He was a smart man that C S Lewis, even if he did believe that there was a world of witches, fauns and talkative beavers hidden in the back of the wardrobe. Integrity really is about doing the right thing, even if nobody is watching.
I had an example of this yesterday, even if it didn’t quite fit the ‘nobody is watching’ criteria.
I don’t plan on going into great detail – no names, no pack-drill etc – but as I’ve mentioned before, I’m back at work in the NHS for a couple of days a week for the next month or two.
I had a meeting yesterday with a senior communications manager and at the end of it, he turned to me and said ‘thank you’. Seeing me a nonplussed, he explained that his thank you was for something that happened about fifteen years ago.
I’d been the assessor when he had been interviewed for a job which he didn’t get and, as I always did, I called the unsuccessful candidates to discuss the interview with them. Even though he didn’t get the job, he had impressed me and I said so, encouraging him to keep trying to find a place in the NHS because we needed all the good people we could get.
He went off to work in other areas, but he told me that he never forgot that conversation and eventually he did get that NHS job and hasn’t looked back since. And that was what he was thanking me for.
To be honest, I don’t recall the conversation or what I said and I’m sure that HR would have frowned on my non-neutral tone, but it was the right thing to do and I’m very glad that it worked out in the end.