Integrity Matters
June 25, 2008

Integrity wins out in the long run

Question: (E-346)

“Big hat, no cattle” is a down-home phrase, probably originating in places with open-range ranching, describing individuals wanting to be seen as power-players, when they aren’t.

These image-only “fake it till you make it” folks dress the part, talk the talk but really don’t or can’t walk the walk. They are scammers, con-artists, dead-beat parents, crooks, fore-flushers, hustlers, weasels — you know the type. They jump from one cosmetic cover-up to the next, pretending to be serious when they are anything but.

The word “pseudo” devolved into a popular term of derision in the 1960s, describing “wannabes” — “big-hat, no cattle” pretenders. Being defined as “pseudo” meant you were a fake, an imitator, artificial, bogus, a counterfeit. So, to avoid being classified as pseudo-anything, including having “pseudo” integrity characteristics, certain behaviors are expected. Responsible individuals have a big hat (positive image) and lots of cattle (admirable principles along side success).

As a consequence, they:

  • Return phone calls promptly, confirming a thoughtful and caring manner.
  • Show up on time, consistently, prepared to contribute constructively to discussions; personal or professional, or risk being known as a callous time-waster who abuses relationships.
  • Honor promises, verbal or written, building trust through predictable and constructive behaviors.
  • Present personal and professional information, factually, confirming integrity.
  • Avoid over-selling. When discussing one’s associations with other people, whether simply dropping names, or even appearing to do so, be sure to apply one sure-fire principle for accuracy and truth. When you state that you know “so and so” — make sure that “they know you” rather than simply that “you know them.” One does not really know another person unless or until the other individual can say that he or she actually knows you. Bottom line: It is not as important that you know them, as it is that they know you.
  • Learn from substantive individuals who have been successful at “figuring out things.”
  • Intelligence emerges in wisdom from experience-based insights and not from meaningless dribble, punctuated with the use of superficial adjectives in efforts to sound profound. Abraham Lincoln used lots of little words and provided the world with powerful messages.
  • Effective demeanor transcends clothing, mode-of-transportation and wealth — because elegance and style are always “in-style.”
  • Athletic, intellectual and social prowess, when graciously exercised, will showcase others, instead of embarrassing or upstaging them.
  • Maneuvering unobtrusively through the maze of bureaucratic challenges keeps the focus on solutions and not on building the celebrity of the problem-solver. Effectiveness is about we, not me.

Quality and integrity are their own reward. The key is to simply be real. Character, honesty and openness, when combined, create a solid integrity-centered foundation for healthy relationships and success.


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