Local issue a lesson in integrity

August 23, 2010
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The big news today is out of the Birmingham mayor’s office. The Birmingham City Council is accusing Mayor William Bell of blocking a project to build a council-specific website in an attempt to censor the group.

The council is claiming that the mayor hasn’t signed a contract to set up the website because it gives the council control over the message. Currently, the website is maintained by the Mayor’s Office of Public Information.

This debate can be distilled down to two issues: transparency and integrity. Integrity is at the heart of many of the programs and workshops offered by Dale Carnegie Training of Birmingham, Alabama, and something we take very seriously. Whether you’re in a political office or the head of human resources at a Fortune 500 company, your constituents and your customers expect a certain level of information from you in order to build a trusting relationship.

It’s common sense: People want to do business with someone they can trust. And it’s very obvious when trust is at the core of a company and when it’s not. In the case of the mayor’s office, the city council is now wary of the mayor’s intentions because of his lack of action on the website project. It’s very likely that the mayor isn’t trying to control the message and has other legitimate reasons for slowing the project, but a lack of communication has contributed to a lack of trust. The mayor’s chief of staff has asserted that the mayor is simply trying to find the best way to offer the information.

Customers or clients also expect the leader of an organization to be willing and open to ideas for betterment. Cultivating feedback from these people as well as from your team allows your organization to continue to grow and flourish. It seems that the city council thinks their request for a website is falling on deaf ears.

Customers and clients also expect leaders to take a hands-on approach in a given situation and treat others with respect. Without these two principles, clients and customers tend to feel out of touch and unimportant. Councilwoman Kim Rafferty told The Birmingham News:

“I don’t see the mayor’s office collaborating with us a lot,” she said. “The communication between the mayor’s office (and the council’s) is nearly done.”

Integrity within an organization is something that has to be nurtured each and every day. If you get off track, consider the following tips:

  1. Create a mission statement. Writing this down on paper and identifying key values helps to re-orient you on your path.
  2. Identify your goals. These are the things you want to accomplish over the next couple of months. They should be specific and measurable.
  3. Take action. Don’t just talk about doing things better — do it. When those around you see you setting goals and achieving them, you begin to re-establish trust, which is a integral part of every relationship, personal or professional.

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Birmingham, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @dalecarnegieala.

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