Johnson & Johnson is a Fortune 500 company worth $360 billion. It is a name known by everyone here at the Ranch. The name has been trusted in the U.S. and abroad for 130 years. But that almost came to an end in 1982. As you may remember, seven people died in the Chicago area after taking cyanide-laced Tylenol.
No one knew or even knows today who the murderer is. At the time, no one knew if there were more poisoned products in circulation. That’s when the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, James Burke, ordered all capsules off the shelf and destroyed. It was a $100 million decision.
When reporters asked him how he could decide so easily and quickly on such a major decision, he read to them the company’s mission statement: to “operate with honesty and integrity.” He said, “I was simply practicing what we agreed on in our mission statement.”
No denial. No cover-up. No blame casting. Just honesty and integrity. They lost $100 million that day. But they’ve gained it back a million times over since. Americans trust them because of integrity.
If we want to be influential for the Kingdom of God with our family, neighbors and co-workers, we need to be people of integrity. That’s what Peter was describing when he wrote, “Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do evil, they may, by observing your good works, glorify God in a day of visitation” (1 Peter 2:12). They may not like your message, but they won’t be able to disparage your lifestyle.
Here are a couple key components of integrity:
1) Be consistent. “But let your word ‘yes’ be ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ be ‘no’” (Matt. 5:37). Solid trust can grow only when people trust us all the time. If they never know from one moment to the next what you’re going to do, they’re on eggshells and won’t trust you.
2) Be honest. “But speaking the truth in love, let us grow in every way into Him who is the head — Christ” (Eph. 4:15). Trust is like a good song; the words and music must match.
3) Be transparent. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). We all have flaws, and in any relationship, these will eventually come out. But if we’re honest and up-front about our weaknesses, people will appreciate our transparency and relate to us better.
4) Be humble. “Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves” (Phil. 2:3). People simply won’t trust you if you’re driven by an agenda, ego, pride, jealousy or if you think you’re better than them.
5) Be supportive. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up as you are already doing” (1 Thess. 5:11). If people see you care for them, they will trust you.
6) Fulfill your promises. “When a man makes a vow to the Lord or swears an oath to put himself under an obligation, he must not break his word; he must do whatever he has promised” (Num. 30:2). Don’t make promises you can’t deliver, and if you say you’ll do something, follow through with it. A sure way to break trust is to break a promise.
7) Be a servant. “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Gal. 6:2). Jesus humbled himself, washed his disciples’ feet, then told us to do the same.
Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson Clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website, www.NewLifeDenton.org, for more information or Jim’s website, www.drjimmann.com.