to permit integrity and good governance to carry the day, acknowledge their breach, respond with appropriate action, and move on with continued commitment to their proper place in the make-up of the organization. This takes the right decisions to be made by people, by leaders, within the organization. Paper alone cannot do it.

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