On Leadership: The Courage Needed for Integrity

Here is another story from Stephen M.R. Covey’s book, the Speed of Trust, that teaches about the courage needed for integrity.  It was related by the wife of a man who was in medical school some years ago.

“Getting into medical school is pretty competitive, and the desire to do well and be successful puts a great deal of pressure on the new incoming freshmen.  My husband had worked hard on his studies and went to attend his first examination.  The honor system was expected behavior at the medical school.  The professor passed out the examination and left the room.  Within a short time, students started to pull little cheat  papers out from under their papers or from their pockets.  My husband recalled his heart beginning to pound as he realized it is pretty hard to compete against cheaters.  About that time a tall, lanky student stood up in the back of the room and stated: ‘I left my hometown and put my wife and three little babies in an upstairs apartment and worked very hard to get into medical school.  And I’ll turn in the first one of you who cheats, and you better believe it!’ They believed it.  There were many sheepish expressions, and those cheat papers started to disappear as fast as they had appeared.  He set a standard for the class which eventually graduated the largest group in the school’s history.”

The man who stood up in the classroom that day later became a respected physician.  Certainly what he did was neither comfortable nor easy, but it demonstrated the kind of courage required by integrity.

Choose greatness.

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