Integrity, what exactly is it?

When I created my first show for the integrity week a few years ago, the integrity show for the national government. Big themes especially came to mind. My first thoughts on integrity issues were the big issues.
Corruption, bribery, sexual harassment, hidden agendas, et cetera.

But all those big integrity issues start of small. And usually not with the wrong intentions.
To prevent integrity issues, you have to ring the alarm right away when it comes to the little things.

I think it often comes down to the feeling that something isn't right, the feeling that you or a colleague is being treated unfairly. The feeling that there is more behind the comment 'nice pants'. The feeling that someone has other interests. Or does not tell what he or she is intending to do.
That calls for a check. Check if your feeling is correct.
And to do that you need courage.
The courage to stand still for a moment, while we have always learned to move forward.
It takes the courage to dare to ask a question, to have your doubts. While we have always learned to be confident certainty in the workplace.
Sometimes you need to report something to your manager. While we have always learned that you are not allowed to snitch.
Is a snitch a person with integrity?

Responding to your suspicion that something is not right is not easy.
That is why it is essential that you learn to take on a different perspective.
If you do not see the standing still, the doubting and the possible reporting in a negative way, but see it as an opening for a conversation, then everything gets easier.

So you can check whether your feeling is correct by expressing your suspicion, checking it, and preferably immediately, before it gets bigger in your head.
So start talking to each other. I think there are major integrity issues that can be avoided.

“Being integrity is not only about being consistent and following the rules, it is being congruent, being a one-piece person.”

Integrity show

Integrity is the art of being congruent

Being congruent means being in tune with your feelings, your thoughts and your behavior.

Suppose you are allowed to set up a new project and you are genuinely happy with it, then you will feel happy. You will tell that you are happy with this project.
But what if you're not so happy with it at all. Then maybe you'll say you're happy with the project. For example, from a tactical point of view for your career, or because you want to help someone, or because it is difficult for you to say 'no'. But if you say you're happy with it but you do not feel it. Then your feelings and thoughts are incongruent with what you say. That's not integrity.

Often incongruence arises from good intentions, you don't want to disappoint someone, you don't want to be a wimp or you don't dare say that you don't like something. But it can also arise if you are not able to feel what you is good for you to function properly.
I sometimes notice this myself when I get requests for a gig. The client sounds pleasant, but I feel that it is not my job. This can be the case for all kinds of reasons, the subject, or how the conference is organised. The other speakers or, for example, the setting of the audience. In recent years I have started to train myself to fine-tune this in the 'match' conversation. If I notice that someone else can do this better than me, then I recommend a colleague. Ultimately, it is about the perception of the audience. If the audience notices that I am not completely happy with this assignment and therefore do not present fresh, then we are missing the point.
It is therefore important that you learn to listen carefully to your thoughts and your feelings before you put them into words.
Saying 'yes' is often easier than saying 'no'. But sometimes saying 'no' is the better answer for everyone.

“To be a person of integrity is to want to do the right thing, even when no one is watching”

The pin code act

Integrity as an illusionist

My profession as an illusionist exists by the fact that I fool my audience. The public pays for a ticket so that they can experience amazement and know that they are being fooled.

So when I do my shows on stage, I can use everything I can think of to fool the audience, from secret compartments in top hats up to claiming the skill of mind reading.

But when I mingle among the people in the foyer of the theater after the show, I often find myself in an integrity split. I used to have this regularly after my theatre show Privacy. In that performance I read someone's mind and can then reveal their pin code. After the performance, I walked through the foyer. A lady in a large purple robe approached me enthusiastically. She had enjoyed the show and after a short chat asked me if I could contact her deceased uncle because she still had so many questions.
At that moment I am no longer in the role of an illusionist, I am just myself. Of course I create the illusion on stage that I can read minds or contact the dead. This lady wanted to believe this so badly that she forgot it was an illusion show. In which things happen that are not possible in reality. In my show on integrity, I cite this example regularly. I then ask my audience what they think I should do at such a moment.

  1. Keep the illusion alive and lie to her.
  2. Leave it in the middle, and say that it might be possible. But don't do a whole seance on the spot.
  3. Tell her the truth and thus disappoint her. Telling I can't do that at all and that everything was an illusion in the show.

What would you do?

Check the source

If you would like to know whether something is integer, check the source.
Checking a source is also a good method to check whether something is real or fake news.

Fake news has always been around, we currently know it as a popular term that refers to deepfakes and clickbait.
But it is also the gossip at the coffee machine and the corridor conversation.
When you hear at the coffee machine that Raymond and Anita got back together, what do you do? Are you going to tell this to Sam right away? She will love this news. Or do you first check the news at the source, with Raymond or Anita?
We all know how gossip can have horrific consequences.

So check the source, have a conversation, even if you want to use facts from a published article, you can contact the author of the article to check the facts.
Michael from The Office gives a pretty clear but bad example:

The Office

Integrity, a poem

whole and intact,
someone out of one piece.
Without back door or trunk
with only one agenda in his pocket.
A man a man a word a word
one piece, incorruptible happiness.
The higher up the ladder, the greater the power.
They, down there dance merrily to your tune.
It's just a matter of waiting now
for the time it collapses.
If we have learned something from those in power
is that it often power corrupts up there.
So hold on to your own compass.
Tie yourself firmly to the mast if necessary.
Like an odyssey in the night who does not hear the Sirens.
out of one piece one word one word
Someone with integrity
Rises automatically to the heights
And does not suddenly, just like that, in a flash, lose everything.

Stories provide connection

I read a nice observation from Yuval Noah Harari . In his book 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, he writes that there is 0.0 evidence that Eve was seduced by the serpent in the paradise. And that there's 0.0% proof is that there are 72 virgins waiting for a devout Muslim man. And yet billions of people have believed in these stories for thousands of years.

If a handful of people believe in the story that 5g is harmful to your health, we call it fake news. But when billions of people believe in those other stories for thousands of years, we call it religion.

Stories connect us, if I know that you believe in the same story as I do, then I know within which frameworks you think. I can then understand you better, and you me.
So if you collectively believe in the formulated mission and vision within your organization. Then you create a connection, but what if there are many who say that they believe in the mission and vision but don't really feel it inside, then that is the basis for an incongruent and therefore less honest organization.

Book guest speaker Jochem Nooyen for your seminar or event

Jochem has a lot of affinity with the following subjects. He creates a tailor-made show full of stories and illusion acts

Shows & presentations

Live or online, but always interactive, funny and refreshing. With astonished participants as the end result.

Privacy / Info Security (€€€)

Everything you do online can be tracked and traced. Fortunately, your thoughts are still safe… right? In this show, privacy is an illusion.
After this show:
  • • You'll get insight into how important privacy is for people
  • • it's clear that privacy is more than laws and regulations
  • • have you experienced that humans are the weakest link in info security

The paradigm shift show (€€)

Change your perspective and the world changes along with you. With humor and wonder, this show teaches you to look at change differently.
After this show:
  • • You'll have insight into the different stages of change and resilience
  • • You've experienced what it's like to change perspectives
  • • You'll have a different perspective on change and transformation

Integrity Show (€€)

We all find integrity important. In a show full of illusions, experience how major integrity violations almost always start small
After this show:
  • • hYou've thought about acting with integrity
  • • you learn that major integrity issues always start small
  • • You are challenged to discuss difficult situations

Illusion show (€)

A one-man show from a mind illusionist. Full of stories, interaction and humor. But above all with amazement. Adaptable to theme of the day!
After this show:
  • • have your mind been read
  • • You've experienced that perhaps more is possible than you initially thought
  • • you leave the room full of amazement and inspiration