New inTEgro logo 0910
In This Issue
How Penn State Fumbled
Random Acts of Kindness
Twitter Highlights
"Who Said This?" Contest
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Tweets For You:
I send 15-20 tweets a week with links to useful articles and research; here are a few of my latest, including links:

Injecting Swagger Into Your Brand Personality -  @fastcompany
What 5 words describe your brand personality?

This is from the CEO of Beryl Companies, a firm that I was introduced to when in Fort Worth recently. Check it out;

Ignore these 10 pieces of conventional management wisdom - - @paulspiegelman, Beryl Companies CEO

A long but good New Yorker article about the workings of Wall Street (and what doesn't work about it) - interestingly,..

@lobsterquotes Yes, "we are constantly nvited to be who
i we are" (Thoreau); fortunately we are sometimes able to resist the invitation!

@wisdomalive ... and: "Not all those who wander are lost." (J. R. Tolkien)

Recommend entire Nov HBR issue focusd on values-based and socially responsible business:

Don't believe the analysts - Why #Wall Street Can't Handle the Truth via @WSJ

Truly great organizations react to "bad luck" by deepening purpose, recommitting to values and increasing discipline:

For those still wondering what #OWS is about, see "Margin Call" for clues - 'Great flick.

'Agree with Elbin about #Madoff: #integrity not just about morality, but about a unified life -

Maybe #Wall Street troubles come down to a severe shortage of oxytocin - @TED -

"Adults are always asking children what they want to be when they grow up because they're looking for ideas." (Paula Poundstone)

"Alignment is the essence of management." (Fred Smith, FedEx founder and Chairman) See Alignment chapter in  

What a mess. If you want a culture of integrity, do the opposite of what EMC does under the influence of Goldman. See ...

'Agree with Mackay: #Integrity is all that matters in business, life | Hartford Business: via @AddThis

"Pseudo Voice" - a significant detractor from #authenticity: from S&B - When Employees Talk and Managers Don't Listen

Helpful article from McKinsey on how to evaluate you strategy.

How do you see the economy impacting workplace health? Some good idea here.

Documentation of how #trust paysa - - and ways to build it:

Congrats, #North Star - winner of Better Business Bureau #Integrity Award! via @sfgate

Fear: for sure, "The mind can imagine thing to the point where the body thinks it's real."  

89% distrust government to do the right thing; gee, I wonder why - New Poll Finds a Deep Distrust of Government:

Long but excellent article on importance of aligning clear strategy and #culture for successful

Congrats 2011 BBB #Integrity Award recipients! - 'great event celebrating good people, good companies and good work

There's good and there's bad office politics; 'good advice on the former: The Importance of Office Politics via WSJ

Great article on #alignment and smart# leadership: A Few Bad Apples Ruin Everything @WSJ

Can't argue: "Trust comes from delivering every day on what you promise - as a manager, employee and company." @WSJ

Interesting research about mood / productivity connection and suggestions: Put on a Happy Face. Seriously. @WSJ

HR friends - do these square with your biggest challenges? From WSJ Problems---and Solutions @WSJ

Product / service over profit, integration and strong #culture - new book reveals Jobs / #Apple's recipe for success:

Inspire Trust...and Good Things Will Follow
trustworthy cultures:

Three principles for a new Wall Street - #integrity, transparency and embracing the commons | The Great Debate

'All for it - enough sandbox leadership! RT @HarvardBiz - We Need More Mature Leaders See HBR: and my comment

Are you screening out the "great" by screening in the "good"? Desperately Seeking Talent  

A good example of alignment: How My Company Hires for Culture First, Skills Second @huffingtonpost
If you missed it, here is a copy of my latest blog, How Penn State Fumbled. Since some may not have seen October's article, Random Acts of Kindness, its introduction is included here; you can access the entire article by clicking the link at the end.  Be sure to enter the "Who Said This?" contest at the bottom of this newsletter to win an autographed copy of Navigating Integrity - Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best.
How Penn State Fumbled

It is sadly ironic that Penn State University and its leaders, concerned as they were about legacy, will perhaps best be known for their failures. Over fifteen years, at least eight young boys were molested, some at Penn State's athletic facilities, by the defensive coach of its revered football team, Jerry Sandusky. Despite awareness of the behavior, no one in charge reported Sandusky to outside authorities, he was kept on staff and more boys were victimized.  The fallout continues, but so far Penn State's iconic head coach Joe Paterno, its Athletic Director, VP of Administration and President have lost their jobs over the matter.

I can't help looking at Penn State through the lens of the four integrity pillars in my book Navigating Integrity - Transforming Business As UsualIntegrity in stone Into Business At Its Best: Identity, Authenticity, Alignment and Accountability. 


Identity - An institution's mission and values - its stated purpose and principles for governing how work gets accomplished - serve as the foundation for its identity.  At one point, Penn State's football program was no doubt considered as means for accomplishing the University's main ends of higher education and character formation. Over time, however, Penn's football program likely became the sun that the rest of the University revolved around.  When Penn State is mentioned, its football team is usually the first thing that comes to mind; few could name the University President, but most know about coach Joe Paterno.  What began as means to an end no doubt got confused by some as the end; they neglected to keep the main thing the main thing.

My research revealed no statements about Penn State University-wide institutional values, although I did find some for individual departments and programs.  Ironically, one stated value of Penn State's athletic program is "to promote traditional values of honesty, integrity, commitment and hard work as the foundation of Penn State's reputation and continuing success." (italics mine)  My guess is that there were no or few strong, institutional and systematic initiatives for communicating Penn State University core values, what they meant and how they would be enforced.   


Authenticity - Penn State and its leaders failed the three main tests of authenticity: trueness, truth-telling and transparency.  Trueness is a measure of how institutions and their leaders live up to their mission, brand promise and core values.  The athletic department clearly did not live up to its stated value of "promoting traditional values of honesty, integrity, commitment and hard work . . .," nor its published Vision to maintain  a "consistently high level of competition that does not compromise the integrity which has characterized the Penn State program from its inception."  To give coach Paterno some credit, his failure to do more in the light of what he knew violated the very same ethical principles upon which he based Penn State's football program and that accounted for much of its success.   


Truth-telling and transparency failed on multiple fronts; behaviors were overlooked, details were omitted from reports, and the full ugly reality remaineTruth imaged an inside story.  Penn State and its athletic program displayed a conspiracy of silence instead of a culture of transparency - comparable to the dynamic that we've seen undo many institutions and that contributed to our great recession.


Alignment - Institutional cultures are products of their stories and traditions, reinforced behaviors, leadership modeling, and institutional systems like hiring, pay, training, what gets measured and performance management.  As Peter Drucker said, "Culture eats strategy (and good intentions for that matter) for breakfast."  No matter what, if Penn State's intentions, stated values and policies were not in alignment with its culture and institutional systems, they counted for little.  To paraphrase Ralph Waldo Emerson, when culture and institutional systems are not aligned with stated intentions, "actions speak so loudly we cannot hear what they are saying."  If we want explanations of what transpired at Penn State, a review of who got hired or disciplined and why, what got rewarded or didn't and why, and what people paid attention to or didn't will reveal answers.     


Accountability - I like Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman's take on personal responsibility in their book The Oz Principle: "seeing it, owning it, solving it and doing it."  Penn State's assistant coach Mike McQueary clearly saw Jerry Sanduskey raping a 10 year-old boy in the football team's locker room, and reported that to Paterno.  Paterno reported that to Penn State's athletic director and to campus police, but there was insufficient action and follow-through; no party took responsibility for actually solving the problem.  We need to remember as Moliere said: "It is not only what we do, but what we do not do, for which we are accountable."  Why did Penn State leaders and staff look but not see?  Why did they know but not act?  I suspect that more answers are forthcoming, but integrity gaps in the University's and its athletic department's culture will account for many of the failures.  


Accountability requires paying attention to what matters.  If honesty and integrity really mattered, Penn State and its leaders would have paid more attention to that.  They would have instituted measures and evaluation mechanisms to help them "keep the main thing the main thing."  They would have examined their decisions and practices more thoroughly in the light of stated institutional and department values; they would have evaluated personnel and based hiring and disciplinary actions on different criteria; they would have paid as much or more attention to whether University leaders embodied University core values as to the football team's win / loss record and how much profit it generated.  


Penn State University is only beginning to experience the negative consequences of inadequate attention to institutional integrity.
Inattention to integrity gaps of its leaders and in its culture will not only adversely affect its ethical reputation, but severely damage its brand, and in turn engagement of students and faculty, recruitment prospects, its finances and overall University effectiveness. 


"If you have integrity, nothing else matters; if you don't have integrity, nothing else matters."  (Alan K. Simpson) 
Integrity in boulder

Do you have clear core values or principles that serve as a guide for your decisions and actions, especially in difficult situations?  Does your organization?


In any situations where decisions or actions did not model a core value or principle, why was that?  What needs to be different for that not to happen again?


Where and how do you think you or your organization might be at risk because of integrity gaps, and how do you know?  How can you close those integrity gaps?

Random Acts of Kindness
(October 14 blog)
Can you remember the last time you were the beneficiary of a "random act of kindness" - an unsolicited, totally unexpected kind act from a stranger?  How did you feel, and how did that affect the course of your day?  Can you remember a time when someone else benefited from your random act of kindness?
I've been collecting them for a few months now; the last one was in a giant French metro station when my wife's ticket didn't work and she was stuck behind heavy metal bars with her luggage.  A woman behind her used her pass to unlock the gate and motioned her through.  IGift didn't have time before one long trip to mow our lawn; imagine the pleasant surprise when I returned to discover that our neighbor mowed it for us! Earlier this year, as my wife exited our car on a busy street she dropped a book; an Excel Energy truck driver noticed that her arms were full, got out of his truck, picked up the book and returned it to her. The random act that got me thinking about this was when a woman in front of me at Starbucks offered to buy my coffee.  I thanked her and declined the offer, but she insisted, saying: "I'm just having a good day and wanted to buy someone a cup of coffee!"  There were more, and they were all "game changers" of sorts; in each case I immediately felt positive about the initiator (and in the truck driver's case, Excel,) it brightened up my day and caused me to "pay it forward" with others.

What difference has it made for you when you were the recipient of a random act of kindness?  How about when you were the initiator? 

                                           Read more


Win a Free Book!NI book cover png 052311
TryEnter the "WHO SAID THIS?" contest on
our blog to win a free auographed copy of Navigating Integrity - Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best

Look inside here.
Contact inTEgro to explore how we can be of service for strategic planning, senior team and board development or facilitating critical meetings.

All the best,

Al Watts
inTEgro, Inc.
ph: (612) 827-2363