Act with Integrity and Respect

By Ariel Acuna, Vigilant Chief People Officer

A Vigilant Values Series

“We operate according to what is right, not what is the easiest. We make decisions with transparency and courage.”

Vigilant has six core values. These are the principles that we try to live by both collectively and in each of our diverse roles. I would like to share a few words about one of them: “Act with Integrity and Respect.”

First, let’s pull those words apart:

Act: Values are only values when they are in motion. They cannot just exist in the theoretical or locked inside just our intentions or thoughts. When it comes to how we work together, it is in the actual behaviors-- towards one another, towards our clients and towards the world around us—where our values come to life.

Integrity: When I think about integrity, two thoughts come to mind. One, it means to act courageously. Courage is not the absence of fear, it is moving forward in the midst of potential fear, in the presence of our insecurities and even in the existence of our weaknesses. It is a life of daring… with each other, for our clients and on behalf of a better world. Two, integrity means doing the right thing. The right thing means excellence. It means not cutting corners. It means saying what needs to be said, not for personal gain, but for the good of the company or the client. It means “rightness” which necessitates truth, honesty and sincerity.

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“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching”-C.S. Lewis

Respect: As we do our life and work, we are constantly encountering other people. Too many of us treat other people like they exist only for our agenda, they are our audience, they are objects we use to get what we want. Respect means that I treat other people as precious humans, not objects. How? That involves listening to them. Not just hearing their words, but listening. When one listens, we hear not only their words, but the meaning within their words, their hopes behind the words and even the things that they may be too afraid or anxious to say aloud. So we ask questions. We have an open posture toward others. We respect.

“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”-Bryant H. McGill

In closing, I would like to express why we don’t break these words into two values: Why not 1) Act with Integrity and 2) Have Respect? That is an important question. It is simply because we don’t believe one can truly exist without the presence of the other. Integrity and respect happen in harmonious concert with one another. Integrity comes from one’s relationship to self and respect comes from one’s relationship to others, being acted out in perpetual motion. Magic happens within this perpetual experience of listening and action. Acting with integrity and respect is one of the ways we will become the greatest of companies… it is the way that we will be able to stay together, moving in the right direction.