Integrity Matters Broadcasts
April 15 , 2008
Last week-end, as one of the invited speakers at the California State Athletic Directors Association, it was my privilege to address men and women who set the tone for integrity in high school sports throughout the state. My message, about integrity, focused on being an integrity model just as much as talking about the subject. Even though Tiger Woods did not win the Masters Tournament in Augusta, lessons from his approach to the game and to life.
“Integrity in Leadership Because Integrity Matters”
James F. Bracher
“Tiger intends to win every tournament.”
COPYRIGHT © 2008 TIGER WOODS
Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on April 9, 2008.
Success requires eye of the Tiger
Certain golf observers speak with disdain about the tremendously competitive approach exhibited by possibly the greatest golfer ever. And, whether or not one is a fan of Tiger Woods, his ability to reach and sustain peak performance is magnificent. My concern is about those who say "he expects to win every tournament" as if anyone intentionally enters any contest, seriously, as an amateur or professional, without intending to win. An individual might know that the odds of winning every time are not high, however, the intention to perform at the highest level must be there, or why else compete?
My objective is not to convert sports enthusiasts into the Tiger Woods fan club. Rather, it is to open a discussion on the importance of proper disciplined preparation along with focused execution-excellence. Tiger Woods is a sports phenomenon. He was carefully prepared, by his parents, to exceed expectations - beginning as a very young child - and, it appears that he did not disappoint them. So, what is the lesson to be learned?
Performing consistently at the highest levels of excellence is not an accident. The situation in which Tiger Woods finds himself - continually rewriting the record book in golf - is something to be studied and admired by current and future generations as worthy of emulation if not duplication. And, why not? He is pursuing his passion: golf. He has made the sacrifices necessary to continuously improve, in order to win.
Who can name one person, in any walk of life - known as a winner - who lacks the spark and fire of competition? They have one goal in common: to be the best that they can be and help those around them on their team to be the best that they can be. Basketball superstar Michael Jordan, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, Microsoft CEO Bill Gates, entertainer Bob Hope, any serious presidential candidate, special education teachers and others we have met along the path of life, including supportive parents, responsible members of the clergy, mentors, leaders of civic clubs, public servants, and yes, our precious close friends.
So, why not go out each day, like other high performers, with the same intensity?
- Set goals that demand superior performance.
- Prepare and follow through, playing by the rules.
- Solicit feedback, frequently, making performance-improving adjustments.
- Pass along appropriate insights and disciplines, enabling others to do even better.
- Encourage a winning approach through personal example.
- Praise successful achievement, wherever it appears.
Honor excellence - personally and professionally - celebrating the importance of integrity-centered successes. Winners deserve to win because of their work ethic and their code-of-conduct - in sports, academics, business, politics, public service and interpersonal relationships.
April 16 should replace the November timeframe, when possible. If the first voting day after April 15 must occur on the following Monday, then so be it. The “window of acute awareness” regarding government’s costs and benefits should be kept closely linked to tax day. Being aware of just how much money it costs to “keep the system” going can be a powerful motivator – encouraging accountability and effective communication – at all levels of our government.
To make the point, using a Clint Eastwood movie title; each of us deserves to know “the good, the bad and the ugly.” So that we don’t write-off the up-side of government services, knowing the good can be a powerful source of reassurance for individuals who might take granted what is provided. Some of the good – in terms of education and social services – if better understood – build public support regarding the positive value and constructive impact provided by hard-earned tax payments.
But, back to April as the right time for holding elections -
- Mid-April is a reminder of just how much government costs each individual.
- Common sense ties public service costs with individuals and community benefits.
- When one can see and feel the benefits, then public servants’ positions are secure.
- Disconnects between promises made and services delivered will be a red flag.
- Who would willingly re-elect the same folks who cost a lot, and deliver very little?
- Energy and housing costs, improperly addressed, could bankrupt our nation.
- Recession is more than a mind-set for those without jobs of prospects for income.
- Who is accountable for the policies that address job training and economic stimulus?
- Is there a better time to crystallize public service accountability to each and every citizen – who works to support the essentials of government - than when payments are made?
So, why not ask your local elected officials to consider establishing mid-April as election time? Those who know what needs to be done, and are working diligently to deliver on promises, will have little reluctance to the change. It is pretty clear, at least from the media coverage, that most folks in public service are doing their jobs, listening to constituents and following through. Even so, keeping the spotlight on prudent investments and cost containment is a daily activity for taxpayers. So, why not plant the same discipline throughout the economic system that underpins our government.
Transparency is when we can see the operations of organizations along with the individuals working in them, top to bottom, and know that integrity and accountability is a core operational principle.
In high school athletics, professional sports, public service and in our daily lives, it is about discipline, commitment, follow-through and integrity.
James F. Bracher
Dimension Five Consultants, Inc.
Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership
P.O. Box 22467
Carmel, California 93922
James F. (Jim) Bracher, Director
Executives in Residence
Foundation of CSUMB
California State University Monterey Bay
100 Campus Center,
Building 201 - Suite 101
Seaside, California 93955
Phone: direct: 831-582-5038
Ruby Sanchez (831) 582-5015
(831) 582-5019 Fax