Jack Ovel is the new market president for Bank of America’s Kansas City region. The Kansas City Business Journal recently interviewed him about his new job and some of the highlights of his long career. When asked about one of the most important lessons he had learned, his response focused on a confident spirit of integrity and honesty (James Dornbrook, “Newsmaker: Honesty Will Take You A Long Way” December 6, 2013, p. 11):
“I don’t need to have all the answers—what I need to do is be honest. Don’t make something up. Say you don’t know, but you’ll find the answer. . . . Honesty and confidence will take you a long way in building relationships.”
You might not always know the answer, but fabricating an answer should never be the answer. You might not always like the answer, but people will respect you for being honest. People appreciate someone saying, “I don’t know, but I will find the answer to that question and get back to you.”
Ovel reminds us our leadership depends on our integrity and honesty. I do not care how much technical knowledge a person possesses. If I have reason to doubt that person’s integrity and honesty, then I will have serious reservations about doing business with that person.
Three thoughts occur to me about integrity and honesty:
1—Always cherish your integrity and honesty.
2—Your integrity and honesty are too important to compromise for anyone.
3—No one can destroy your integrity and honesty except you.