Saturday, August 13, 2011


"Blinkers don't turn cars; drivers turn cars!"

That's what my driver's ed teacher kept saying. Just because an oncoming car's blinker blinks does not necessarily mean the car will actually turn, and not-blinking cars still turn sometimes anyway. Make decisions based on the whole car, not just the blinker, and we'll be less likely to get each other killed. As one who spent many hours riding with teenagers learning to drive, he was quite personally invested in making sure we had the skills to stay safe.

Fast-forward awhile. I am married now and settled in a home with my husband. Home ownership comes with repair and maintenance needs, so we interact periodically with people who do such work professionally.  Companies like to talk about wanting us to be happy with the final product, answering our questions, and ensuring that we'll have full confidence in their quality work, but those are just words, like flashing blinkers on a car. Speaking the words doesn't make it true.

We had an installation job done recently at home. It involved three different employees, three different appointments, and several phone calls. Everyone I talked to said pretty much the same things about providing excellent service, blah, blah, blah. Here's the great part, though -- they actually did those things! Employees showed up on time for appointments. Calls were returned promptly. They answered my abundance of questions. Wayne was careful to keep from making a mess as he moved stuff from the house, then explained everything he'd done and taught me how to use the equipment before leaving for the day. Tony called back the next day to make sure the job he had quoted was done to my satisfaction. When one part hadn't been done due to a miscommunication, Mike came out the next morning to make the change. Through the whole thing, the various people of this company spoke and acted in ways that were aligned with each other.

The word "integrity" (related to "integer") comes from Latin and paints a picture of being "untouched, undivided, whole." A person with integrity has one whole self, and that one self shows up consistently. Words reflect values, and actions follow both.

That's the kind of person I want to be.

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