Integrity. Dictionary.com defines integrity as: the state of being whole, entire, or undiminished. I think integrity is one of the, if not, most important attributes that any person, business or company could possess. It's one of the hardest things to uphold because it is a state of completeness and consistency, and being consistent every single day, in everything you do is extremely difficult, to say the least.
Integrity is something which is assumed, implied and even expected from everything in our world. It's the expectation that a company will follow through with the service that it says it'll provide. It's the implication that everybody should be punctual, and arrive on time when they say they will. It's the assumption that I am my word, what I say is congruent with what I do, and what I believe to be true.
As we all know, not everybody maintains complete integrity (even though we would like to think so). The simple fact is, with all our roles and responsibilities in life, we sometimes tend to make compensations and adjustments to suit our fast-changing environment, which easily (and usually) jeopardises our integrity in some respect. For example, we might tell the quick white lie to save face, or to save someone else's feelings, even though we've always believed to be 100% honest and truthful.
If you don't have Integrity, nothing else matters. If you have Integrity, nothing else matters.
Integrity extends into deeper concepts such as how you act in accordance to what you say you will do, or believe in. Your morals, perspectives and outlooks about situations, and how you respond to them also from your integrity. For example, if someone always goes against their own beliefs and values, they may show signs of lacking integrity. Alternatively, by conducting yourself in a way that is congruent with your morals, shows that you have strong integrity.
However, the maintainance of absolute integrity is generally hard to uphold, due to the fact that there could be so many situations and clashes between, morals and values, within a particular scenario. Even worse, we could be emotionally involved in the situation, limiting our judgement. Generally, people tend to take the easy way out, which is perceived as a much painless approach, although sometimes at the cost of our integrity.
So, in a sense, its more about how much you walk the talk, and this ultimately determines the value of your words, hence you would have more perceived "value" if you consistently do what you say you will. If you consider anything in life, where it be business, relationships, promises or even just favours or acting as a friend, integrity rates (subconsciously) as one of the most looked for traits in a person, and it really can make or break a relationship.
So why don't we spend more focus and effort on maintaining or building up our integrity? Some do, but many don't. The question is... how committed are you to your integrity, and how is it impacting your life right now? Because once you break your trust and your integrity, it's hard to redevelop, especially in the minds of others.