The Goal for 2011: Integrity

January 22nd, 2011

This year, I have decided that I’ll live with integrity. I will be my word.

  1. If I say, I’ll be at a place by 8 AM, you can expect me there on time.
  2. If I say, I’ll get something done by a given date, you can be assured that it’ll be done in the best quality possible that I can fathom.
  3. This year, I will only do stuff that I’m passionate about. So, if I write apps, it is because I’m passionate about them. If I travel, it is again because I’m passionate about it.
  4. I’ll not cheat myself. If my conscience says I have slipped, I’ll see what went wrong and try to improve on that rather than going in to denial.
  5. Part of this integrity exercise is saying “No” to stuff that I don’t want to do.

What’s with this year? Why did I decide to do it this year?

The strongest motivator was this parting email by a Microsoft executive sent to his colleagues. The portion that intrigued me was this:

The foundation of who I am is based on living with integrity. Integrity requires principles, and my primary principle is to focus on doing the right thing, as best I can. The best thing, to the best of my ability, for our customers, our products, our shareholders, and of course, our people.

Other principles, or guideposts by which I live, are learning from and listening to others to make the best decision possible; not being afraid to admit a mistake and change a decision when it is wrong; being consistently honest, even when it hurts; treating our customers, partners, and people with the respect they deserve, with the expectation that each of my actions forms the basis of a lifetime relationship; and finally, being willing to admit and apologize when I have not lived up to these principles.

Integrity is my cornerstone for leading people. Leading starts by setting a strategy – not one that I’ve dreamed up myself but something that my team has worked together to create. The strategy provides the North Star for each person.

I suddenly realized that to achieve bigger goals in life, the smaller ones need to be tackled. Without integrity, it is simply impossible to focus on them. Integrity gives you a solid foundation on which you can stand, command goals to fall in line and act on them one by one. It is that magic wand which will make rabbits appear out of seemingly bottomless hats.

30 Day Trial

Since this is going to be a big change to my life, I will start with a simple 30-day trial to see how this works. The trial ends on 21-Feb-2011. I’m totally excited about the changes it will bring in my life. Throughout the 30 days, I will collect data on various tasks. For e.g., “Have I been on time for meetings? If there are ‘x’ meetings this month, how many have I been to on time? Am I well-prepared for every meeting? Have I met milestones?” etc. The questions will obviously vary depending on the task at hand. But the point is to collect data so that I can look back at them at the end of 30 days and see how I have fared.

For starters, I have collected some data on my morning wake up time. Over the last 50 days, I’ve gotten up at/before 6.30 AM only 7 times. The data speaks by itself. No questions asked. So, by the end of 30 days I’ll know. I’m publishing this on my blog so that I don’t chicken out in the middle.

Wish me luck.

2 Responses to “The Goal for 2011: Integrity”

  1. Santosh Jayamurugan Says:

    All the best Ashwin :) .. Tempting to follow the same lines.. But i know how tough it is…

  2. Satish Says:

    Hmm.. expensive words bhaiyya.

    Just can’t imagine, you being on time, you waking up before 6:30( or sleeping before 1:30 for that matter.)

    Well, if you are really serious (it appears so), tell me if it works for you. Indeed, putting up on the blog gives a whole lot of credibility to goal setting. And if you fail.. you can always own it up eh? like i said expensive words.

    You know more than anyone that life is unpredictable. I’d say there is not much love or respect lost when you a couple of minutes late. Just cause you know, you might be late due to things which are not under your control.

    Your integrity mission is noble, but don’t let it take the color out of your life.