You only have to read the latest news headlines to learn about the effects of losing your integrity. False claims. Insider trading. Administrative cover-up. One “blown whistle” and the ages-old credibility of a corporation can fall like paper scaffolding.

Fortune 500 companies aren’t alone in falling out of the public’s favor. No matter the size or scope of your organization, there are steps that you should take to maintain organizational integrity.

1. Stay on track.

You probably have a statement of purpose that documents the organization’s “whats,” “whys,” and “wherefores.” Your primary job is to keep them in line, to “stay the course.” Make sure the activities, schedules, and services compliment the very reason your organization exists.

2. Don’t advertise something you can’t deliver.

The integrity of many organizations has been tarnished by $1,000-dollar ads for $100-dollar products or services. If you can’t deliver, don’t pretend.

3. Treat staff with respect.

You’re not only known by the company you keep, you’re also known by how you keep your company. If you neglect staff training, encouragement, support, and compassion, your customers or community will hear about it—and get the word out.

4. Be open about plans and programs.

Don’t lead a covert operation. Lack of communication is a surefire killer. Timely and carefully worded press releases—in house and outside—are important tools for honest endeavors.

War hero and former president of the United States Dwight D. Eisenhower taught “teaching and actions must square with each other.”

You can keep people “onboard” by being “above board.”

-Stan Toler