Integrity Matters Broadcasts

June 1, 2005

Integrity is alive and well

Dear Friends:

While attending a board meeting recently, one of my friends said that he had decided to quote me. I asked what he heard me say that he thought was worth repeating, and he handed me a note with these words: "Enthusiasm is good. Prudence is better." Appreciating his compliment, and thinking a bit more about my words, it seems one additional phrase would complete the thought and make it stronger: "Enthusiasm is good. Prudence is better and integrity-centered leadership is best, when it includes character, charity and graciousness." Given the architectural framework of our integrity arch (the canopy for sustaining substantive leadership) it is easy to build a better society and more productive workforce with integrity-centered actions. However, quality and productivity require discipline. In the words of an insightful professional basketball player, discussing the stresses on those who win championships: "With the pleasure of the treasure (meaning the trophy) comes the pressure." Progress, victory, success, power - if achieved with integrity - will demand sacrifice.

Illustration # 1: Honoring global citizenship - James F. Bracher: a Paul Harris Fellow

James Bracher and Basil Mills

Long-time member of the service club, Rotary International, Basil E. Mills contributed - in the name of James F. Bracher - a gift of at least US$1,000 to the Annual Programs Fund making me a Paul Harris Fellow. Because of his gift, I received a commemorative certificate, a Paul Harris Fellow pin, and a medallion. My awareness of the constructive work of the Annual Programs Fund is summarized below, with links to the Rotary International website.

Rotary and Paul Harris

The world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, was formed in February of 1905 by Paul P. Harris, an attorney who wished to recapture in a professional club the same friendly spirit he had felt in the small towns of his youth. The name "Rotary" derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices.

As Rotary grew, its mission expanded beyond serving the professional and social interests of club members. Rotarians began pooling their resources and contributing their talents to help serve communities in need. The organization's dedication to this ideal is best expressed in its principal motto: Service Above Self. Rotary also later embraced a code of ethics, called The 4-Way Test, that has been translated into hundreds of languages.

An endowment fund, set up by Rotarians in 1917 "for doing good in the world," became a not-for-profit corporation known as The Rotary Foundation in 1928. Upon the death of Paul Harris in 1947, an outpouring of Rotarian donations made in his honor, totaling US$2 million, launched the Foundation's first program - graduate fellowships, now called Ambassadorial Scholarships. Today, contributions to The Rotary Foundation total more than US$80 million annually and support a wide range of humanitarian grants and educational programs that enable Rotarians to bring hope and promote international understanding throughout the world. In 1985, Rotary launched the PolioPlus program to protect children worldwide from the cruel and fatal consequences of polio. Rotarians stand at the brink of a great victory and look forward to celebrating the global eradication of polio. If war is to be the last resort, then understanding must be the first step.

Illustration # 2: Conquering road rage

Dateline: Boston, Massachusetts. Saturday, April 23, 2005 - A friend phoned and reported the following. She witnessed an impatient driver, herself, being slowed down by an elderly person in front of her on Interstate 95 near Boston. Trying to get to her appointment she was growing more perturbed, now steaming, that this "grammy" was puttering along like a snail. Leaving the interstate on the same exit, the problem worsened with "Na-Na" (her descriptor for the slow-poke). The frail individual, stopped her car, painstakingly lifted herself from the driver's side, needing two hands to stand, then carefully made her way to a "now nearly frantic" driver. Responding to the motion to open her window to speak with elderly driver - chaos, so she thought, was near. The slow-driving senior citizen said that she wanted the driver to be aware that one of her headlights was burned out and that she did not want her to have an accident. Then, she simply returned to her car and drove on.

Someone cared enough to help. Charity is not yet dead, not by a long shot. Stunned, embarrassed, now guilt-ridden, the message came through: integrity is alive and well, even when we might not expect it or deserve it. Good deeds still happen.

Surprise your fellow drivers, allow them to sneak in front of you and relax. You will likely have extended your trip by no more than few seconds. Getting upset can shorten your life by a few hours. Do the math. (I promise not to identify this "culprit" until my speech at her organization's annual convention in October, 2005. Having made similar blunders, it will be a pleasure to share the spotlight.)

Illustration # 2a: Road rage, death and integrity - risking personal involvement to pursue justice with character

A young woman was driving early one morning, at the speed limit, about 65 miles per hour, only to catch in her rearview mirror the sight of two cars catching up to her rapidly. She recognized that the speeding vehicles were weaving close to one another and she became anxious. Noting the cars were side by side, one in her lane, she knew to move to the right to get out of the way. As the vehicles passed she observed the drivers screaming and gesturing crudely to one another.

Returning to her lane, and proceeding directly behind them, only seconds later, one car bumped the other hard enough to knock it sideways and then smash into it again creating a horrible out-of control spin and crash. One car hurled crashing head on into the oncoming lane while the other driver sped away. Using her cell phone, the alert observer phoned emergency response professionals at 911 and then increased her speed until the other vehicle could be identified, including its license number. Returning to the scene of the accident, she saw police officers removing dead bodies; trying to reconstruct the accident. She was able to provide valuable information and learned later in the same day that the fleeing driver had been apprehended.

How many people would simply drive on? After all, who would know for certain who was there as a witness? Who would possibly question a person who simply stopped to wait for the police to arrive? Who expects modern-day drivers to place themselves at risk to gather information for those in law enforcement? Isn't that the job of police officers? In this instance, the ordinary citizen, a decent and caring young woman, accepted responsibility for making the world a better place and went the extra mile, in this case, probably several miles, at personal risk.

The lawbreaker (involved in a multiple homicide) is in custody. Whatever this individual says to explain the road-rage is simply unacceptable. Accidental murder with a motor vehicle is sickening. But intentional vehicular homicide is incomprehensible.

The good from this story is the integrity of one young woman. Her actions are a reminder to be responsive to the needs of others and a role model to do the right thing, even when no one is watching.

IF IT IS TO BE; (sometimes this is the truth) IT IS UP TO ME; AND YES, YOU TOO.

Illustration # 3: Graciousness pays dividends

Dateline: Carmel Valley, California. Thursday, April 27, 2005 -- During heavy rain showers, a business associate joined me for breakfast at the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Carmel Valley. Following a 90-minute business meeting, over breakfast, we exited the restaurant. Not yet ready to dodge the raindrops, I waited while my friend rushed to his car only to watch him return to the front door, speechless. Well, not exactly in silence. He had left the lights on and his battery was dead. Having no jumper cables in my car, learning he had none with him; the obvious answer was roadside assistance. Assured he had the situation well in hand, I headed toward the offices of the Bracher Center to deal with the day's challenges. Thirty minutes later, the phone rang and it was the "dead battery" man, sounding upbeat.

He told me a "Good Samaritan" story, this time involving the owner-manager of the restaurant. She suggested he not phone for assistance, but, threw on her jacket, went out in the increasingly heavy rainstorm, moved her vehicle which did have jumper cables and made sure my friend's automobile started. He thanked her, headed to his next appointment and phoned me with the good news. Acts of kindness are good to share. When he told me of his experience, he made my day better and maybe my retelling it here will make yours better. Graciousness improves lives. How many more times will this gentleman and others (including me) choose the Wagon Wheel Restaurant in Carmel Valley? Yes, integrity pays, over and over.

Illustration # 4: Wisdom: the constructive use of energy

Dateline: Universal and Timeless Wisdom -- One evening a wise grandmother told her grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. She said, "Dear child, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all. One is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandmother: "Which wolf wins?" The grandmother replied, "The one you feed."


You may access my three Day 1 sermons immediately preceding the week they are formally broadcast: May 29, June 5 and June 12 at Complimentary CD's of each of the sermons are available. For your copy, phone Day 1 toll free at: 888-411-3291. Initial feedback from listeners on the May 29 presentation has been positive. Please communicate your responses.

Next month, July, will be devoted to finding ways to Hit the Ground Running. In the meantime, please help us to expand the integrity conversation.


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