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The Integrity Advantage                                                      By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telfordslipping of...
The Integrity Advantage                                                    By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford     Kent Mur...
The Integrity Advantage                                                By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telfordventing you from ...
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The Integrity Advantage

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How Taking the High Road Creates a Competitive Advantage in Business

By Adrian Gostick & Dana Telford

What is integrity and why is it important in business?

Authors Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford believe businesspeople with a high degree of integrity consistently display 10 telling characteristics that, in turn, gives them a competitive advantage within both their companies and their industries.

This book offers practical advice on developing a higher sense of integrity and its resulting competitive advantage.

Published in: Business, Career
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The Integrity Advantage

  1. 1. execubooks wisdom. wherever.Subscribe to execubooks.com: e-summaries of books for business peopleThe Integrity AdvantageHow Taking the High Road Createsa Competitive Advantage in BusinessBy Adrian Gostick and Dana TelfordPublished by Gibbs Smith, 2003ISBN 1586852469Introduction These are the 10 integrity characteristics:There are some written and unwritten rules of busi- 1. You know that little things count.ness that are just plain wrong when you look at 2. You find the white (when others see gray).them from the perspective of integrity. How many 3. You mess up, you ‘fess up.of us, however, are on the proverbial edge of the 4. You create a culture of trust.cliff — with casualties occurring all around us — 5. You keep your word.and fail to recognize the dangers? 6. You care about the greater good. What is integrity? The latest version of Merriam- 7. You’re honest but modest.Webster’s dictionary defines it as firm adherence to 8. You act as if you’re being watched.a code of especially moral or artistic values. 9. You hire integrity. Jim Burke of Johnson & Johnson calls integrity 10. You stay the course.“providing a mechanism for individuals and organi- By integrating those 10 factors into your every-zations to trust you.” day behavior, you’ll gain the Integrity Advantage. Millard Fuller of Habitat for Humanity describesit as “a consistency and steadfastness in your life You Know Little Things Countwith what is truthful and what is right.” There’s a story about two little frogs placed in a pot Shelly Lazarus, chairman and CEO of Ogilvy of warm water to make soup. The first smelled theMather Worldwide, says a person with integrity onions, recognized the danger and immediately“puts forth a set of beliefs and then acts on prin- jumped out. The second frog hesitated since theciple.” water felt so good and decided to stay in for just a Wayne Sales, president and CEO of Canadian minute to relax. He rationalized that he could jumpTire, says “it means doing the right thing.” out before too long. As the water temperature in- Based on observing and interviewing leaders creased, the frog adapted, hardly noticing thelike that, 10 characteristics emerge as being con- change — until it was too late.sistently displayed by people with a high degree of That’s how businesspeople lose their integrityintegrity. Someone who does all 10 things all the — a little bit at a time until they’re in hot water andtime has near-perfect integrity. But the reality is have nowhere to go. The erosion of a person’s in-that it’s a sliding scale — we each fall short in one tegrity is rarely quick and spectacular, as in a Holly-way or another. wood blockbuster. It usually occurs as a gradualBuy the Full Book!www.amazon.com www.bn.com www.chapters.cawww.execubooks.com © 2003 execubooks inc.
  2. 2. The Integrity Advantage By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telfordslipping of standards that’s hard to spot — and hard to chief Shelly Lazarus notes, “Here is a brand that isstop — until it’s too late. committed to the highest level of human endeavor and To have the Integrity Advantage, you don’t lie or all sorts of wonderful abstract thoughts. But when itcheat on the small things and as a result you aren’t cor- was exposed that they were involved in questionablerupted by the larger things — the lure of power, prestige labor practices, they didn’t step up and say, ‘It’s our re-or money. Just as importantly, if you have integrity you sponsibility and we are going to do something aboutstick to your internal code of morality, even at the risk of this.’ Instead, they said, ‘We subcontract and that’s notlosing your comfortable place in the world. our business.’ It was a huge disappointment, I think, to their employees and consumers because it was soYou Find the White (When Others counter to what people saw Nike to stand for.”See the Gray)In the work world, we all encounter gray areas. They You Create a Culture of Trustemerge when we’re faced with a right-versus-right The integrity of the people around you is critical. Eachdecision, or when the right thing to do is unclear. And of the businesspeople interviewed works tirelessly tothe farther you rise in an organization, the harder the create a positive, ethical team environment. “It’s got todecisions become and the more tough, gray decisions start at the top,” says Lazarus. “If we have learned any-you face. thing from this current round of revelations, it’s that if In such situations, you need an unwavering com- the people at the top aren’t committed to integrity, ifmitment to spend the time and energy to figure it out. they don’t live their own values and the values of the“If there is any question if something is right or wrong, company, there’s no hope.”or if this will impact on your integrity, you can’t just say, To have the Integrity Advantage, you help to create‘Maybe it’s O.K.’ A person with integrity finds out,” the right work environment, one that won’t test the per-says Joel Richards of El Paso Corp. sonal integrity of your employees or co-workers. You To help, you need good advisors — people with in- reinforce integrity through principles, controls and per-tegrity who can help you out. “Don’t be a lone ranger,” sonal example. And you reward those in your employwarns Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs. “Sometimes who display personal integrity in their actions.people are good people but they make judgment er-rors. It’s not a question of morality; they just make a You Keep Your Wordmistake. So whenever there’s a close call, you need to Not so long ago, if you gave your word, it was worthseek advice, get a second set of eyes and ears.” something. Today, words are cheap. But as Stephen Covey has noted, the key to suc-You Mess Up, You ’Fess Up cessful relationships is trust. Joseph Badaracco, a Har-During the Tylenol poison scare in 1982, Johnson & vard University professor and author of Leading Quietly,Johnson acted with integrity, reacting quickly by alert- says “making good on your commitment is a windowing the public to the potential danger and recalling mil- on integrity,” although he cautions against becoming solions of the capsules at a cost of around $100 million. rigidly oriented toward doing your duty that you becomeThe result was an increase in trust, and although some an automaton, unable to think for yourself.people thought the Tylenol brand was dead, it remains Employees don’t follow leaders they don’t trust.a powerhouse today. Jim Burke, the company’s presi- Employers don’t hire people or promote people theydent and CEO at the time, says he was “absolutely don’t trust. Clients don’t buy from suppliers they don’tconvinced than an honest approach was going to trust. To have the Integrity Advantage, you act with in-work, even though I got shaken up a couple of times tegrity to gain trust.with people I really cared about who gave me a sce-nario that suggested it may not.” You Care About the Greater Good By contrast, Nike didn’t initially stand by its per- Some people call it karma. Some call it the golden rule.ceived principles when faced with accusations of dubi- The concept remains the same: what goes aroundous labor practices in Asia in the 1990s. Advertising comes around.www.execubooks.com 2
  3. 3. The Integrity Advantage By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford Kent Murdock at O.C. Tanner highlights the com- small, it is an organization — and a man — that setsmitment to the collective whole: “There is a huge ethi- the standard for running a company with high integrity,”cal perspective from committing to bettering the com- Graham says.pany versus a personal agenda of how much moneycan I get out of here. I’m not saying you have to sacri- You Hire Integrityfice for the company — work 80 hours a week or give It’s relatively easy to teach telephone etiquette, com-up your family. But to be successful long-term and to puter skills or company procedures. Even communica-be noticed and rewarded, you must ensure that all your tion or language barriers can be overcome. But it’s veryactions will make the company successful.” difficult (although not impossible) to train a person to Millard Fuller says a person with integrity lives with have integrity.humility and an eye towards others, and can still be That’s one reason Don Graham recommends hiringsuccessful and well rewarded. “Integrity is thinking of and promoting people from inside your organizationthe bigger picture, finding a purpose that is bigger than whenever possible. “The best way to predict whatyourself,” he says. someone’s going to do in the future is to know what they’ve done in the past — watch how people addressYou’re Honest but Modest difficult business issues, how they deal with peopleHonesty isn’t something you claim, like a fancy title — who work for them, how they deal with the people fortelling everybody around how honest you are. It’s a whom they work.”judgment made by the people around you based on Jose Paulo Lemann of Gillette says integrity is theyour actions, every day of your life. first thing he looks for in a candidate. “I think the one “People who talk about their own integrity usually thing you really can’t deal with is lack of integrity. If aput me on alert,” says Lazarus. Similarly, Frank Vander- person is playing games, even if they are useful to theSloot of Melaleuca says people shouldn’t be out telling firm in some ways, in the end they get mixed up; theythe world how honest their company is. “I had a don’t function within the whole organization.”spokesperson once who was out touting us — and To have the Integrity Advantage, you hire and sur-telling our salespeople to tout us — as an honest com- round yourself with straight arrows who have a strongpany ... and to really go into our honesty as a company. sense of personal integrity. You promote those whoI reeled him in and those he had talked to. I told them demonstrate an ability to be trusted.it’s not the right thing to do, first. And second, wewould like to run a business where after somebody has You Stay the Coursehad experience with us for five or 10 or 15 years they Consistency pays off. Diane Peck, former senior vice-say for themselves, ‘That’s an honest outfit.’ We want president of Safeway, notes that “people who have in-to be worthy of that.” tegrity are consistent in what they say and do. They are almost predictable ... You know what to expect fromYou Act as if You’re Being Watched them, you know what the outcome is going to be.”Does it seem as though your every move is being Consistency is the mark of a person who isn’t af-watched? If so, you’re a leader. People really are fected by changes outside him or her. Money, power orwatching you. A leader with integrity knows this and influence may come and go, but a person’s actions aremakes decisions that can be scrutinized by anyone. inseparably connected to his or her inner moral values. Don Graham of The Washington Post has watched You can’t harness the Integrity Advantage withoutWarren Buffett, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, be- developing consistency.cause he’s one of the greatest exemplars of integrity inbusiness. He says Buffett makes decisions as if one of Conclusionhis investors was constantly peering over his shoul- Integrity takes work. You can start by rating yourselfders, and he isn’t afraid to discuss any and all deci- from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest) on each of the 10sions. “I think it’s worth studying every aspect of Berk- characteristics of integrity, and then getting a secondshire Hathaway’s behavior, because in things big and or third opinion. Evaluate your environment — is it pre-www.execubooks.com 3
  4. 4. The Integrity Advantage By Adrian Gostick and Dana Telfordventing you from acting with integrity and, if so, can Related Readingyou work to change it or do you need to get out? Leading Quietly: An Unorthodox Guide to Doing the Finally, start an individual revolution, picking two Right Thing, by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr., Harvard Bus-things to work on in your own behavior — something iness School Press, 2002, ISBN 1578514878.you’ll do differently, to act with more integrity, andsomething you’ll no longer do. Focus on behaviors, two The Warren Buffett CEO: Secrets from the Berkshireat a time, and you’ll be on the way to making the In- Hathaway Managers, by Robert P. Miles, John Wiley &tegrity Advantage your advantage. e Sons, 2001, ISBN 0471442593.ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Adrian Gostick is a business author, Managing With Carrots: Using Recognition to Attractlecturer and co-author of Managing With Carrots. Dana and Retain the Best People, by Adrian Gostick andTelford is a researcher and management consultant. Chester Elton, Gibbs Smith, 2001, ISBN 1586850776.www.execubooks.com 4

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