Integrity Matters Broadcasts

August 1, 2004

Dear Friends:

This month's Broadcast is in two parts. The first is a request - we hope a simple one - to help us enhance our next book by providing a personal insight on Graciousness. The second is the narrative on our Attribute # 8, Graciousness: respect and discipline.

On the first, the request, thank you, in advance, for your willingness to offer responses back to us - this month. Fortunately, this request requires only the slightest of effort on your part. We are looking for one or more examples where you have observed or exhibited the magic of niceness. We are in the midst of writing our next book, which will address the ultimate pay-off for integrity which is success, in a variety of forms. In addition to citing powerful examples where doing things right in business pays off, we also want to create a catalog (of sorts) that will serve readers with constructive examples of graciousness in action.

So, here are some questions to help you get started:

  1. Where did you observe someone behaving graciously?
  2. What made the behavior so memorable?
  3. How did you acknowledge (recognize) the gracious action taken?
  4. Who in public life, currently, exemplifies graciousness?
  5. How might graciousness improve productivity, political enthusiasm and business transactions?

Click here to participate in our research about gracious behavior

Now, on to our second part. What follows are a few illustrations of what we have learned that promotes and sustains gracious behavior. Our Broadcast this month is designed to encourage care and concern - inside and beyond our borders: personal, political, cultural and economic.


Graciousness: respect and discipline (Attribute # 8)*

Does your organization demonstrate care and concern for stakeholders?

*from Bracher Center's Eight Attributes for Building an Integrity-Centered Company by James F. Bracher © April 2, 2004; Integrity Matters, Bracher and Halloran, pp. 32-33.

Step 1: Look for gracious behavior in everyday actions, your own and the actions of others. Hoping this prompts you to send us your answers to the five survey questions in my opening paragraphs, above.

Williams, after losing, proves she's a champ

Dear Jim,

What a nice lesson in graciousness, given by tennis star Serena Williams, in showing Maria Sharapova "the ropes" in Centre Court at Wimbledon, after Maria defeated Serena for the ladies singles' championship. There are expected behaviors toward the Royal Box at Wimbledon, as well as protocol for receiving and displaying the championship trophy. Serena was not required to help Maria, but she did. As a consequence, Maria came across more poised because of Serena's thoughtfulness. What do you think of this gesture?


Serena Williams demonstrated graciousness in how she offered reassurance and guidance to a first-time winner at Wimbledon. In addition, her behavior communicated maturity regarding leadership and character. Serena may have built an even more legitimate foundation for her career through her gracious response in defeat than she might have achieved in yet another crushing victory.

Click here for the full response

Step 2: Decide not to allow negative examples to overwhelm your own sense of propriety.

Thoughtless comments by the California Secretary of Education

Dear Jim,

I was appalled at our state education secretary's remarks to a 6-year-old girl in Santa Barbara last week! Richard Riordan told the young child that her name meant "stupid dirty girl" when she told Education Secretary Riordan that her name meant "Egyptian goddess."

Although he has apologized, his comment was unacceptable. Is this the type of individual we want as the education secretary for California? What kind of message is our Governor sending by not asking Riordan to resign?


Children are special because they are young, innocent and capable of absorbing so very much that adults and the world have to teach them. They are precious because they are the stewards of the very culture we bestow upon them. They are the promise of all of our tomorrows because they and they alone, are the carriers of hope, healing, and wholeness in an often despairing, diseased and broken world. At the moment when any role model, (whether an adult, a parent, a teacher, a celebrity, a public official or a member of a state governor's staff), behaves inappropriately, in the instance you cite, cruelly, then actions must be taken.

Like you, I have seen the video tape of the Education Secretary Riordan's sarcastic response to this young child. She cried. He laughed. How utterly unacceptable was his behavior.

Click here to review our efforts in August 2003

Step 3: Determine that your own example of graciousness will teach others the simple truth: it is not as important what happens to us as it is how we respond to what happens to us. Coach Mike Krzyzewski of Duke University teaches us a great deal more than how to shoot a basketball, he delivers the truth about integrity in many ways, including graciousness.

Coaching Integrity and Partnership

Dear Jim,

I read that Mike Krzyzewski is staying at Duke University after turning down a $40 million dollar package from the Los Angeles Lakers to become their coach.  What a wonderful lesson in family values and loyalty this represents, and a nice lesson in integrity, too--do you agree?


Yes, I agree. Hopefully, many individuals across this nation - especially those in North Carolina or those who have an affiliation with Duke University - will feel as you do, and find a way to send to letter of appreciation to this world-class coach saying something along these lines: “Thank you, Coach Krzyzewski. If ever we needed a positive role model in sports -- that time is now. Great job, Coach K. You embody the message that integrity matters - in what you say and what you do, every day. Your decision to stay at Duke University, support its programs and people, choosing personal values over cash, is an example our society will treasure, for a long time.” While too many sports pages are covered with negative stories about performance-enhancing drug abuse scandals, violence on the ice, on the courts, on the playing field and in the stands filled with overly-aggressive fans and parents...

Click here for full response


Thank you again, for helping to constructively communicate that, yes, it is true that Integrity Matters. We appreciate your willingness to respond to the five questions, introduced at the top of this August Broadcast, related to graciousness. Together with your input we are building a legacy of constructive behaviors for current as well as future generations.


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