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It’s Time for 100% Integrity

During the weekend, I took time to reflect back over 2008 and look at all the events that are shaping our current economy ills. During this reflection time I noticed something that was missing in the actions of those that contributed to the negative situation – Integrity! Or actually, the Lack of Integrity.

We need and You need to use 100% integrity as we meet the new critical issues of 2009. If you only use 90%, then what constitutes no integrity? Again, we are back to the choices that people make. And the heat of battle does not make it okay to be anything but 100% with our personal integrity.

Leaders must embrace this concept and beware of the selective ethics used by some of our non integrity based individuals. Some of the major causes of lack of integrity include: personal greed – decisions made for personal gain rather than the good of everyone; no purpose or vision – decisions are made on the fly with little or no thought about the consequences or effects on others; and bowing to external pressure – decisions based upon what external powers want rather than what you know is the right thing to do.

These are the top three reasons for poor integrity decisions made by leaders. Review the list again and make certain that you do not fall for these traps. Rather than embracing greed – embrace helping and sharing with others. Think about how you can help others as your number one mission in life.

Take time to understand your purpose in life – again helping others comes to mind as a key focal point. Plus, create a vision of what you want as a legacy. Remember that leaders who lose their integrity are remembered as losers or dishonest or some other combination of negative phrases – not the legacy another wants to leave behind in my opinion!

Finally, the third issue – bowing to external pressure. Leaders that made poor decisions have stated that they had no other choice. Bull! You always have a choices including “I quit!” There are many occasions where leaders have chosen to leave a position rather than bow to external pressures to do the wrong thing. While I hope that you don’t ever have to make that kind of choice – here is the quote I want you to remember:

if you are prepared to walk away – you are prepared to make the right choices!

Always take the high road and you will be more successful and leave the best legacy. People will remember you and keep your legacy alive due to the quality of your decisions and the high level of integrity you maintained during your tenure.

We Live in Interesting Times!

This statement has been made over and over through the centuries. And, once again we are in “interesting times.” So what makes this particular time period – interesting? Is it the economy? Is it the social actions of some or the many? Is is the global nature of interaction? Is it the crazy college football season of 2008? Really, that is causing this “interesting times” thing?

I believe that it is a series of things all happening at the same time. Uncertainty is the only constant that we have that we can count on. And uncertainty leads to need for Great Leadership.

Leadership is the missing link or key for progress by any group or organization in these interesting times. People need the security of knowing that someone will take action and make decisions for the whole. We have lived through an era of greed and self-centeredness whereby so called leaders have been making decision to benefit themselves – rather than the whole.

This is the key to our Future. Leaders must begin thinking about the good of the whole. How to make good decisions that benefit the group or the organization rather than their pocket or bank account. To get back to the progress and growth of the past, we need excellent leaders who can look into the future and make decisions that anticipate where the future is going to be – and get us there faster.

We can start by taking responsibility for our actions today. Ask yourself – What Can I Do That Will Help My Team, Group, Community or Organization? Then actively look for alternative solutions – choose the best one and launch. If we wait for someone else to do, we are surrendering our opportunities without any effort. Effort gives us the confidence to keep going and doing the right things.

What are YOU doing to create your future in a meaningful way? Set Goals and Take Action. Be a Player and make things happen so You Can Make for Interesting Times.

Arrogance, the Killer of Innovation and Improvement

Arrogance is major problem with some leaders. It is the toxic attitude that kills new ideas or improvements to old methods. This liability to leadership effectiveness has its roots in a fixation of thought. Plus, we find an additional attitude of selfishness in the “I know more than you, so don’t dare question my authority!”

The level of arrogance is controlled by the overall need to have position power rather than personal power. Thus, a lack of true effectiveness rules the day of the arrogant leader. It is as if they can not get out of their own way with others and situations.

Today’s economic crisis is in part due to the arrogant leaders of the financial industry. We find that several of the key leaders use only their position to lead others down a pathway. A pathway that is closer to the past than the future, thus a continued reliance upon tactics, strategies and methodologies that clearly do not work for change or improvement.

Another way of thinking about the effects of arrogance is the how much selfishness gets into the actions of these leaders. When someone thinks they are better, smarter or wiser than everyone else, they begin to do things that protect their status, rather than improve the overall good of the organization. Again, we find these attitude in all levels of an organization. When we find these people, we find the source of poor and selfish decision making.

Examples of these poor decisions include a lack of change of products for a competitive advantage (See IBM and the Power PC chip for printers and the personal computer); military advisors that thought poorly of a scientist-engineer who invented major improvements for tanks and was ignored (See the Russian army that incorporated his improvements into their battle tanks that beat the Germans in WWII.); the Financial bean counter who think that cutting cost is the only way to improve or sell a product (See entire industries become commodized or shipped overseas due to lack of understanding the total or big picture of economics); and finally look at our educational systems that continue to use the methods and classroom of the early 19th century to educate people for the 21st Century. Arrogance is alive and well in every part of professional, private and public sectors of business and the social  sectors of life.

You can overcome the arrogance factor. Read our post on Tuesday for the answers. Sign up for more Leadership Insights now

Personal Leadership Makes the Right Things Happen

While we believe that People make the difference in organizations more than anything else, we also know that there is something else in the mix. That something else is the factor that separates the high performer from the group. It provides the winning edge – particularly in the face of adversity such as economic downturns.

That key element is “Personal Leadership.” So what is so important about personal leadership? It is the one element that manages emotion, thoughts and integrity. It is the controlling factor in doing the right things during periods when doing the right thing is a hard or tough decision.

Personal leadership is based in the understanding of what makes people tick and doing the things that they tend to do. There is a process that puts the “personal” adjective on the power word of leadership. Without the personal part, leaders will lose support in the long run. Why? Because people are smart and they watch their leaders like a hawk watches its prey. If the leader makes a mistake – like a self interest decision, increasing a bonus or pay while keeping everyone else fixed, cutting costs just for a bonus check, making poor decisions, having selective ethics to favor themselves and/or promoting the wrong people based upon politics rather than performance – others get the bigger picture.