Hailing from a technology services background, much of my success and long-term client relationships have been made possible due to my adherence to integrity. I consider it from two, related perspectives: Firstly, the integrity as we normally know as the act and character of being honest to all those who rely on us. Secondly, and at a more sublime level, is the integrity to one’s word and when “word and deed have not parted company”.
I have faced quite a few tests of Integrity in my eventful career. One of them was when I was working with ABC Inc. As a practice in the IT industry, every computer application/software is tested before being deployed full-time. In one such test, I noticed an error in one of the key computer programs (software) because of which the client could be charged in excess. Having joined the company a mere 2 months earlier at that point, I mentioned it to a colleague of mine who was in-charge of the computer software and its workings. I was told that this would be highlighted as one of the “Findings of the Test” and would be reported to the client at a later stage. The Testing phase was thus completed without any further issues. He was given the responsibility to handle the entire project after we received requisite confirmations from the client.
The said computer program was made live and for servicing the needs of a client (an entity of the Citigroup conglomerate itself). The revenue billings generated by the software kept on increasing exponential with time – to the point that our client started calling us for discussing billing details. As I scrutinized the billing details, it became evident that the error that I had brought to notice had neither been rectified nor reported. I also realized that my colleague had, on purpose, avoided highlighting it to the client as this was adding on to the revenue generated by the project under his supervision.
In my next communication with him, I requested him to explain the situation to the senior management. Instead, he offered to recommend me, to the senior management, as the Lead for the next project that would be working on, along with a pay hike. I rejected the offer at the very moment. In the best interests of the company, I reported the issue to my supervisor and other key stakeholders in the project. They realized that we could have lost the clients forever – had the software been further operational. My seniors also appreciated the fact that I could have benefited significantly by merely accepting the offer made to me. However but I chose against the same since that would tantamount to dishonesty.
My integrity was well rewarded – I was handed over the responsibilities of the project and at a very early age in terms of my industry experience. The trust also established the trend for increasing leadership responsibilities in the succeeding years. As I have grown seasoned in the business, I have faced similar tests of integrity on a number of occasions. However “sticking to doing what is right” has always enabled me to reach the right growth window.