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A Word bout The Wise
Is It Time To Part Company?
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Twitter Highlights
I send 15-20 tweets per week with links to useful links and research. Here are a few of my latest, including links:

'Can't argue with this: 8 "Core Beliefs of Extraordinary Bosses" Via @Inc.

Could you use a Mickey Mouse culture? "In Customer Service Consulting, Disney's Small World is Growing

We can learn from Jobs, but the best leaders don't emulate anyone "The Steve Jobs Way" via @stratandbiz

'Great concept: "stay" interviews better than exit interviews - Pros and Cons of Hiring Outsiders @NYTimes

Google's Don't Be Evil - easier said than done @NYTimes

Stories are great culture  carriers: What's Your Story? @ NYTimes More on leader stories at

This explains a lot! Why Your Boss Is Such an Ape via @WSJ

Wal-Mart: Guaranteed lowest principles - Vast Mexico Bribery Case Hushed Up by Wal-Mart After Top-Level Struggle @NYTimes

If you agree that there's a crisis of character, what should we do about it? America's Crisis of Character via @WSJ

Kellogg Company - recognized by Corporate Responsibility Mag, Forbes & Reputation Institute for Commitment to Integrity

Great article on the importance of design, creativity, marketing and adaptive systems in our VUCA world @CIOJournal

Sailing also excellent training for risk Management - Farallones Deaths Follows Dangerous Year In Sailing @NYTimes

And we wonder why it's hard to schedule a meeting? From WSJ

"Life is not just about the value you seek. It's about the values you stand for." via @MailOnline

'Great question: Why didn't Kodak invent instagram? via @Bits Of course - it's culture!

Excellent article on strategic listening and Amgen CEO  how a "soft skill" gets hard results. @McKinsey

Dare To Fail @CBS MoneyWatch As Churchill said: Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm

How true: "When you're winning, you have few crtiics." - Best Buy Deals With Insiders Draws Scrutiny

The ability to ask the right question is more than half the battle of finding the answer. (Thomas J. Watson)

name and thing, will stand as a monument and warning to human presumption. (Bishop of Winchester, 1912)

In remembrance on the 100th anniversary - Maud Mary and the Titanic: A boat to be missed

Wizbit via @Wisdom Commons "Live so that when your children think of fairness and
integrity, they think of you." - H. Jackson Brown Jr.

See how the US ranks, and effect of campaign contributions, in Global Integrity Report

The 10 Worst Jobs In The United States via @huffingtonpost

Let's have the best solution worked out. Don't argue the matter; the difficulties will argue among themselves. (Winston Churchill)

Revenue integrity tops the list of healthcare eecutive concerns @HealthcareFinanceNews

All Google waants is to be loved - Maybe the best strategy boils down to love!

Congratulations to General Mills, ranked #1 by US Reputation Institute via @MediaPost

Don't confuse imitation with genius - Bio as Bible: Managers Imitate Steve Jobs via @WSJ and see my comment

Charlotte Beers on the importance of self-assessment: The Best Scorecard Is The One That You Keep Yourself

Excellent advice: "6 Habits of True Strategic Thinkers" via @ Inc.
If you missed it, below is a copy of my last blog: A Word About The Wise. Since some may not have seen March's article, Is It Time To Move On?, 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.
A Word About The Wise
by Al Watts and Lola Fredrickson

Who's the wisest person you know?  Why does that person come to mind, and what are some characteristics of other wise people you know?


Competency, skills and expertise are desirable, but cannot take the place of wisdom.  There are competent, highly skilled and even expert sailors, for example, but not all of them are wise.  A saying among Lake Superior sailors comes to mind: "The Superior sailor uses superior judgment to avoid situations that require superior skills."  For examples closer to home, think of organizations getting bad press lately that have no doubt been run by smart people;  if they had exercised more wisdom, they likely would have saved a bundle on legal fees.


As we think of truly wise professionals that we know, here's what comes to mind:

  • It's not about them; they are relatively ego-less.  Whatever the profession, it's not about proving knowledge, displaying expertise or being right; there is a genuine focus on whomever they are helping and on arriving at the best solutions.
  • They do more asking than telling, and ask great questions.  They are great listeners.  They ask questions that cause us to think, reflect on our goals, diagnose a situation properly and often arrive at the best solutions ourselves. 
  • They've "been there and done that," usually multiple times under many different conditions and circumstances.  An article not long ago described the false confidence that golfers can acquire after a successful afternoon on the driving range or consecutive great rounds at their favorite course.  Golf pros, on the other hand, develop a kind of wisdom that comes from hitting many more shots on many different courses, in all weather conditions and circumstances.  Wisdom does not come from one year of the same experience ten years in a row.
  • They display exceptional discernment and judgment.  Discernment precedes good judgment; it is the capacity for keen observation, sensing subtleties, distinguishing true from false, questioning assumptions and evaluating alternatives.
  • They see the bigger picture.  Amateur chess players typically react to threats or opportunities on a section or two of the game board at a time, and think one or two moves ahead.  The wise, like great chess players, can take in a whole picture and its implications all at once.  Wise professionals and leaders consider the 2nd, 3rd, 4th-order and beyond likely consequences of decisions and actions.  They consider an immediate task or object as well as its context.
  • They see the "smaller picture" too.  They see not only the bigger picture; they focus on details when appropriate, and distinguish important from unimportant details.   
  • They don't always "go by the book."  Perhaps because of the above, they are as or more attuned to the value of exceptions than they are to rules.  To paraphrase the jazz great Miles Davis, they "don't play what's there; they play what's not there."  Wisdom comes into play when there isn't a rule book, manual or "standard operating procedures" to go by.
  • They are still learners.  Have you noticed how the smartest (at least wisest) people don't act that way?  There's a kind of humbleness that comes from a mindset of suspecting there is always another answer or way, and perhaps a better one.  They have curious, questioning minds - a large part of why they are usually the wisest in a group.

What's the big deal with wisdom, and why be concerned about it?  For one thing, many of our wise human resources are heading out the door Wisdom by Kilgub, Flickrfrom attrition or retirement.  "Knowledge management" was a hot topic a while back, and now "talent management" carries the day.  What about "wisdom management?"  What are we doing to acquire, cultivate and retain wisdom in our organizations?


Whether in-house or contracted, wise resources contribute value that is distinct from merely competent or even expert talent.  Their depth of experience and personal characteristics bring a different dimension to problem solving.  Instead of merely helping solve problems, they help us discern which problems are worth solving or how to avoid them in the first place.  Competent, skilled or expert resources can answer our questions; wisdom helps us make sure that we are asking the right questions.


When facing a challenge in your organization, make sure there's wisdom on your team.  Sometimes an outside view helps - fresh eyes that have seen a lot and bring new perspectives, making sure that we're asking the right questions and solving the right problems.  We need to give more thought to the role of wisdom in our work and organizations - when we need it, how to get and grow it, how to leverage it and how to retain it.


In what ways are you wise?  What can you do to cultivate your own wisdom?


How can you cultivate, retain and leverage wisdom in your organization?



"The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions."

Oliver Wendell Holmes 


"Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you'd have preferred to talk."

Doug Larson 


Is It Time To Part Company
(March 7 Newsletter; click link at end to continue)

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 and Love Work, Elyce Feliz, flickrlooking 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)
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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