Intentional Integrity

By Robert Chesnut

Intentional Integrity book cover
Added February 9, 2021

Silicon Valley expert Robert Chesnut shows that companies that do not think seriously about a crucial element of corporate culture—integrity—are destined to fail. “Show of hands—who in this group has integrity?” It’s with this direct and often uncomfortable question that Robert Chesnut, General Counsel of Airbnb, begins every presentation to new employees. Defining integrity is difficult. Once understood as “telling the truth and keeping your word,” it was about following not just the letter but the spirit of the law. But in a moment when workplaces are becoming more diverse, global, and connected, silence about integrity creates ambiguities about right and wrong that make everyone uncertain, opening the door for the minority of people to rationalize selfish behavior. Trust in most traditional institutions is down—government, religious organizations, and higher education—and there’s a dark cloud hovering over technology. But this is precisely where companies come in; as peoples’ faith in establishments deteriorates, they’re turning to their employer for stability. In Intentional Integrity, Chesnut offers a six-step process for leaders to foster and manage a culture of integrity at work. He explains the rationale and legal context for the ethics and practices, and presents scenarios to illuminate the nuances of thinking deeply and objectively about workplace culture. We will always need governments to manage defense, infrastructure, and basic societal functions. But, Chesnut argues, the private sector has the responsibility to use sensitivity and flexibility to make broader progress—if they act with integrity.

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