Integrity Matters Broadcasts

May 6, 2008

The "I" word

Dear Friends: 
Andy Rooney, the octogenarian from Sunday evening’s “60 Minutes” provides commentary at the end of the broadcast.  His remarks can be informative, irritating or inspirational – sometimes all three.  Regardless, he makes me think.  Perhaps my reflections on the use and abuse of the word “I” will do the same for you.

The “Me Generation” transcends birth years – it includes egotists and narcissists of all ages.  To learn of their savage use and abuse of the one-letter word “I” – please cut me some slack before you over-react.  Two illustrations will make the point.  Below are two letters (emails):  one from a “big-ticket” sales manager and the other from a recent “prestigious school” MBA graduate and a candidate for a position at a Fortune 20 corporation.

Having communicated to a prospective buyer that a delayed response to his phone calls was not quite up to his standards, this sales person had the audacity to send this email, explaining his own difficulties in being prompt:

  1. Hi Ms. -----   
  2. I was off yesterday.
  3. I just saw your email.
  4. I will be going next Wednesday to hunt for your item.
  5. I will also call so-and-so and see if I can get what you requested.
  6. I will let you know what I find out.
  7. Mr. - -------

And retail owners scratch their heads, wondering why they are losing sales!  Ego and arrogance are getting in the way. Mostly this is slovenly thinking, lacking any tone of graciousness.  How sad!

So, you say, maybe this only happens in the rough-and-tumble world of retail sales.  Not so fast.  Here is an email sent by an individual soon to receive a Masters Degree from a very expensive graduate school of business.   Attempting to “secure a job” – this “All About Me” self-absorbed scholar digs an even-bigger hole for himself with a typo (see capabilities, misspelled below);

  1. Hi – Potential Employer  
  2. I appreciate the time you spent with me today to discuss my background  
  3. I believe that my experiences and capabilites (misspelled word, didn’t proofread)  
  4. I have an excellent track record of leading large teams effectively  
  5. I realize it's late in the process  
  6. I am hopeful  
  7. I welcome the opportunity  
  8. I mentioned in our call,
  9. I will be in [in your city] again next Monday and I can be available for meetings
  10. I really enjoyed our discussion today.
  11. Signed, The Candidate

Two simple responses are missing:  please and thank you.  Where is the word we?  Success is more likely to come to those who avoid too much “I” in writing, speaking and in attitude. 

There is no “I” in team, respect, legacy, success or care – each of which is essential to building trust and impact.  There was a time when common sense said to remember, it is, sooner or later, about the money.  Translation, it is about making sure that – at the end of the day – that more is created than is used.  Call it profit, productivity and profound impact – it may be more blessed to give than to receive, it is also essential to pass along, generously, whatever we have to share.  Such generosity creates SUCCESS.

Success can be measured, in part, by WEALTH, as described below.    Wealth, a by-product of success, begins, not with “I” but with “WE” – the first two letters of WEALTH.
WEALTH can be understood to stand for Wisdom, Enthusiasm, Application, Luck, Thoughtfulness and Health.
To read the entire Integrity Matters WEALTH column, published on April 30, 2008, in The Californian;  please click here: Wealth helps solve poverty 

Winners credit others with accomplishments while willingly taking ownership for mistakes.  Those who are fortunate enough to work around successful individuals consistently praise them for keeping the focus on team as they, together, record victories in terms of real WEALTH - Wisdom, Enthusiasm, Application, Luck, Thoughtfulness and Health.

To your continued WEALTH and HEALTH!

Jim Bracher
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

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