Category Archives: Ethics

Leaders and Posers

I have stayed away from any direct public comment about the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. I don’t know the facts, and any comment would be pure conjecture. But, I do know what I’ve seen in the way … Continue reading

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What’s in a Name Change? Part I

The majority of the world spent the last five days living their life. A small slice of the universe who make their living selling ideas, however, were agitating themselves into a frenzy.

In case you missed it, the National Speakers Association, an association of which I am a member, decided to re-brand itself and change its name to PLATFORM.

This is a first world problem. In the context of all of the turmoil in the world, the re-naming of this 41-year old association ranks right up there with … well almost nothing.

And yet, people on all sides of the argument lit up the blogosphere and social media channels supporting their positions … even if it meant refusing to consider that others might be equally right in their own stance (see my blog on “Is It Always Right to be Right” for more on that phenomenon.) Continue reading

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The Fault in Our Institutions is the Fault Within Ourselves

The lack of confidence in the institutions that define our collective culture is threatening the civility, economic prosperity, and standing of the United States as a world leader. Let’s start with the government. The President’s approval rating is underwater and … Continue reading

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Is It Always Right to Be Right?

The 1971 Oscar in the Short Film, Cartoon category went to a piece titled “Is It Always Right To Be Right.” It was directed by Lee Mishkin, narrated by Orson Welles, and written by Warren Schmidt.

The opening words of the film are:

There once was a land where people were always right. They knew they were right and they were proud of it. It was a land where people stated with confidence, “I am right and you are wrong.” These were words of conviction, courage, strength, and moral certainty.

In this fictional land, any attempt at cooperation and understanding were viewed as cowardice and weakness. Everyone was so convinced of their rightness that no one dared to utter words such as, “You may be right” or “I may be wrong.”
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Defining Integrity: How Leaders Earn Trust & Respect

How do you define integrity? Is there an absolute definition? Or, do you find yourself quoting the phrase made famous by Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: “I know it when I see it”?

We know that it appears at or near the top of every list of desirable leadership traits. It is the essential ingredient for building and sustaining trust with others.

Go ahead—take a stab at it. Integrity is . . .

It is more difficult to define integrity than you thought, isn’t it? Continue reading

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Why Responsive Government is an Oxymoron … and Why Your Elected Officials are to Blame

The government we want is nimble, flexible, and responsive. The government we experience, in many cases, is slow, cumbersome, and totally unresponsive.

Let’s put this another way: We want our government to operate like our favorite business. We believe, in contrast, that our government is the poster child for lumbering bureaucratic inefficiency and employees who are out of touch with the realities of the marketplace.

Twenty plus years of working with private and public sector organizations has taught me that the truth is actually somewhere between the two extremes.
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The Truth About Liars

Liars – we’ve all seen them, fallen victim to them, and if we are truthful, joined their ranks from time to time. Some do it for malicious reasons. Others do so out of a sense of kindness or benign indifference. But, we all do it.

There are times when that article of clothing makes us look fat. There are times when we feel like crap, and there are times when we feel the pressure to say what is untrue to cover for our lack of performance.

And that is why you need to read The Truth About Lies in the Workplace. Continue reading

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Leaders Ought to Know

Have you ever watched a leader make a decision or take an action and think, “They ought to know better.”

I find that sentiment to be especially true when it comes to people issues. Leaders ought to know how to motivate others. They ought to know how to treat people with respect and act with honesty. They ought to know how to take action and make good decisions.

That is where Phillip Van Hooser comes in.

Phil knows what leaders ought to know, and he shares it in his new book, Leaders Ought to Know: 11 Ground Rules for Common Sense Leadership.
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Advertising, Congress, and Car Sales – Oh My!

The Gallup organization just released its latest survey results about the perceptions of honesty and ethics for 22 professions.

There are honest and ethical people in every profession. Rankings such as this reinforce a very important principle: Scandal paints with a roller not a brush. When enough people in any profession act dishonestly and unethically, it hurts everyone in the profession. Continue reading

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Leader or Liar?

This blog was first published in 2010. Considering we are near the end of perhaps the most divisive Presidential elections in recent U.S. history, it is an excellent time for all of us to reflect and ask ourselves – are we leaders or liars? Continue reading

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