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A Measure of Integrity

Organizations and individuals make promises to meet obligations of all kinds. These might be in the form of duties, commitments, responsibilities, or customs connecting with such things as:

  • a license to operate a business,

  • a license to practice a profession,

  • a license to drive a vehicle,

  • becoming a citizen of a country,

  • becoming a member of an association,

  • getting married,

  • being part of community,

  • signing a contract,

  • and so on.

When we enter into these arrangements we accept the conditions to meet the specified obligations. This is a promise we make not under compulsion, but voluntarily and usually with good intentions. However, over time and for a variety of reasons, we may find that the promises we have made are not being kept.

The gap between the promises we have made and those we no longer keep is a measure of integrity.

Measures of integrity do not only apply to people. They also apply to such things as engineering systems and processes that we use to operate our businesses. For example, when mechanical integrity has been compromised the equipment or process in use is no longer able to perform according to its design specifications. In a manner of speaking it can no longer keep its promise to perform. As engineers we attempt to compensate for this loss by including safeguards in our designs in addition to continually monitoring any gaps in performance during operations. These gaps are also a measure of integrity and keeping them in check is necessary to keep trouble at bay and sustain safe operations.

When integrity, personal or otherwise, is lost or diminished we start on a path that leads to all kinds of trouble that usually ends with disruption. We start to observe an increase in the number of problems and issues often accompanied by the presence of inspectors, auditors, and lawyers. We end up on a path that we did not choose (at least directly) or want, but one that we are now compelled to follow. This disruption comes at a cost, over and above any fines we might pay.

We can avoid these troubles and the disruptions that ensue by maintaining integrity which requires that we have a measure of integrity. When it comes to risk and compliance programs a good place to start is by having clear and concise compliance specifications that describe what the obligations are, how they will be met, and key results and objectives by which performance and outcomes can be measured, Companies that have these in place will know their level of integrity.


If you are unsure of your obligations or if your plans to meet them are able to perform to achieve your targeted outcomes please contact us to learn how our programs can help.



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