Imagine wearing a large button with the words “Leader” and “Liar” written in opposite directions so that one of the words is always readable to others. How would those you wish to influence position that button on you? Would they say you are a leader or a liar? The comparison [...]
The town where I live is a microcosm of the entire country. Most people – especially those who don’t live here – would disagree with my assertion. I am fortunate to live in a community that is economically better off than the U.S. population as a whole. Citizens enjoy a [...]
What companies are getting it wrong today? More important, what can you learn from them? The Five Friends share their ideas.
Something or more likely someone has changed over the past 20 years. Way back in the mid-1990’s I offered a development program titled Integrity-Driven® Leadership. One of the exercises asked participants to list leaders they admired for their integrity and those that they didn’t. Donald Trump, the 2016 Republican candidate [...]
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.)
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.”
We taught mice and pigeons to do all sorts of interesting things during my graduate school class in behavioral psychology. The principle is simple: provide a stimulus and elicit a response. The stimulus-response cycle still plays an important role in animal training today. And, it is evident in virtually every routine action we take. You don’t think about your response; you just make it. And at some point, it becomes automatic. On most days, those automatic responses are benign routines that allow you to effectively navigate. Unfortunately, they can also become anchors that prevent you from making a change that will transform your business and your life.
These days it seems that we’re all so busy, overcommitted, and information-obsessed. Our never-ending to-do lists are long and we run around trying to “keep up” or “be important,” and in the process stress ourselves out. Unfortunately, it often takes something bad to happen to slow us down, wake us up, and force us to focus on what truly matters most in life.
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?
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.