According to Webster’s dictionary, “integrity” is “the state of being unimpaired, sound,” “the quality or condition of being whole or complete.” Therefore, a system subject to external disturbance will retain its integrity if it preserves the functional relationships among all its components.
If you were to trace the word back through history to ancient Roman times, you’ll find the word “Integrity” means so much more.
Integrity is actually a combination of two words “integritas” and integer,” which were both used by Roman soldiers to describe their readiness for challenges. “Integritas” signified that the Romans armor was in sound condition while the word “integer” indicated the soldier wearing the armor was of sound morale character.
In the movie “Gladiator” we recall the opening scene when the General would walk down the line and inspect the legionnaires. You would always see the soldiers strike their armor breastplate with his right fist. What the legionnaires would actually shout in those days was the word “Integritas.” In this process the Centurion would listen for a certain ringing sound that would represent a well-kept sound armor. With this well-kept armor the soldiers were essentially in Integrity.
This “armor of integrity,” served the legion well for many centuries. However in later years the soldiers began to grow lazy and actually went out without their armor as they felt it became too heavy. As they took off their armor they left themselves vulnerable. As this armor came off, so, too came off their integrity.
So, as you venture out there in the battle field of business, make sure that you are staying true to the quality of being whole and complete by consistently wearing your armor of integrity.
To read more on this subject, read the book “Reclaiming the Ethical High Ground,” by John Di Frances.