Just in case you are wondering, 'organisational integrity' is the collective form of personal integrity. It transcends strategic alignment and occurs when an organisation lives up to its professed values and actually 'walks the talk.'
I have been helping a friend to set up a new change management training company. We duly registered the company and embarked upon opening a bank account. After all you cannot do anything else in business without a bank account (although being asked if we had a website suggests banks think differently!) The experience, however, has been an adventure in itself.
Now I am sure everyone has their own "Believe It or Not" experience or other horror story to tell of dealings with banks, so I will not bore you with the sorry details of ours. Suffice to say that after nearly 3 weeks we seemed to be no nearer to opening the account than when we began. Yet, even in the most technically advanced period in history, the bank seems to think it is good service to take up to 21 days for this. Unfortunately opening ours will exceed even that tortoise-like estimate!
So, with a list of issues, I thought it might help to tell someone about our problems. Perhaps I should know better by now, but my naivety knows no bounds and as a consultant I have to believe that organisations are striving to do better. And they need customer feedback to do so.
I was encouraged in this by the bank's website, which amongst other similar claims, stated, "Give us the opportunity to put things right. If you are dissatisfied with any part of our service, it's important that you let us know." Further on it added, "Our commitment to you … is to provide you with excellent customer service. However, we realise that occasionally we may fail to meet your expectations. To help you, we want to deal with any concerns or suggestions you may have as quickly as possible. So, if there is something we are not doing as well as you would want or expect, please tell us." Naturally this reinforced my good intentions and I duly phoned.
After some delays navigating the automated response which offered no appropriate category, the system finally got annoyed enough to put me through to a live "customer services representative." This young lass was unable to deal with my complaint because I could not give her an account number. I explained that this inability was substantially what I was complaining about, but the irony was completely wasted on her. So I was obliged to hang up before saying something most inappropriate for the recording!
Clearly service is something this bank does not offer to anyone who is not yet a customer. Strange that, as we chose it because of its awards for being the best business bank, but we can only hope that things will get better once we have surmounted the barriers to achieving that favoured status.
This experience typifies what I mean by a lack of organisational integrity. It is something that actually goes beyond a lack of strategic alignment and corrodes the very essence of the organisation and its viability. The actions clearly do not conform to the stated intention and there is a values gap. A "rules are rules" mentality clearly drives operations and no-one is encouraged to use their initiative or consider what the customer really wants.
This is precisely the attitude that I am fighting and why I passionately believe the Zealise solution is vital. The employee ownership model it creates offers an unparalleled way to create the employee engagement essential to break down this kind of unrecognised, ingrained behaviour. More than that, it is the only way I know to build and sustain the kind or organisational integrity essential for sustained business success.
In the words of the old song, "If you want it, here it is. Come and get it!"