January 17, 2018

Integrity is not negotiable! Who sez that? I sez that!

Brian Davis is one of my newest heroes. He should be one of yours, too.

“I’m sorry, Dave, who?”

Brian Davis is a golfer on the PGA Tour. On Sunday, April 18, 2010, he was playing at the Verizon Heritage event in South Carolina and gave up a possible win—his first on the tour— when he called a penalty on himself, in a playoff, for disturbing a stray weed on his back swing. [Hitting any material during your back swing constitutes a two-swing penalty].

Davis called the penalty on himself, conceding the victory to Jim Furyk who walked away with $1.03 million for the win. Davis did take second and got a $615,000 check, but more importantly he can hold his head up high knowing he did the honorable thing, the expected thing and the right thing.

Would you have done the same in that situation?

Have you ever been faced with a circumstance in which you could get away with something because no one would know, and you took it? I know someone who regularly takes advantage of items misplaced on retail shelves and then forces the clerks to give the lower price. I am even aware of this individual actually switching price labels on products and they’re proud of this!

When I was a mortgage broker there were many temptations to cut corners in order to close loans. I always felt that no loan was worth jeopardizing my career for so I wouldn’t do it. But, the temptations were there. I had people offer me money to do whatever it took to get their loan complete. I had customers submit false tax returns, W-2s and pay stubs. I even saw appraisals covered with correction fluid!

Do you have an integrity moment of truth? A “Brian Davis” moment? Please send them to me and I will use them in future blog entries. It can be those moments when you pointed out to a server that they missed charging you for something, when you returned that extra $10 given to you with your change by a cashier, or a time when you told an employer or a client that you would not accede to their request to do something unethical.

There are always going to be people who will try to cut corners in order to get a leg up. Don’t be one of them! If you work from a position of integrity, you will always make the right decision.

And, like Brian Davis, you will be a richer person as a result!

I want to write about YOU in a future blog post! Tell me how you have overcome obstacles, achieved goals or surpassed the expectations of others—especially those who may have underestimated you. If you want to tell me your story, but don’t want me to publish your name, I can do that too!

Dave ‘Gonzo’ Kelly
America’s Student Leadership Trainer™
Building Leaders Through Service™

About the Author: Dave "Gonzo" Kelly (64 Posts)

Dave Kelly is the leading authority on student leadership and community service on college campuses today. As a professional trainer, motivator, and servant leader, Dave is an expert on all aspects of running and leading campus organizations and developing the character of a servant leader. Dave has 20+ years training leaders and advisors from student government associations, campus activities boards and campus clubs of every kind on organizational leadership and community service projects. He has trained students and advisors at more than 150 different colleges and universities and is the national coordinator for the APCA Serves! Initiative by the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities.

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  1. I also shared this story in my monthly newsletter and I received a reply in which one of my subscribers described her ‘Brian Davis Moment’:

    “Not to say that I have always adhered to a strict code of ethics, but I do recall one of my ‘Brian Davis moments.’

    “I was the coordinator for an alternative education program in which there was also a work component. They (and I helped) on construction sites so everyone needed up-to-date vaccinations. I went to a mobile site where the health department was offering low cost tetanus shots.

    “The system to move patients through was not very efficient and so people just went from one “station” to the next (check-in, waiting area, nursing, etc.) based on whatever the staff member working that station told them to do.

    “After I had received my shot, a staff member pointed to me to the exit. I was unlocking my car door when I realized that I had never paid a fee. At that moment I could have gotten into my car and left that money in my pocket; however, I went back. I walked in and the person who had “checked” me in just 30 minutes prior asked what vaccinations I was there to receive. I explained that I had already gotten vaccinated, but that I had not paid for it. She did a double take, wondered aloud how many payments she may have missed that day (apparently they were short-staffed), and then told me how grateful she was that I had returned to pay because she knew that I could have left without giving it a second thought.

    “Not only did I return for my own piece of mind, but how could I face the very students I was trying to teach to do the “right thing” if I hadn’t made that choice for myself? That woman was probably responsible for reconciling the number of vaccinations given to the amount of fees collected at the end of the day. If she had come up short, perhaps she would have to absorb the difference or certainly feel sort of repercussion from her supervisor. Because I chose to do the “right thing” I may have saved someone else a “headache.” People really need to think about the trickle down effect of their actions and put themselves in “someone else’s shoes.”

    “I always revert back to something my mother always told me growing up, “if you wouldn’t do or say something in front of me, then you best not be doing or saying it, period!”

    — Heather J. Haynes

    “Tell them and they’ll forget; show them and they may remember; involve them and they’ll understand.”

    How about you? What is your ‘Brian Davis Moment?’ Please share here!

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