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Is It Time To Part Company?
Four Stories Of A leader
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Twitter Highlights
I send 15-20 tweets per week with links to useful articles and research. Here are a few of my latest, including links:

Fascinating excerpt from what promises to be a great read, "Imagine" - How to Be Creative
via @WSJ

What are you doing to counter these Three Issues that Stifle innovation -

"Don't play what's there; play what's not there." (Miles Davis, jazz great)

My comment on McKinsey's executive guide to better listening . . .

Double ouch! First "Psychos on Wall Street" - Now "Lunatics in the Boardroom! -

We've known it, but good examples of narcism's adverse impacts - A Mirror Can Be a Dangerous Tool for Some C.E.O.'s:

Ursula Burns of Xerox goes on my list of most admired CEOs - via @Fortune Magazine

A good reminder of the power of listening and how to do it from McKinsey -

Recommend: comprehensive trust trends and country / industry comparisons - 2012 Edelman Global Trust Barometer -

Still relevant: The Good, the Bad, and the Trustworthy via @ Strategy+Business -

Want a breakthrough in customer-centricity in 2012? Start with integrity -

Part of why OJT coupled with coaching is superior to classroom training - Not t Home On Te Golf Range via @WSJ

Integrity Helps Company Leaders Make Tough Decisios For Long-Term Gains - via @IBD Investors

Check the culture before picking a hospital! A Good Culture May Save Your Life - via @OpenForum

Know anyone suffering from these barriers to authentic listening? via @fastcompany

Learn from ballet - Moves to manage 'key-man risk' -

A very practical model; 'applies to employees too: The trapped customer - Engaging The Enterprise via Walker Information

Strategy lays down the rules for playing the game, and culture fuels the spirit for how the game is played.- Shawn Parr

Is your culture helping drive strategy or undermining it? via @fastcompany

Understatement of the day, from retiring Senator Olympia Snow: "Political partisanship has made the Senate unproductive."

RT @HarvardBiz - What You Can Control in Tough Business Climates - Karie Willyerd - Harvard Business Review:

Real authenticity is more than "being ourselves" when we're jerks - Don'T Let It Go To Your Head via @fastcompany

Excellent example of how transparency drives engagement - What Your Employees Don't Know Will Hurt You via @WSJ

Aligning executive pay with strategic intentions - How to Fix Executive Compensation via @WSJ

'Recognize any of these mistakes? Five Leadership Mistakes of the Galactic Empire - Forbes

"What are you doing to make yourself uncomfortable?" Being Uncomfortable Can Be Your Best Creative Weapon - via @fastcompany

Agree - we need solid strategy and a strong culture; hopefully one reinforces the other. - via @fastcompany

And to buy into others' values we must first know our own - Advertising Agency's Chief, on Setting a Belief System: NYTimes -

Yes, harmony, alignment or whatever we cal it is critical for innovation - via @innovationmanagement

A great TED clip on the importance of answering the "why" question to boost engagement and loyalty - Why Integrity?

Random statistic: In 2010 32% of American workers "seriously considering leaving current employer" - 9% more than 2006 (Mercer Consulting)

If you missed it, below is a copy of my last blog: Is It Time To Part Company?. Since some may not have seen February's article, Four Stories of a Leader, its introduction follows; 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.
Is It Time To Part Company?
Ten Signs That It May Be Time To Move On

What's the first thought you have about your work or employer when you wake up? Are you energized, enthused and eager to get on with your day, or just hoping to get through it?  If you're energized andLove Work, Elyce Feliz, flickr looking forward to the day, you likely reflect the 21% of nearly 90,000 employees surveyed by Towers Perrin's in 2011 who said they were engaged.  (Only 8% reported being "fully engaged.")  If you feel anxious, resentful and unmotivated, you probably identify more with the 38% surveyed who said they were wholly or partially disengaged.   For sure the cost of disengagement for employers is high, including lost productivity, less innovation, more conflict and higher health care expenses.  If you've been there, you know about the personal toll that it takes too.


I remember an article targeted to employers about "5 Signs That You Made A Bad Hiring Decision." (CBS New Money Watch, April 4, 2011.) It got me to thinking about the other side of the coin - signs that maybe we've gone to work for the wrong employer, or better yet that we shouldn't sign on in the first place.  Here are my top ten signs that might be the case; they might also serve as indicators for employers of things to shore up if they want a more engaged workforce:

  • Unclear or muddled direction - The organization either hasn't articulated its mission, strategy and priorities, or it's hard to buy in to its value proposition.  Is this an organization or unit in an organization with a clear understanding of how it creates value?
  • Lack of fit - Is the organization's mission one that you identify with?  Can you get behind the goals and are you excited about helping achieve them?  Will you have the opportunity to employ your most motivated skills?  This is about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's "flow" - when we are "stretched to our limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile."  (Flow; Harper Perennial, 1990)
  • No "center" - What does the organization stand for?  Core values, principles or beliefs are easier stated than practiced consistently, so look beyond a web site or posters on the walls.  Ask others who know the organization or check places like to learn what a culture is really like.  Dr. Charles Hughes' research at the Center For Values Research demonstrated that compatibility of individual and organizational values correlates highly with workers' desire to remain with their employer.
  • Stunted growth potential - Is this someplace where you can learn and grow?  Much of this is linked to an organization'sDead End sign value proposition and strategy, but not all.  Selfish managers with no interest in your aspirations or inclinations to help you achieve them play huge roles. How do the organization and your likely boss invest in training or mentoring others?
  • Clueless leaders - Is your immediate supervisor or a sizeable group of managers severely "E.Q.-challenged?"  Do they exhibit significant blind spots and a severe shortage of self-awareness or self-control?  Is there no concept of how much additional workload is too much?  I still remember the sense of dread, cynicism and resignation among employees I interviewed in an organization headed by a modern-day Simon Legree.
  • Poor alignment - Is everyone and everything pretty much "in-sync" with the organization's stated direction?  Or do you get the sense that as much or more energy is spent arguing, posturing or engaging in office politics than on "keeping the main thing the main thing" and satisfying customers?
  • Confusing "unity" with "sameness" - Unity is great, but that doesn't mean that everyone should look alike, think alike, act alike or always agree.  Are different perspectives and respectful disagreement encouraged?
  • Lack of truth-telling and transparency - Is the culture overly secretive?  Is it unsafe to surface "bad news," or is it hard for people to get information that they need?  Are financial statements or other information that investors, customers or other stakeholders want easy to find and understand, or opaque?
  • Toxic culture - "Toxic" means just that, poison, or a health hazard.  Contributors to toxic cultures beyond those mentioned here include gossip and rumors, unfairness, bullying and blatant disrespect.
  • Integrity gaps - If you've read my book Navigating Integrity - Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best, you know that from my perspective all of the above signal integrity gaps.  Other integrity-related trouble signs include ethically questionable practices, poor stewardship of human or natural resources and lack of accountability.

Try assigning a rating from "0" to "5" for each of these, with "5" being worst.  If the total rating for your work or employer is 20, or 5 on any one of these, I'd say start making a move.  Update your resume and social network profiles, fire up your network and exercise due diligence evaluating future potential opportunities. I hope that this serves as a useful checklist of what to look for and what to avoid then. It's hard to evaluate most of these factors on our own, so ask around; check sites like and


I know that in some organizations there is a fair amount of pent-up interest in jumping ship when the opportunity arises.  It has been mainly an employers' market the last few years, but that will likely change.  As the market improves and competition for talent heats up, applicants and employees will be in a position to be more discerning. If not too late, I hope that this checklist proves useful for organizations that want to minimize their loss of talent when the tide turns.



How does your employer rate for each of these dimensions?  Is it time to think of parting company?


Employers - Do you know how talent in your organization rates you on each of these dimensions?  How will you find out and make adjustments in order to keep your best talent?


"What we really want to do is what we are meant to do.  When we do what we want to do money comes to us, doors open for us, we feel useful, and the work we do feels lie play to us."  

Julia Cameon  



Four Stories of a Leader
Intro to February 9 blog by Bill Gjetson, guest author

Leaders must know how to set direction as well as how to engage followers.   A great strategy without a fully committed workforce prepared to execute it is a failed strategy.
Storytelling is a powerful way to engage team members.  Leaders who master the craft of storytelling have a potent arsenal for explaining strategy and inspiring performance.  This is not to suggest that leaders tell tall tales or spin yarns.  This is about authentic stories, stories trueStory quote to the leader and true to the organization.  An authentic story, fiction or non-fiction, is one that is relevant to the business context, sheds light on the situation, reveals meaning, defines a larger purpose, and motivates performers to give their very best.
For example, stories to inspire perseverance range from The Little Engine That Could, to the 1914 Shakleton expedition to the Antarctic, to the Battle of Britain and  Churchill's speech to students at Harrow school.  In his closing remarks Churchill told them This is the lesson. Never give in.  Never


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Enter the "WHO SAID THIS?" contest on our blog to win a free autographed copy of Navigating Integriity - Transforming Business As Usual Into Business At Its Best

"In this new book, Al Watts does a masterful job articulating how to live with integrity in our organization, on your team and in your life. A highly practical guide for leveraging the power of integrity."
(Kevin Cashman, Senior Partner Korn Ferrry)

Contact inTEgro to explore how we can be of service for strategic planning, senior team and board development or facilitating critical meetings. Click "Services" on our home page to learn more, including inTEgro's array of professional organization, team and leader surveys.

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

Al Watts
inTEgro, Inc.