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Out With The Old, In With The New
What Is Your Values Proposition?
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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:

Gee, soome of these motivation ideas work for "big kids" in organizations too! -

Lance Armstrong is using Oprah's show tomorrow to announce his new movie: "Liestrong."

"How To Fail In Business," and in search of the least dysfunctional among dysfunctional organizations -

What do COs do, and are they worth it? -

What monasticism, monks and meditation can offer, even without faith -

A tonic for would-be writers, perfectionists and daydreamers: "Make mistakes as fast as you can!" -  
Are you a "sunrise person?" 'Looks like a great read / study in resilience; we could learn a lot from Ping Fu -

DC's Catholic University blends faith with business education - 'Like the idea of business serving society

"We do not see things as they are, but as we are." (Anais Nin) Hundreds more authenticity quotes at

"You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough." (Mae West)

Agree or disagree: "The absence of an afterlife lends a greater, not a lesser, moral importance to our actions here."

Dilbert on engagement (cartoon) -

Good news: state integrity is tracked; bad news is Minnesota grade = D+; good news for Minnesota: 'still in top half -

Why You Won't Be the Person You Expect to Be -

Good examples of how social capitalism can resolve social issues while repairing capitalism's image -

In case you missed it in April The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs -
  'Wonder if fiscal cliff negotiations included experimenting, reflecting, listening and integrating? -

New Year projections for 2013 - But remember, "It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future!"-Yogi Berra

Maybe Lily Tomlin was right: "We developed language because of our deep inner need to complain."

We all have this in common with Ai Wei Wei: "Waking up each day, to be true or to lie." -

'Looks like universities need to devote more resources to what matters most: teaching and learning.

"Fear not that thy life shall come to an end, but rather fear that it shall never have a beginning." (Cardinal Newman)

"Young, Gifted and Slack" - more thoughts on resolving youth unemployment and the job skills gap -

iThe science of persuasion,
ncluding use of social norms, consensus and reciprocity -

During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. (George Orwell) More great quotes at

How leaders kill meaning at work and what to do about it -

'Great story and powerful lesson; what will you do to strengthen your teamwork and leadership capabilities in 2013?

The Big Four auditing firms should be models for transparency and accountability; instead -

The great jobs and education mismatch -
Let's hear it for community colleges!

Brains like challenges; "sometimes the best route to fulfillment is the path of most resistance."

If you missed it, below is a copy of my last blog: Out With The Old, In With The New. The introduction to December's article, What Is Your Vaues Proposition, 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.
Out With The Old, In With The New

A new year lends itself naturally to reflection and resolutions. My reflections and resolutions revolved mainly around what to let go of and what to make room for - what's "out" and what's "in."  Of course organizations and their leaders need to make comparable decisions on a regular basis, often coinciding with yearly strategic planning and budgeting.  Fundamentally, such decisions answer questions like these:

  • What practices, processes and traditions still serve us well, and which do not?
  • If there is a need to "lighten our load," what criteria should we use for what to keep and what to jettison?
  • What are our goals; what will we need to accomplish those goals? What will likely no longer be needed or may just drag us down?
  • How should we organize to achieve our goals? (Personally, this could be as simple as reorganizing our office and files; organizations need to look at things like organizational structure, roles, systems and processes.)
  • Whom should we associate with? Who shares our goals and values, and whom should we consider partnering with? Whom should we part with?

It dawned on me that some of the same framework that's helpful making these decisions at a personal level is also relevant for organizations and their leaders:


First, reconnect with our foundation - at a personal level, that includes any mission, goals, values or principles. As Roy Disney said: "It's easier to make decisions when we know what our values are." It is valuable for organizations to do the same, especially when facing the likely need for significant change. "Form follows function," so it's a good idea to be clear about our function or purpose at the outset as a basis for decisions that follow. For example, health care organizations of all stripes will continue experiencing significant turmoil in coming years as they merge, reorganize, seek greater efficiencies and otherwise adjust to their radically changing landscape. Sustainable change and engagement of caregivers that populate those organizations, however, will depend significantly on not losing site of their original mission and core values; as Steve Covey reminded us: "The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Change management initiatives commonly focus mainly on what to change; sustainable change management focuses at least equally on what should not change - chiefly our core purpose and values.


Second, do not confuse core purpose with ways that we traditionally accomplished that purpose. Most of the physicians whom I've worked with are deeply committed to providing the best care for their patients. However some are very resistant to modifying their own personal care-giving style, or to fully adopting electronic medical records. Yet common protocols and more accessible patient records across their whole care-giving institution would likely result in higher-quality care overall. The Polaroid camera folks couldn't imagine "instant photography" any differently than via their initial proprietary technology; otherwise, they might still be achieving that mission by powering our smartphone cameras today. We all need to open our eyes and take our blinders off so we can imagine new and better ways to accomplish our aims; even if we don't, our competitors will.


Third, reflect on whom we want to undertake our journey with. In my own new year sorting-out process, I decided that life is too short to waste on people who don't follow through, don't return emails or calls and in general contribute to negative energy; it's better to move on and focus on brighter prospects. Jim Collins (Built To Last and From Good to Great) was right when he said that "first we need to get the right people on the bus." (I'm a sailor, though, so my version is "get the right people in the boat!") Whether bus or boat, it's good to occasionally take stock of where we're headed, what will be required to make the journey, and if everyone is still up for it.


In addition to whom we make a journey with, we need to consider what resources will be required. I have to admit, this is a challenge for me. My bookshelves and files are bulging with books, articles, client files and materials that I think I might want "some day." My resources are limited though, as are organizations' resources; we have to decide what to keep, what to discard and where to reinvest.  Here are a few questions that help:


What is still relevant? There are a few books lining my shelves that are as relevant today as when first published years ago; I'll keep those. Many materials useful for clients in the past, as much work as went into them, simply won't be useful again; the world has moved on. Organizations too can be burdened by traditions and practices that have lost their relevancy.


Is there another or better way? Altering our practices or introducing technology can lighten our loads. At a personal level we can scan older important documents or photos and store them electronically; likewise, we can replace many hardcover books with their electronic versions stored on our e-readers. Technology investments or reworked processes can also replace more costly work methods, and unfortunately some workers.


What is hardest to replace? It might be more efficient to discard some objects in our home or office, but for whatever reason they are part of what makes our home, home. Care should likewise be taken when considering who may no longer be needed in organizations. Are they part of what makes a community that community? Do they possess legacy skills, wisdom or contacts?


In case of fire . . . Of course we hope that it won't come to pass, but if a fire broke out in our home or office, what's at the top of our list to take? If we had to start out again in business tomorrow, what and whom would we need most?


If you've participated in any "Lost on the Moon," "Lost at Sea" or related survival simulations, you probably remember that group consensus rankings usually score higher than individual rankings. 'What's in and what's out" decisions at the organizational level aren't democratic, but benefit from participation; others see things differently or see different things than we do, and that usually yields better decisions. As long as rules about how decisions will be made are clear up front and opinions are respected, participation buys more ownership of outcomes.


In my book Navigating Integrity . . ., I make a distinction between "alignment" the noun and "aligning" the verb. Alignment the noun suggests a kind of permanence, or fixedness; there are some things like core purpose or principles that rarely if ever change, with which to align most everything else. Aligning the verb suggests movement and adaptation. The world is diverse and ever-changing; we can get as lost by not sufficiently adapting or flexing as we can by losing touch with our foundation. We will benefit by engaging in variations of this "out with the old, in with the new" process on a continual basis, and not just at the beginning of a new year.


What's on your "out with the old" list? What habits, practices, materials or relationships no longer serve you well?


What's on your "in with the new" list? What new disciplines, practices, resources or relationships will you adopt to move forward?


How might you and others in your circle engage in the practice of making sound decisions about "what's out" and "what's in" in a systematic way?


"A modern view of the processes of growth, decay and renewal must give due emphasis to both continuity and change in human institutions."

                                                          John W. Gardner


"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock."

                                                          Thomas Jefferson



What Is Your Values Proposition?

Yes, I really do mean values proposition, not value proposition. We're accustomed to thinking of an organization's or business value proposition - the degree that it meets the needs, wants and requirements of target markets and customers. We pay less attention to how the values of an organization, its leaders and members add to the bottom line.
  • Authentic, clearly articulated organizational values can contribute value in multiple ways:
  • As Alexander Hamilton put it: "If we don't know what we stand for, we'll fall for anything." Solid values serve to steer us away from actions that lead to trouble.
  • Clearly articulated values can serve as beacons for employees that we want to attract, and discourage others from applying or staying.
  • Recent studies reveal that understanding an organization's values and recognition that reinforces those values contribute significantly to employee engagement.
  • Values aid decision-making and

(Read more) 

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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