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Back To School!
First Impressions
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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:

 Out of sight should not be out of mind - Swiss pharma's toxic past


"The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why." (Mark Twain)


"Plan B" if your dream job doesn't turn out to be what you hoped


Inside Nike's Struggle To Balance Cost and Worker Safety


What executives can learn from fighter pilots   


'Need a lift? Who would've guessed - read Dante's "Divine Comedy." Apparently, 'makes good Easter reading too!

Poor culture and values fit = primary reason top managers fail; how to assure a good fit

'Great, GM execs say they're not worried; they weren't in 1980 or 2006 either.

'Forgetful? Blame it on your hippocampus and dopamine D2 receptor gene!

 Congrats to 2014 Top 100 Trust Thought Leaders

"If you don't like change, you're going to like irrelevance even less." )General Shinseki)

A college doesn't teach holistically if it teaches the fundamental theory of calculus but not integrity.

A little late to start a "speak up for safety" program...GM to pay $1.3 bil for not speaking up about safety

Profits and CSR are not mutually exclusive.

Is the future of HR no HR? Is Human Resources a bottleneck, a necessity or something else?

 How a method for identifying sex workers and drug workers can help positive change efforts

Yes - claw back bonuses when executives are asleep at the switch (in this case GM's ignition switch.)

Big competitive advantage: when you "don't want to (expletive) your client." Wolf Hunters of Wall Street

Architectural integrity reflects organizational integrity - how Google & Facebook's offices reflect values

56% of shareholder proposals linked to environment and social causes

From "Flash Boys" review: "nostalgia for a Wall Street of trust and plain dealing, which is a total mirage

"Bad To Great" - on the importance of addressing bad behavior in organizations

"Change Leader Change Thyself" - Organizations don't change unless people do

Best line from 60 minutes tonight: "When a trader you can actually trust enters the market, it's a huge competitive advantge."

Trustwave (ironic name) and Target's data breach: quantity over quality and skewed incentives that trumped integrity.

Unionization of NCAA "student athletes" - a logical consequence of mission drift.

'Tired of false and misleading advertising? Check out
Truth In Advertising.Org

Heart, clear priorities, values and other leadership lessons from teh Marines by Clorox CEO

"There are times when you have to change your tune to keep harmony." - Vikrant Parsai

Congrats to the 6 Minnesota companies on Forbes' list of 100 most trustworthy companies!

Excellent post on the value of using our voice at work: Why Work Is Lonely

"We make progress by eliminating things." (Steven P. Jobs) What will you eliminate today to make progress?

How to master the art of saying "No" and not giving in to peer pressure:

 Etsy's Recipe for Purpose: Creating a Culture of Mindfulness

How transparency brought this retailer back from the brink of a technology crisis

How Big Business Can Take The High Road - The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist; 'looks like a good read

Top ten industrial / organizational psychology trends for 2014

How to grow without losing what makes you great - or, leading change with integrity
Excellent article 
If you missed it, below is a copy of my last blog: Back To School!. The introduction to February's article, First Impressions, 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.
Back To School!

After a few decades, Bowling Green State University recently readmitted me for completion of my master's degree in Organization Development; the degree will be official this August. (No excuses, but somehow I never got around to finishing my thesis long ago after two job changes, a divorce, re-marriage, kids and a few moves.)  


Returning to grad school after many years in the profession has been a rewarding experience, offering more learning opportunities than reflected in BGSU's course catalog; let me share a few:


Step into the unknown. Whatever the experience, if we haven't done it before or it's a little unnerving, give it a go. Visiting a foreign country, learning a new language, trying a new sport or merely altering our routines stretches our minds and capabilities. The mere act of stretching our minds and capabilities with one endeavor increases our ability to do so with others.


Stay fresh. It's easier, especially at a certain stage in one's career, to rely on what we've learned to that point and what's worked for us before. When asked for parting words of advice, one of our guest speakers at the last residency, a senior internal OD practitioner, said: "Don't count on what worked last time working next time;" how true. Even if we aren't changing, the world around us is. As retired U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki put it: "If you don't like change, you'll like irrelevance even less."


Age and experience cut both ways. How could everyone attending BGSU now be so much younger than when I first attended? Of course they are not; after a while I guess our minds just play tricks on us. I'd like to think that after a few years in this business I can offer lessons learned and some wisdom. At the same time, if I am not open to the different perspectives and skill sets that another generation and those in different career stages offer, I'll miss the boat. I am regularly impressed by class project team mates who see things with new eyes, introduce fresh thinking or methods and suggest better approaches than I would think of on my own.


Humility helps. Age and experience can be a disadvantage if accompanied by the assumption that we should know it all by now, or that others will think that we should. Giving ourselves permission to say "I don't know," "I forgot," "That's new for me; thank you," or "I don't understand" is genuine and opens the door to learning; it will contribute rather than distract from our credibility.


Make friends with technology. I thought I was getting pretty good using technology for work; restarting at BGSU was an awakening. BGSU's Master's in Organization Development is a blended program, with two full weekend residencies per class and the balance online. That required new software, applications and climbing a steep learning curve. I'm grateful that it all seems second nature for class teammates and for their patience as I get up to speed. I am not only completing my Master's in OD, but receiving a secondary education in the technology that increasingly affects all of our work.


Sometimes it's not just what we sign up to learn, but what we need to learn to get there that pays dividends. Just as becoming a proficient sailor required learning about weather, navigation and mechanical repairs, those secondary learning opportunities yield additional benefits.


Be open and be curious. It's true that "when the student is ready the teacher will appear." Much of that readiness involves the ability to set aside, at least for a time, what we thought to be true before. Any new learning is often accompanied by some unlearning, or at least understanding that an answer can be "both / and" instead of "either / or." I've been aware a few times upon returning to BGSU that what I thought to be true, or the way I was accustomed to thinking about things, got in the way of understanding new concepts or learning new methods.


It's an adventure! I always liked the definition that I heard for "adventure: An experience where outcomes are uncertain but the possibility of great rewards exists." Beyond the outcome of receiving my graduate degree, I am already seeing new possibilities and new opportunities that I couldn't have foreseen unless willing to venture some into the unknown. Any worthwhile adventure involves some element of risk and unknowns; those are downpayments. And there are more investments required: money, time, opportunity costs and inconvenience to name a few. That brings to mind another truism: "An inconvenience is an adventure wrongly understood; an adventure is an inconvenience rightly understood." "No pain, no gain" as they say.


I hope that these observations are useful for you on your own learning journey, whether or not that involves formal education. What form our learning journey takes is likely not as important as our mindset on the journey.


Let me close with two book recommendations, both of which you can  find on the inTEgro's recommended reading site: "Life Reimagined" by Richard Leider, and "Stepping Stones To Success" by Steve Cady. Both of them are inspirational and practical guides for expanding our horizons and charting new courses, whatever forms they take.






The only person who is educated is the one who has learned how to learn and change.

Carl Rogers


An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you know and what you don't.

Anatole France


(Picture credits: Bowling Green State University, flickr - Anne Davis, Giulia Forsyth and waldec)




First Impressions

How do first impressions influence you? For the last few weeks I've been even more sensitive than usual to the their impact, probably because of the wide variation in quality that I experienced. Here are a few recent examples:


We were fortunate to time a stay at our Florida retreat during Minnesota's last cruel winter onslaught. This trip we wanted to spruce up the yard, so knowing little about landscaping in tropical climates we started with a visit to the most established operation in town. When we finally found an employee, she seemed peeved that we interrupted her plant-watering project. She informed us that only the owner could answer our questions, took our phone number and told us that the owner would call us. Since we were already there, we wandered the yard, but got confused by the disorganization and poor labeling of stock. We drove a half-mile to their competitor, Gulf View Landscaping, and were completely drawn in by a very knowledgeable, friendly and service-oriented employee. We returned the next day with


Win A Free Book! NI book cover png 052311  

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