I had not heard of the Integrity Summit until I saw a small article in the business section of today’s Arizona Republic.
It’s run by the Integrity Business Institute, whose tagline is this:
Integrity Business Institute is America’s Leading Resource for Workplace Integrity Education, Cultivation, Tools, Rewards, Programs, Events, Guest Speakers and more.
The event, the third annual Integrity Summit, is already in progress as I type this in. Guest speakers include business columnist and author Harvey Mackay, whose column I look forward to reading every Monday morning.
According to the article, this is an invitation-only event limited to 250 participants. That appears not to be entirely true. There are various levels of participation, from attendee through presenting sponsor. Minimum attendance fee is $400, which does lead me to question whether the intent of the conference is truly to raise the banner of integrity in business or just to line a few peoples’ pockets, particularly those of the guest speakers. Sharks can swim in even the calmest waters.
The overall message is one I fully support–integrity in business is the only way to function. That should be apparent from topics I’ve posted on in the past. While working in major corporations, I have been asked to do things that went against my code of ethics, often in the form of omitting information when speaking with customers to prevent action items. So I am pleased to see the subject addressed.
What concerns me about the attendance fee is the disincentive to small business owners, particularly owners of infant companies where the cash flow may not be sufficient to allow both paying an attendance fee and losing a half-day of work.
Often, it are the small business owners who need to hear this message the loudest. After all, in terms of integrity, what reputation do auto mechanics have? People bring in their car fully expecting foul play.
That’s not to say that major corporations don’t need the message of integrity. People like Tony Hayward could use a dose of integrity. You remember Tony Hayward–he was the CEO of British Petroleum during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. The man who referred to the residents of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama as “the little people.” Unfortunately, it’s not hard to find other examples atop the org charts of some major corporations.
What I’d like to see happen is for Integrity Business Institute to restructure their event to include a lower price point and bring in a wider audience. That way, small business owners could have hear the message and walk through the sponsor booth area. The mechanics of how to do that I leave in the capable hands of the event organizers.