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When 1+1 = 3

Comin Out

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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."

A Man's Guide to Women at Work - 10 things to know:

Be sure to exercise evidence-based decision making instead of decision-based evidence making!

Excellent quick summary of effective coaching practices from

How to stop bullying in the workplace - "Intimidation Elimination"

The value of leading from strength an "asset based thinking:"

"Thankfully, perseverance is a great substitute for talent." (Steve Martin)

Artificial intelligence - will computers get smart enough to turn on us?

"Pulse surveys" the latest trend for gauging worker satisfaction and engagement

The vocal traits of charismatic leaders

How automaton and technology are making us dummer

Knowing when to take criticism to heart - important for all, not just startups / entrepreneurs

"Happy feet" and other ways to lift our moods:

How will you make your work a work of art?
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:

I'm grateful to Ann Wasik, December's guest columnist, for her insights about professionalism, committing to excellence, synergy and what happens when they come together. Ann is an accomplished business communication / public relations professional whom I had the good fortune to meet in the course of our work; you can reach her via or LinkedIn. - Al


If you missed it, the start of November's article, "Coming Out," follows. Click on Read more at the end to continue, and check out inTEgro's newsletter archive to access all past articles. 

When 1+1 = 3
Ann Wasik

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.

T.S. Eliot


I've heard it said that the best personal relationships happen not when 1+1=2 but when 1+1=3. When the combination of two individuals transcends the basic and becomes better than either imagined. I believe the same is true in a professional relationship between a business and its employees.


Just as in a relationship, using a checklist of requirements for suitable candidates doesn't guarantee success. Likewise, a job description that looks good on paper may result in the wrong culture fit for an employee. Companies, industries and new techniques can be learned, skills can be honed, but it is the personality, drive and enthusiasm of both a candidate and an employer that can move the relationship from ordinary to extraordinary.  


After all, doing your job does not mean just doing your job.

Stephen Covey writes that "synergy is what happens when one plus one equals ten or a hundred or even a thousand! It's the profound result when two or more respectful human beings determine to go beyond their preconceived ideas to meet a great challenge."


Getting through a To Do List may meet the expectations of a job but it doesn't bring the most value to either a company or its shareholders. It is when a person is pushed or allowed to go beyond what is expected that the magic happens.  


The rewritten paragraph that moves a speech from effective to quotable.  


The collaboration that moves a project from accomplishing goals to achieving unexpected outcomes.


The voice of dissent that moves a discussion from logical, linear thinking to creative, lateral thinking.  


I have always been a person who wonders if there might be a better way to do something that hasn't been considered or discovered yet. When I was young, asking "why" sometimes got me into trouble with teachers or my parents. In certain circumstances, you just have to do things the established way. But, sometimes, not asking "why" can be detrimental, too. Not taking the risk or allowing risk limits the possibilities and prevents the magic.  


I have had some powerful moments in my career when magic happened. Each of these projects had a different scope and different outcomes. But they had one thing in common - a leader and company that encouraged thinking beyond the expected results.  


Just as often, however, I found situations when a new way of thinking wasn't expected or supported. When doing it like it has always been done is enough. I often wonder why this happens. Is it a fear of taking a risk? Is it a feeling of having too much work or too little time to think beyond the basic? Or, is it the standard of mediocrity reinforced by a society that rewards individuals simply for making an effort rather than achieving greatness.


I don't know the answer. But I do know that in my professional life I want 1+1 to equal 3. I want to thrive in an environment that encourages me to think beyond what is being asked of me. I want an employer who looks for someone who can offer more than the ability to place a checkmark next to a task on an ever-increasing To Do list. And, I want to have the courage and confidence to always expect more of myself.  


When 1+1=3, both employers and employees win.

  • Does it ever feel like you're just going through the motions or that your organization settles for that? Perhaps it's time for a change.
  • Is yours an environment where "Whys" and challenges to the status quo are encouraged? How can you help make it more so?
  • What will you do that contributes to more "1 + 1 = 3" experiences?

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 

Read more


Win A Free Book! NI book cover png 052311  

Enter the "WHO SAID THIS?" contest on our blog to win a free  autographed copy.

"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