Integrity Matters

Posted by Kevin Jeffery on Mar 18, 2015


A pair of Marines at Officer Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia were on a night training exercise in the woods outside of the facility. At one point in the exercise, both of them suffered a significant lapse. Each Marine fell asleep on his watch.

 For one officer candidate, the incident became a constructive leadership development experience. For the other, it threatened to end his military career. Why the difference? 

The first Marine immediately and voluntarily owned up to letting down his fellow soldiers, and accepted full responsibility. He endured the appropriate punishment without protest, and as he did so, earned a measure of respect from those around him. The second Marine denied he had fallen asleep, then denied it again, and only admitted his failure after being presented with incontrovertible proof. In the process, he ended up damaging his credibility irretrievably Integrity matters 

 Business author Simon Sinek shares this story in his latest book, for which he spoke with a series of our nation's military leaders. You don't need to have served in the military to appreciate that, for Marines, trust is a matter of life and death. If a platoon of Marines cannot completely trust the information their officer is giving them – good, bad or anywhere in between – those soldiers might hesitate, or question their officer altogether. When that happens in a combat situation, people lose their lives.

 While the results aren't as immediate, we put our futures in the hands of our leaders in the business world, as well. We entrust our livelihood, and the security of our family members, to the leaders of our organization. We make important life decisions on the basis of what our leaders communicate to us. We count on them to tell us the truth, plainly and transparently, even when it's not what we want to hear.

 The effectiveness of an organization depends on this trust.

 If we believe our leaders say things just to make themselves look better, or to avoid their own accountability, our instincts tell us to hold back. We don't perform to our capabilities. "Why should I give my blood, sweat and tears to a company that doesn't value me enough to tell me the truth?" is a natural response. But when we have complete trust in what our leaders tell us, a virtuous cycle is unleashed. We're willing to fight for them, invest ourselves in their vision, or (to use a military term) jump in the foxhole with them time and time again.

 Long ago at Graniterock, we identified and embraced "Honesty & Integrity" as one of the Core Values that helps define who we are as an organization. We often think about this value as something essential to our reputation with our customers, and in the communities in which we work. We also know that practicing honesty and fairness in every business transaction is vital to Graniterock's compliance with the law and the highest standards of business ethics.

 All of that is important, of course, but the integrity we demonstrate to each other within Graniterock may be even more critical. Whether it’s the teams driving a new era of innovation at the A. R. Wilson Quarry, setting records for concrete yardage delivered from our Redwood City and San Jose Concrete branches while continuing to provide exceptional customer service, or working around the clock to make important runway safety improvements at the San Francisco International Airport within a demanding project schedule, Graniterock People are putting trust in their leaders and "jumping into the foxhole together" every day.

 As we honor that trust with transparency, honesty and integrity in all of our communications, we help ensure Graniterock will continue to thrive for the next 114 years

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