Scroll Top

The Integrity-Centric Boundary Model

The Integrity-Centric Boundary Model empowers individuals to uphold ethical standards, navigate challenges, and maintain integrity in decision-making processes.

Simple, yet effective.

When I read the Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters, one suggestion stood out: think along the lines of could instead of should, when you want something to happen (or not to happen).

I realised that most of the time, my mind went into ‘should-modus’: I should receive this assignment or she should give me the ok by tomorrow. 

Shifting to the ‘could-modus’ changed my mind: I leave the freedom to take a decision in full autonomy to the other and manage my expectations… and my ego.

This all worked very well and it made me much calmer, focused on what I can control (myself) and not on what or who I cannot control.

However, my full commitment to making the should-to-could mindshift a habit, hit a few rocks on the way as I started to question my boundaries – or what I ‘should’ accept or not accept. Is my ego still standing in my way, is it necessary to have some clear rules for myself – and also for others?

The Integrity-Centric Boundary Model

As the topic of setting boundaries was a frequent visitor to my leadership development sessions, but brought up by clients, I felt the need to give it structure.

I created the Integrity-Centric Boundary Model which helps me to be clear and true to others and myself.

Setting boundaries in various situations requires clarity, assertiveness, and understanding of your own values and limits. Here’s how you can handle each scenario:

Something illegal happens:

Immediate Response: Address the situation promptly and directly.

Assert Consequences: Clearly communicate that engaging in illegal activities is unacceptable and against the law.

Refuse Participation: Make it clear that you cannot be involved in any illegal activities.

Something unethical happens:

Express Disapproval: Clearly communicate your disapproval of the unethical behavior.

Explain Impact: Explain how the behavior is unethical and its potential consequences.


Clarify Expectations: Remind everyone involved of the agreed-upon rules or guidelines.

Address the Issue: Point out the specific behavior that violates the rules of engagement.

Enforce Consequences: Clearly communicate the consequences of not adhering to what has been agreed.

Seek Resolution: Work together to find a solution that respects the rules and resolves the issue.


Recognize Your Ego: Acknowledge that your ego might be influencing your reactions.

Pause and Reflect: Take a step back to analyze the situation objectively.

Focus on the Issue: Separate the issue from personal feelings or ego.

Communicate Assertively: Clearly communicate your boundaries without letting your ego dominate the conversation.

Setting boundaries is one of the most frequently returning topics in my leadership development work with executives. However, setting boundaries is not a challenge exclusive to leaders and managers, but a challenge for most people.

An additional dimension to accept certain behaviour or actions, could be survival. I have excluded this dimension as it is often a sub-dimension of the first 3 mentioned:

“I know it is illegal/unethical/against the agreement we made, but I need it for survival.”