The video describes research into what makes an otherwise honest person cheat. One insight to come out of this research was the value of a “clean slate” in getting a person to behave more honestly. Think of Catholic confession, as an example.
What they found was this:
Honest people have a tendency to rationalize small opportunities to cheat: having a cookie when you’re dieting, or taking a box of pencils from work. But as this cheating accumulates, there comes a “what the hell” turning point. At this point, the person sees themselves as a cheater, so they figure they might as well embrace it and enjoy it.
But if you give that person the opportunity to say what they did and ask for forgiveness, it negates the “what the hell” effect. They see themselves as a good person again, and they don’t want to cheat.
This is exactly what happens during each hourly check-in call on an Integrity Day.
At the beginning of the Integrity Day, you declare your intention: I’m going to focus on Project A for the next hour. You work hard, and when you check in at the end of the hour, you report on your success and everyone cheers you on.
But, if you’re human like me, you will have some hours when you don’t. When you procrastinate. When you cheat. You get on Facebook, or email, or you go get a cup of coffee and chat with a co-worker. Your actions are out of integrity with your declared intention.
But what happens?
You get on the check-in call at the end of the hour, and you say, “I didn’t do what I intended.” And the group cheers you on. We cheer you on anyway. Why? Because we’re human too. We’ve all been there. And we intuitively know that shame is not the pathway to success.
So in addition to accountability and community, one of the benefits of Integrity Day are those hourly opportunities for a clean slate.
I would love to hear from those of you who’ve experienced the benefit of this clean slate theory in the context of productivity, whether in an Integrity Day or in some other situation.
And if you’d like to come join an inspiring group of “creative doers” in an Integrity Day, you can check out this month’s schedule here: