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Coming Out

The Rigt Crew In The Right Boat

Twitter Highlights

Recommended Reading

"Great Quotes"

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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:

Before critical speech, try critical thinking.

Invest in ethical cultures sooner or pay big later - $4.3 B fined 6 banks for foreign exchange rate-rigging

No end in sight to rotten culture in the banking biz.

Can Money Buy Happiness? - It's complicated; "hedonic adaptation" plays a role.

Accountability starts at the top; 6 tips from Harvey Mackay for being a more accountable leader:

Leadership is a search for truth.

Twitter struggles to define vision, and its CEO struggles with consistency.

Four ways to innovate through analogies

Women's transformative leadership in Africa @MCFfoundation

"You hit a bad shot, you have to get over it right there and then so you can get focused on the next one." - Tiger Woods @DennyCoates

Is Your Boss Making You Sick?

We would all do well to know the severity of this issue - Water: Thirst for life -

The Columbus Effect in Business. Useful take on the dangers of "first to market"

'Want to improve productivity? Engage in some "positive affective coloration!"

An excellent piece about stewardship and leadership from
Visit inTEgro's Recommended Readings for reviews and Amazon links to books for "transforming business as usual into business at its best."
Here are a few from the archives; if you have not read these, click on the covers for previews or links to order:

Quick Links
Clheck out inTEgro's "Great Quotes" for hundreds of quotations you can use in articles, presentations or workshops. Here are a few in keeping with this month's "Coming out:"

"Have the courage to say no.

Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. Theses are the magic keys to living your life with integrity."

W. Clement Stone


"Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don't live it, it won't come out your horn."

Charlie Parker

"When one man or woman decides to risk addressing the world with truth, the world may stop what it is doing and hear."

Robert Fulghum

"There is but one cause of failure and that is our lack of faith in our true selves."

William James


"The truth may make you free, but there's an

even chance it will first scare the daylights out of you."

Gregg LeVoy

Welcome to November's Coming Out. Please visit my blog to leave comments, and visit "Newsletters" for inTEgro's article archive.
Coming Out

Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, made news recently by publicly acknowledging his sexual preference; hats off to Mr. Cook and others like him who exercise that kind of courage.  I've been thinking that there are other ways of "coming out" as well, and am hopeful that Mr. Cook's actions serve to encourage all of its forms. "Coming out of our shell," voicing unpopular opinions, tapping dormant potential or in other ways following a path less traveled, especially when risky, are all forms of coming out; they also constitute much of what we mean by "authenticity." If we are unable to do these things we will fall short of living up to our promise and potential; we will be robbing ourselves, our organizations, families and communities of what only we can offer.


Common to any form of coming out, of course, is fear - fear of not being accepted or loved, fear of rejection, fear of failure or fear of physically harmful consequences. Sadly, fears of physically harmful consequences can be well-founded. Coming out as followers of a particular faith has been tantamount to a death sentence in parts of the world. Coming out for equal rights carried severe consequences in this country not long ago. Malala Yusafzai, a 13 year-old Pakistani girl and Nobel Peace Prize winner, was  nearly assassinated for "coming out" in favor of girls' education.  And let's not forget Matthew Shepard. Fortunately, none of us is likely to face those kinds of consequences for coming out by taking unpopular stands, speaking our truth or following our own path. Yes, there will likely be discomfort and potentially unfavorable consequences, but so too will there be for not coming out. I suspect those consequences are in line with Henry David Thoreau's sentiment that "most men (and women) live lives of quiet desperation and go to their graves with their song still in them."


Here are common situations that pose invitations for "coming out" in a broader sense; what would you do? 

  • In a meeting, your boss or organization's leader proposes a direction or action that you have serious reservations about. She seeks consensus or agreement, and after everyone else in the meeting voices approval, she asks you what you think.
  • You are aware of accounting irregularities in your organization or unit that escaped your auditor's attention, but that later could derail the organization and result in legal action. There are no means to anonymously report what you know.
  • Someone on your team is likeable enough, perhaps even your friend, but consistently doesn't follow through with assignments that the team depends on. You are concerned about a defensive reaction if you bring it up, and about how it would impact your relationship.
  • You are with a group of friends or co-workers who are all united in their stand against an unpopular policy or decision, and whenever together complain loudly about it while disparaging its source. Privately, you actually think the decision or policy was a good idea and believe it should be supported.
  • For dozens of years your place of worship has been affiliated with a larger group that is a source of financial and other critical support. The larger group has taken a strong stand against acceptance or any leadership roles for members of the LGBT community, which runs contrary to your and your place of worship's strong convictions. The larger group has also made it clear that it will expel and withdraw support from any member church that does not abide by its policy. (My church by the way, Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Minneapolis.)
  • You've always been drawn to art and design, as a kid thinking that you'd like to be a famous architect. Your parents and common sense prevailed, however, so in college you studied business and became an accountant. Twenty years later, bored with work, you still wonder how architecture would have turned out.

In each case there is an easier and a harder choice. The easier choice, at least for the time being, is along the lines of "going with the flow" or not "rocking the boat." The harder choice sacrifices shorter-term gains, including security, for the sake of staying true to a larger purpose, our principles, who we aspire to be and the life that we envision.


Allan McDonald, Morton Thiokol's Solid Rocket Motor project director for NASA's 1986 Challenger space shuttle launch, came out by refusing to sign off on Challenger's launch, citing safety concerns. The launch proceeded nevertheless, and the shuttle exploded 73 seconds after lift-off, killing all seven crew members. Sharon Watkins and Colleen Rowley were named Time Magazine's "Persons of the Year" for speaking truth to power, attempting to warn Enron's CEO of accounting irregularities before it imploded and documenting the FBI's mishandling of 9-11 related information respectively. When they have our organization's and its constituents' best interests at heart, we need to honor and protect those who come out by challenging prevailing truths or popular opinions.


About what injustice, wrong or concern are you considering "coming out?" Don't wait too long; your conviction and courage could very well turn the tide.


What passion, forgotten dreams or hidden talents of yours need to "come out?" Do not "hide your light under a bushel basket" and rob your organization or community of your unique gifts.


What idea, proposal or perspective of yours, unpopular or far-fetched as it might initially seem, needs to come out? If it doesn't, you, your community and organization may never realize its potential.


What are you waiting for?



"No one can, for any considerable time, wear one face privately, and another to the multitude, without finally getting bewildered as to which is the true one."

Nathaniel Hawthorne


"If you call forth what is in you, it will save you. If you do not call forth what is in you, it will destroy you."

Gospel of Saint Thomas


"You got to be who you are when you are."

"Snoop Dog"


The Right Crew In The Right Boat

With only a few notable exceptions, I've been fortunate to sail with very compatible crews. All were interested in the same destination (or no destination in particular,) shared duties (pleasant and unpleasant,) enjoyed each other's company and gamely faced whatever interesting challenges came our way. The very few exceptions were a drag, especially on long or difficult hauls with no opportunities to let others off the boat. (Since "walking the plank" has long fell out of favor.)

Jim Collins (Good To Great) emphasized that an organization's or leader's first task should be "getting the right people on the bus." My take, of course, is to get the right people in the boat; in addition to being nautically inclined, I can stretch the analogy further.  Buses are customarily for shorter rides, and their routes more predictable; sailing can be days without sight of land, with constant course adjustments. Bus drivers drive; boat captains take their turns at the wheel, but bear added responsibility for everything associated with a successful voyage, seaworthiness of a boat, safety and crew morale. Buses occasionally encounter rain and snow storms, but none where buses and passengers disappear forever. I could go on; the point is to emphasize the critical importance of getting hiring and retention right in our organizations.


I was struck by a Silicon Valley CEO's remarks recently: that a new company's culture is determined by its first 10 or 12 hires. So not only is it important to get the right people in your "boat," but to be very



Read more. 


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"This book expresses a strong conviction that Al Watts and I share - that integrity is fundamental for leaders and organizations to live up to their promise and potential. His simple and powerful Integrity Model is illustrated with practical and memorable examples."
- Jim Mitchell, Executive Fellow, Leadership, Center for Ethical Business Cultures, and EVP (Retired,) American Express Company


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