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Labor Day Reflections
How's Your Core Strength?
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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:

Microsoft - excellent case study on the power of culture and difficulty balancing profitability and growth

"We do not err because truth is difficult to see. It is visible at a glance. We err because this is more comfortable." Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Post-college competency exams are coming. Despite rising GPAs, 1/4 of employers believe grads unprepared

Labor Day inspirational quotes for the long weekend -

14% of respondents trust governmemnt leaders to make the right ethical and moral decisions according to Edelman

19% of 26,000 respondents trust business leaders to make the right moral and ethical decisions

"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." - Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard

Authenticity pays dividends, including for college entry essays -

"Real happiness is cheap enough, yet how dearly we pay for its counterfeit." - Hosea Ballou


"Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds." - Albert Einstein


Heads-up higher education! Which of you will be the first to follow in A&P's, Sperry's or J.C. Penney's footsteps?  


"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark places where it leads." Erica Jong  


What Burning Man Can Teach Us About Reinvention   


"Fence sitting" isn't necessarily bad; there's a better view up there, and you're not stuck in one field or another.


Pay attention to the meetings where your energy rises; that's where your future lies.


Congrats to J.P. Morgan - on its distinction of being the most sued bank!      


"No amount of human having or human doing can make up for a deficit in human being." John Adams  


Whether J.P. Morgan or others, why does the question have to be "Is this a crime?" Maybe it's just wrong.

Yes we can train for trust, and it pays dividends.

You can't do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth. - H.L. Mencken

Is it Time for Mutiny? - On the upside of mutinies, when it might be time, and how to pull it off:

"A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Money or Honesty - Which Do Investors Want More?

Random statistic: CFA Investor Survey reveals that 50% of investors trust their money managers to do the right thing.

In Praise of Laziness - on the wisdom of doing less and thinking more

How do these hiring practices square with J.P. Morgan values, especially "emphasis on trust" and "highest standards"?

Fascinating research about the impact of identity on moral decision-making

"Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great." - Ralph W. Emerson

A step in the right direction increasing "upstream transparency" for conscious consumers

You Can't Build A Winning Strategy If You Don't Who You Are

Angela Ahrendt, Burberry's CEO, on human energy's transformative power and how to tap it.

In baseball like business, all lose when more attention is paid to just the score than to the game.

Change or Die By Alan Deutschman -'Best article in change I've seen in a long time

Congress splits for a well-deserved (NOT) vacation. What if Congress were held to the same standards as we are?

First impressions are important, but 2nd and 3rd impressions are what count.

Target - a good example of integrating "inside-out" with "outside-in" strategy

Integrity = #1 predictor of top-level executive performance -

25% of Wall Streeters would cheat if they couldn't get caught, and 28% don't put clients' interests 1st -

Research reveals 3 rules for success: The Three Rules - How Exceptional Companies Think

f you missed it, here's a copy of my last blog: "Labor Day Reflections." The introduction to July's article "How's Your Core Strength?" follows; you can access that 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.
Labor Day Reflections


What does Labor Day mean to you? For many, it mainly marks the end of summer vacations, an extra long weekend, time for family cook-outs, great sales and the start of football season. I propose that this Labor Day we take some time to reflect on its origins and its meaning today.


Labor Day was declared an official U.S. national holiday in 1894, largely as a gesture in remembrance of workers killed by the U.S. military and marshals during the Pullman strike. Hundreds of workers were killed in this country in the late 1800s and early 1900s over the right to unionize and bargain for better wages and working conditions. It is fitting that on Labor Day that we acknowledge the positive contributions that organized labor has made to working and living standards.


The work world is radically different than sixty years ago when a third of the American workforce was unionized (today about 7% is;) it is radically different than even ten years ago and continues to evolve rapidly. Here are a few of my observations about the world of work and items that might be worthy of reflection this Labor Day:

  • This is old news: traditional worker "contracts," essentially assuring job security and advancement in exchange for loyalty, are long gone; almost all of us are basically "employed at will."  Employers can pretty much release workers for whatever reason they see fit or for no reason. Most workers are fundamentally "free agents;" especially as our economic recovery continues, more workers who for whatever reason don't feel particularly positive about their situation will feel free to sign on with others. Workers need to keep their skills and capacity to move on fresh; employers need to make sure there are sufficiently attractive reasons for especially their most valuable human resources to stay.
  • Technology continues to revolutionize the workplace and worker roles. Significantly greater portions of work will require at least some technological (computer) savvy, and most growing job sectors will require sophisticated technological capacities. Education, government, employers and workers themselves need to step up efforts for closing large gaps between skills that are required and skills that the workforce possesses.
  • Technology will significantly impact our work world in other ways as well, perhaps principally in privacy arenas. E-mail, internet, phone, video and location monitoring  capabilities have introduced whole new ethical / legal quagmires.
  • Our great recession only temporarily slowed the anticipated "brain drain" and exodus of retirement-age knowledge workers. Unless employers get smarter about it, many legacy skills that took decades to acquire will soon walk out the door when there is no game plan to replace them.
  • Our population and workforce pool are increasingly diverse; workers and employers alike need to improve capacities for cross-cultural communication, relationship building and teamwork. States and organizations that do best attracting, training and leveraging a diverse workforce will be in the best competitive position.
  • Fundamental worker needs and motivations have not changed much for centuries. Beyond decent pay and working conditions, workers seek meaning in their work, opportunities to use their talents and be recognized for them, fundamental respect and  fairness, growth and community. For over a dozen years, worker engagement surveys have consistently demonstrated that less than a third of the American workforce is engaged at their workplace, and about a quarter are actively disengaged; that does not bode well for how employers are fulfilling fundamental worker needs.
  • Skepticism and distrust that institutional leaders will do the right thing are growing. As the 2013 Edelman Trust Barometer summary stated, "the shock of 2008, the subsequent recession and misdeeds by establishment figures have forced a reset in expectations of institutions and their leaders." Their most recent survey showed that 19% of 26,000 respondents across 26 countries trust business leaders to make the right moral and ethical decisions; 14% trust government leaders to do the same. Other studies have demonstrated strong correlations between integrity, performance, abilities to attract and retain talent, customer loyalty and sustainability.  Institutions and their leaders have work to do earning workers' and customers' trust.
  • The widening gap between executive and worker pay levels is not contributing to closing integrity and trust gaps. Until the day he died in 2005, the esteemed management theorist Peter Drucker maintained that anything beyond an executive: worker pay ratio of 25:1 was bad for business. According to a 2012 Bloomberg Businessweek study, the average CEO pay for the top 100 companies in their survey was 495 times the average pay of non-supervisory workers in their industry. According to an Economic Policy Institute 2012 study, average CEO pay increased 127 times faster than worker pay over the last thirty years.
  • Working conditions and wages for a substantial portion of workers globally are still abysmal, particularly in the mining, maritime and manufacturing industries. To re-purpose a sentiment from organized labor's beginnings, "worker solidarity" implies that whatever our role - union or not, executive or non - we have a responsibility at some level to improve working conditions globally. More of us as decision-makers in organizations and consumers need to be better at "upstream" and "downstream" thinking about ways that our commercial and consumer behaviors impact workers across global supply and distribution chains.

We all have work to do; let's get at it! Oh, and Happy Labor Day!





"All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence."

Martin Luther King, Jr.


"Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work that is worth doing."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

"All wealth is the product of labor."

John Locke

How's Your Core Strength?

Physical therapy following shoulder surgery and back issues gave me a new appreciation for "core strength." Physiologically, core strength is primarily a function of our abdominal and lower back muscles, pelvis  and diaphragm working together to provide support, balance and power when we need it. Core strength isn't as readily visible as the muscles on "muscle beach;" we notice it more in its absence. Core strength is a large part of power generated in the martial arts; it strengthens our backbone, contributes to a healthy upright posture, and is necessary for dynamic sports. Yoga and isometric exercises are particularly beneficial for developing core strength.
There is a core strength possessed by some leaders and organizations that is comparable on many levels. It is the foundation for their reserve strength and power, contributes to balance, helps them maintain an "upright posture" and conditions them for success in dynamic environments. Like physiological core strength, it requires exercise and conditioning, and we don't readily notice it other than in its absence. What is this kind of core strength, and how can we get it?
"Core" means at or from the center; like physiological core strength, leadership and organizational core strength also come from their center. Have you noticed how much more confident and

Win A Free Book! Navigating Integrity front cover

Enter the "WHO SAID THIS?" contest on our blog to win a free  autographed copy of "In this new book, Al Watts does a masterful job articulating how to live with integrity in your 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