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Episode #277 – The Core Value of Integrity in Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

The Vet Recruiter®
The Vet Recruiter®
Episode #277 - The Core Value of Integrity in Your Animal Health or Veterinary Career

Caleb: Welcome to “The Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider,” brought to you by The VET Recruiter. In this podcast, Animal Health executive recruiter and Veterinary recruiter Stacy Pursell of The VET Recruiter provides insight and practical advice for both employers and job seekers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The VET Recruiter’s focus is to solve talent-centric problems for the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. In fact, The VET Recruiter’s mission is to help Animal Health and Veterinary employers hire top talent, while helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals attain career-enhancing opportunities that increase their quality of life.

Today, we’ll be talking about the core value of integrity in a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career. Hello, Stacy, and thank you for joining us today.

Stacy: Hello, Caleb. As always, I’m glad to be here with you.

Caleb: Stacy, what was the genesis of this topic for today’s podcast episode?

Stacy: Today’s podcast episode is the start of a larger series of episodes that will deal with core values. Actually, this series will serve a dual purpose. First, the values that we discuss on the podcast are the core values of The VET Recruiter. Second, these are values that many people in the job market and the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession share, so it will be relevant to discuss them within the context of people’s Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Caleb: That makes sense. Where would you like to begin today, Stacy?

Stacy: I’d like to start by asking you a question.

Caleb: Asking ME a question? Okay, go for it! What question do you have for me today, Stacy?

Stacy: Yes. What do you think integrity means in a person?

Caleb: Well, I would say that having integrity means being honest.

Stacy: That’s a solid answer. As we open this discussion, I’d like to reference the Random House Dictionary definition of integrity. That definition is as follows:

“Adherence to moral and ethical principles; soundness of moral character; honesty. The state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. A sound, unimpaired or perfect condition.”

Caleb: I guess I was right! The word honesty was part of that definition.

Stacy: Yes, it was. However, integrity is about more than just being honest, which is part of what we’re going to explore today. And I would like to use the attribute of honesty to bridge the gap to the next part of our discussion.

Caleb: Which part is that?

Stacy: The five attributes of integrity, and we’ve already referenced the first one, which is honesty.

Caleb: What are the other four?

Stacy: The first one is exercising good judgment. Or to put it another way, making good decisions, ethical decisions that are based upon doing good and helping others.

Caleb: As opposed to making decisions that could hurt or harm someone or take advantage of them?

Stacy: Yes, that’s right. Success in life depends upon the type of decisions that a person makes. The better the decisions you make, the more success that you’ll enjoy. This pertains to both your personal life and your professional life. In keeping in line with this discussion, the decisions that a person makes should be decisions of integrity and not decisions that lack integrity.

Caleb: What’s another attribute of integrity?

Stacy: The third attribute is loyalty. There are two distinct aspects to this one. First, employers value and appreciate the loyalty of their employees. Or they should appreciate it. Second, there is a limit to loyalty in terms of a person’s employer.

Caleb: There is? How is that?

Stacy: Ultimately, while loyalty to one’s employer is admirable, a person must first be loyal to themselves and their Animal Health or Veterinary career. In other words, they should not stay in a job that they do not enjoy and they’re not passionate about just because they want to be loyal to their employer. Because an employment situation should strive to be a “win win” situation for both parties involved in the arrangement.

Caleb: So, there is a balance that must be struck.

Stacy: Yes, that’s correct.

Caleb: What’s our fourth attribute of integrity?

Stacy: Our fourth attribute is dependability, and this is a big one. We’ve addressed this before on the podcast. Dependability boils down to something simple, which is doing what you say you’re going to do.

Caleb: That’s it?

Stacy: That’s it. Sounds simple, but you would be surprised by how many people have trouble with it. If you say that you’re going to do something you should do it. For example, if an employer says they are going to call a candidate for a phone screen, you should do it. If you, as a candidate, say that you’re going to show up for an in-person interview, you should do it. When you brand yourself as dependable, you’re in the process of branding yourself as trustworthy.

Caleb: And if I remember correctly, that’s one of the best ways that a person can brand themselves. Is that right?

Stacy: That is 100% right! And the fifth attribute of integrity is respect. This is also extremely important. Acting with integrity is one of the best ways to earn the respect of other people, and this is critical for organizations, job seekers and candidates, and employees. Organizations must treat their employees with respect, and those employees must treat each other with respect. Ultimately, trust and respect are two of the most important ingredients for success, whether you’re talking about a relationship between two people or the relationship between an employer and its employees.

Caleb: Stacy, based on what we’ve discussed so far, do you have any examples of integrity?

Stacy: Yes, I’m glad that you asked that question because I do! I have quite a few, actually.

The first example is remaining honest, which might not surprise you, since that has been a cornerstone of our conversation today.

Second, follow through on the promises that you make, which goes back to the attribute of dependability.

Third, admit when you are wrong. I know that society is not big on doing this, but it’s important to be accountable for your words and actions, including in the workplace.

Fourth, avoid gossiping about other people. This one appears to be a problem for some people. They can’t seem to stop talking about others. And a good rule of thumb is the old adage, if you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.

And fifth, return found items without an expectation of a reward. Once again, this runs somewhat counter to what society might think is appropriate, but it’s the right thing to do. We had an employee recently who left her wallet in an Uber.  The Uber drive would only return the wallet after we offered a reward, and we did, and our employee got her wallet back. The Uber driver should have returned the wallet without expecting a reward.

Caleb: Stacy, you have a lot of great lists to illustrate the point of today’s podcast episode.

Stacy: Thank you, but I have a couple more lists, as well.

Caleb: You do? Which ones would those be?

Stacy: First, I have a list of characteristics of people who have true integrity.

Caleb: Is one of them that they’re always honest?

Stacy: Yes! Once again, honesty is the common thread that runs through the core value of integrity.

The second characteristic of people who have integrity is that they are authentic. They don’t try to be someone they’re not. What you see is what you get, although they’re always trying to improve themselves in some way.

Third, they do not take advantage of others. They want to get ahead, but they don’t want to do so at the expense of other people.

Fourth, they give credit where credit is due and do not try to take the credit for something that they shouldn’t. This is also a leadership trait.

Fifth, they value other people’s time. They don’t believe that “the world revolves around them” and that everyone owes them something, including their time.

Sixth, they give most people the benefit of the doubt. Although this can come back to “bite” them on occasion, they know that building relationships and networking with others is important.

And seventh, they do not argue over disagreements. They acknowledge that disagreements are a normal part of having relationships with people and they’re inevitable. How you handle disagreements is what is most important.

Caleb: Stacy, we’ve talked a lot about how people of integrity do things for other people. I’m curious: what benefits are there for people who act with integrity, other than the ones we’ve talked about so far?

Stacy: There are multiple benefits, actually, including benefits for both the individual and for society as a whole.

For the individual, integrity is linked to many positive things, including:

  • Happiness
  • Higher levels of self-esteem
  • More confidence
  • A stronger sense of self

And it might not surprise you to know that instilling children with integrity has a positive influence on both them and on society.

Caleb: How’s that?

Stacy: Instilling children with integrity teaches them to take responsibility for their actions and to accept the consequences of their actions. This, in turn, helps them to make more informed decisions about their lives.

Caleb: And we talked about making good decisions earlier.

Stacy: Yes, we did. That’s one of the main positive results of being a person of integrity, making good decisions. When the members of a society are people of integrity, the entire society benefits. Integrity is the catalyst for social action and social change and for helping others. The sooner that people are instilled with a sense of integrity, the better—both for them and also for everyone around them.

Caleb: It’s almost like a self-perpetuating phenomenon, wouldn’t you say? Integrity begets integrity, which leads to even more integrity.

Stacy: Yes, that’s a great way of putting it! The more you practice it, the easier it becomes to practice, and when other people see you practicing integrity, the more likely they will want to be a person of integrity, too.

Caleb: So, Stacy, I have a question. There are a lot of theories about integrity, about why some people have it and others do not. I’ve even heard that some people are just born with it. Is there a way that people can develop their integrity or increase their level of integrity?

Stacy: Yes, absolutely. That’s a great question. No matter where a person is in their life or their Animal Health or Veterinary career, there are things they can do to develop their integrity. And I have one more list to share for today’s episode that will help answer your question.

Caleb: Great! I’m eager to hear it.

Stacy: The first step in developing your integrity is to examine your morals and ethics. What exactly are your morals and ethics? How would you describe them? Where do they come from?

Second, keep your agreements and do what you say you’re going to do. Remember, this is the best way to brand yourself as reliable and eventually as trustworthy.

Third, stand up for what you believe in. You should have a set of core values, and if that’s the case, then you must stick to those values. Hopefully, integrity is one of them. Allow your values to lead you and help you make good decisions, including good decisions in your professional life. Don’t compromise yourself.

Fourth, surround yourself with people of integrity. It’s easier to develop your integrity when you’re surrounded by like-minded people. The people around you are definitely an influence, whether you realize it or not.

And fifth, be a role model of integrity for others. When you are a role model for others, you’ll find that you don’t want to let them down and that you have a sense of pride in being a role model. This is actually a form of accountability.

Caleb: Stacy, we’re just about out of time, so is there anything else that you’d like to add before we wrap up today’s episode?

Stacy: There are a couple of things that I’d like to mention before we close.

First, I know that we’ve touched upon this already, but there is a big consequence to not having integrity. That consequence is distrust or a lack of trust. When you don’t act with integrity, other people will not trust you. They might trust you for a while, but eventually they’ll stop doing that. It is nearly impossible to have a sustained level of professional success if people don’t trust you. That’s because all success—professional and personal—revolves around relationships, and trust is the central element in relationships.

If people don’t trust you because you lack integrity, then you won’t have good relationships and you won’t be able to achieve the level of success that you want to achieve.

Second, integrity is one of those rare things that no one can take away from you. In fact, you can only lose your integrity if you give it away. No one can take it, no matter how hard they try. They can’t force you to do or say something that you don’t want to do or say. This is one of the things that makes integrity not only important, but also unique.

So, no matter how difficult things get in life, including in your Animal Health or Veterinary career, always remember that the one thing that people cannot take away from you is your integrity.

Caleb: I had not thought of that before, but I will definitely remember it!

Caleb: thank you so much for joining us today and for all of this great information about the core value of integrity and a person’s Animal Health or Veterinary career.

Stacy: It’s been my pleasure, and I look forward to our next episode of the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider!

Caleb: For our listening audience, if you are an Animal Health employer or Veterinary employer who has critical hiring needs be sure to reach out to Stacy Pursell at The VET Recruiter. If you are an Animal Health professional or Veterinarian who is open to exploring new Animal Health jobs or Veterinarian jobs, reach out to Stacy at www.thevetrecruiter.com  The VET Recruiter website has all kinds of resources for  Animal Health professionals and Veterinarians including information on job searching, salary negotiations, how to work with a recruiter, how to write a resume and many other topics related to your Animal Health career or Veterinary career. In addition to being a Certified Personnel Consultant, Stacy is a Certified Employee Retention Specialist.  She is a workplace workforce expert and key opinion leader in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. Stacy has 25 years of executive search and recruiting experience in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession and is a great person to know. We will see you next time on the Animal Health and Veterinary Employment Insider.

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