Integrity Matters Broadcasts

October 1, 2004


Dear Friends:

Since individuals are chief executive officers of them-selves - or, at least, should be, for October we are focused on Executive Integrity.

  1. What is it?
  2. How does one exhibit it?
  3. What are the consequences when it fails?
  4. Who are your "executive integrity" role models?

#1 Executive Integrity can be defined as successful individuals who know who they are and how to leverage their own values, knowledge, skills and abilities to generate enhanced productivity. Effective executives capitalize on the complementary assets of their colleagues. Perceptive leaders leverage the individual and interpersonal integrity of those with whom they work in relation to principles and values that define organizational integrity. Skilled leaders assist others in the successful utilization of individual talents and team effectiveness. Perceptive executives seek methods to ensure continuous improvement for themselves and those with whom they work.

Integrity is the keystone of leadership. It is reflected in discussions, decisions, directives and diagnostics. Leadership emerges from listening, demonstrates character in behavior, and leverages energy with integrity. Integrity is the stabilizing factor that sustains effort and causes energy to create the canopy for accomplishment. Integrity enables the achievement of Vision.

#2 How does one exhibit it? The following letter came from a first-year college student. He found out that he was and is, in fact, CEO, of his own life. With some anxiety, he confronted the colleagues mentioned in his question and chose the integrity-centered path. You will read why he may have chosen to exhibit executive integrity.

Dear Jim:
A group of my buddies smoke marijuana on a regular basis. They do not leave the garage where my friend lives while high, so they only do harm to themselves and thankfully not others. I want to help them because I know they are doing themselves harm and breaking the law, but at the same time I don't want to violate their trust. Is there any way I can help them without breaking the loyalty of friendship?

Former Georgetown University basketball coach John Thompson has defined loyalty as follows: "Loyalty is not always saying yes to me. In fact, it may mean saying harsh things to me. But disloyalty is ever saying anything negative about me to anyone else." Whether you agree with his definition or not, one truth is evident. Friends are defined by the integrity of their relationship. Even the adult-beverage commercials remind us that "friends don't let friends drive drunk."

For the rest of our integrity-centered counsel that might have encouraged strong self-directed leadership, click here.

# 3 What are the consequences when it fails? Dan Rather might have insights regarding how "not taking responsibility for integrity all the time" can change the reputation of a career and even a large business enterprise, including one the size of CBS.

CBS News fails its responsibility and the 'real news' test

Dear Jim:
CBS has finally admitted to being duped and says it was wrong to air the "60 Minutes" episode accusing President George W. Bush of receiving special treatment in the Texas Air National Guard. I am disappointed and disgusted with CBS and with Dan Rather for what appears to be a lack of moral and ethical standards.

Are there no consequences for this reprehensible behavior? News is to inform and educate us. Without trust in the integrity of the news, how can our society survive?

Do not lose heart. The jury is still out on this recent chaos created by Dan Rather, CBS and "60 Minutes." Our system will know what is right and apply sound principles to abuses of power by any segment of the media, including television broadcasting.

We expect and deserve proper news coverage...
For the definition of real news and media accountability, click here.

One immediate response addressed to Scott Faust, Executive Editor of The Salinas Californian suggested that the Integrity Matters response could have been even stronger in its condemnation of the actions of CBS and Mr. Rather.

Dear Mr. Faust,
I am a big fan of the column "Integrity Matters" by Jim Bracher appearing in your newspaper. After reading today's column I feel I must comment.

Jim is indeed correct, the issue brought to light with CBS and the forged National Guard documents have everything to do with integrity. However I don't think he went nearly far enough in his description of this incident. Although Jim graciously calls for "responsible journalism in preference to salacious entertainment", this debacle was not salacious entertainment. You cannot equivocate Dan Rather's integrity malfunction to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction.

It is clear from the details released so far that CBS activities bear no resemblance to responsible journalism. It is blatant, biased influence peddling. CBS chose to enter the same type of underhanded low-life politics that permeated certain regions and cities of this country in the 1950's. They have abandoned any role in objective, responsible news reporting and deserve the treatment and disrespect warranted by such repulsive behavior.

Equally unfortunate is how wide spread biased news reporting has become. One need only read a single edition of the New York Times to see this in action. But there is good news in all this. The vast majority of Americans see such bias for what it is and they will judge for themselves. And they will judge Dan Rather and CBS along with the important issues they so foolishly tried to influence.


Lacy Edwards
Pleasanton, California

Yes, we do appreciate feedback and ask for your input as well. And, now, on to our fourth October Broadcast point - -

#4 Who are your "executive integrity" role models? In the following illustration, one can see, vividly, just how important parents are in shaping values, all the time.

Friend's parents provide graciousness example

Dear Jim:
You write about integrity and the Eight Attributes. One attribute is graciousness. Where is graciousness learned? Are there examples? What difference does it make?

Graciousness, which can be defined as respect and discipline, is learned by constructive examples and positive role models. A friend and I were discussing where he learned the importance of graciousness, and he, with moist eyes, passed along this story from his growing-up years. With his permission, we present his story. It changed him, touched me, and maybe it will transform and teach those who read it now:

"My father and mother owned a small 'mom and pop' grocery store in the tough neighborhood, all Mexican and all poor, where my brothers and I grew up in south El Paso, Texas. My parents had inherited the store from my paternal grandparents, who had emigrated from Mexico in the early 1900s. On Sunday nights during the spring and summer months, my parents would show free movies to the neighborhood that surrounded (and patronized) their store."

"My father would use impromptu barriers to keep traffic from...

To learn about the dramatic impact of integrity on family, business success and, yes, the community, please click here.

So, who are your executive integrity role models? What did they teach you? How are you passing along their lessons? When was the last time that you thanked them? Do you have an organized plan to make sure their values are a permanent part of your legacy?

In the last analysis, integrity is the keystone
Integrity is congruence between what you say and what you do, as well as what you say about what you did. Integrity is the keystone of leadership. The keystone holds the enterprise together at its most critical junction, where ideas, products and services meet the customer. The keystone enables the arch to fulfill its supportive mission. Integrity enables an organization to achieve its mission. Integrity is the strength, unity, clarity and purpose that upholds and sustains all of the activities of the enterprise. Integrity provides this stabilizing dimension by never, ever, compromising. Integrity recognizes risks and assumes responsibility. It drives the realization of vision toward the enterprise's destination. Leaders (including parents, friends, colleagues, fellow stakeholders, in fact, every legitimate social interaction) must exude integrity if relationships are to prosper, economically and culturally.

Next month, the November Broadcast will address: Interpersonal Integrity.

In the meantime, please continue contacting us regarding your "integrity concerns and questions."


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