Behavioural Integrity – (BI) is the perception that another person, group, or entity lives by their word, delivers on promises and enacts the same values they espouse. This construct is critical in the creation of a culture that support safe execution of tasks, without causing harm to people or the environment.

Companies with high Behavioural Integrity have higher rates of compliance, higher levels of trust, higher levels of certainty around delivery, less injuries and greater efficiency.

Knowing just a little about why we do what we do can help you improve your organisations Behavioural Integrity.

Here are some top tips on understanding and creating higher levels of Behavioural Integrity.

1. Copycat

A lot of what you do is copied from what you see others do. When you do what others do, you feel part of the group, aligned, safe, you fit in. This is such a powerful force that you will be motivated, at some point, to do things that are bad for your health and for your safety, just because others are. Choose a social group whose behaviours align with your values.

2. People are watching

Just as you are hard wired to pay attention to the things that are around you, especially the actions of other people, other people are paying a lot of attention to your actions, the things you do. Make sure the things that you do, are things worth watching.

3. Discrepancy spotter

You are great at spotting changes in the environment, and it has been critical to your survival. You are also highly tuned to notice discrepancies in other people’s behaviour, you notice when people say one thing and do something different. Help them by gently pointing this out.

4. Positively blind

You are so busy noticing everyone else, that you are not that good at noticing your own discrepancies. You falsely, believe, that in most cases what you say, is what you follow through on. You have a Behavioural Integrity score hovering over your head, everyone else can see it apart from you. The first step to improvement is to ask others what your score is, if you are brave enough.

5. Over optimistic

Because you aren’t good at noticing your own lack of Behavioural Integrity, and think you are better than you are, you often overpromise and underdeliver. Only promise what you are certain that you can deliver, this helps increase your Behavioural Integrity score.

6. Espousing the rhetoric

You talk a lot, and your words are an important indicator of intention or the setting of expectation, except when they are not. You gain trust when your actions match your words and lose it when they don’t.

7. The leadership multiplier

As a leader, the attention you get is multiplied. All eyes are upon you, watching, judging, and in many cases, copying what you do, more than what you say. Help create a culture of certainty, and safe delivery through Behavioural Integrity by ensuring your actions match your words, always.

Written by Bob Cummins

If you want to hear more from Bob Cummins he will be speaking at our next event The SHE Show North East, Tuesday 28th March 2023, Hilton Newcastle Gateshead


Bob Cummins, Director, Sodak

 I help companies create safer, more secure, healthier and more effective places of work. I am an engineer, I used to be a civil engineer, I’m now a behavioural engineer. I specialise in helping leaders create environments that bring out the best in their people through the application of behavioural science. I run Sodak Limited, a behaviour design agency. My background is construction, in the later part of my career, I specialised in health and safety. 

I become increasingly disheartened and frustrated with the way it was all heading. Piles of procedures and paperwork, increasingly patronising initiatives and the incessant preaching that “all harm was preventable”. I mean, come on, how can all harm be preventable when we still rely on people? 

Safety just isn’t a priority; if it were, we would be given unlimited budget and time. No, safety has to be a value. Some harm will befall some people during their lives. We need to recognise this and continually improve, not shut down conversations because we are too scared to admit someone, somewhere might get hurt. 

Please note, the views expressed by the original article author are theirs alone and do not necessarily represent those of Washingtondowling Associates Ltd or The SHE Show and therefore we take no responsibility for the content or accuracy of this post.