Sunday, November 05, 2006


You will probably recall the recent sentencing of the former Enron criminal (er... executive) Jeff Skilling. For his greedy and dishonest acts, he's been sent to take a nice long vacation in the land of the orange jumpsuits. While I am thrilled to see him get a long run in prison, I am equally disturbed at the damage that creeps like him have done to the the cause of good management everywhere.

Skilling, and countless jerks like him violate an important trust. Our people have to believe that we are honest and accountable to the truth in all our dealings. How on earth can we ask our people to put themselves on the line for our company, their team or even for us if they don't trust us.

We managers are in important and responsible positions. We have access to information our troops don't get to know about, and we use this knowledge to make decisions that impact them. I found a great quote that I hope puts this into perspective for you; " Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, and knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful." - Samuel Johnson.

While Jeff Skilling demonstrates the second part of that quote perfectly. I submit to you that the first half of that quote is more often the problem than the second. While most of us are guilty in this regard, it just isn't newsworthy. You're a good boss and you always try to take care of your troops, but how often have you let the value of your integrity be diminished by not backing it up with the knowledge to make it count? Wanting to do the right thing is pretty easy - gathering the information to make sure that that you are doing the right thing effectively, or even ensuring that what you are doing IS the right thing is harder.

Hold on to your integrity and make an "integrity check" part of every decision you make. And before you get to the point of having to make that integrity based decision, get ALL information on the matter. Become smart enough on the topic to know what the "right" decision looks like - then check your gut and charge ahead!

Carry on!

If your boss demands loyalty, give him integrity.
If your boss demands integrity, give him loyalty.

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