Ask Bracher (Questions & Responses)

Economic (121-140)

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Question: (E-121)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on June 16, 2004

"New York attorney general targets drug firm"

The Attorney General of New York has charged GlaxoSmithKline, plc, with fraud, for suppressing negative factual information on their blockbuster drug Paxil, which is prescribed for treating children with depression.  It seems there have been unpublished clinical studies which show that the drug is little better than a placebo in treating depression and in some cases may have even led to more suicidal thinking by those same youth using the drug. In certain circles of medicine it is believed that suicidal thinking leads to suicide. To allow this drug (obviously not completely safe) to add to the horrors of those young people already at risk is unconscionable. What type of thinking (collusion, greed and disregard for humanity) must exist in the higher levels of this or any company that would allow harm to come to children simply to make a buck? What does this say about integrity at GlaxoSmithKline?

Eliot Spitzer, the New York Attorney General, may be the first to call such behavior illegal, as a recent article in the Wall Street Journal suggests. However, common sense would certainly characterize such behavior as lacking in integrity. There is no legitimate excuse for placing lives (of any age, and especially the young) at risk when scientific information was available that would question the safety of the product. Your questions ask in no uncertain terms: when will the greedy and impatient animals of commerce behave responsibly? Is there no limit to greed? Is there no one (including children) who would be safe from those who would abuse them?

GlaxoSmithKline's accuser bases the charges on their alleged actions of suppression of negative information.  It is one thing to promote a clinical study with favorable results. It is quite another to report only the favorable aspects of a clinical study from which negative results have been deliberately omitted. If Mr. Spitzer is correct and those at this company are found guilty of suppressing information that could be or is life-threatening, then those involved at this company have some serious charges to resolve or face harsh penalties.

If the courts in New York determine that irresponsible leadership is behind this lack of forthrightness, translate as integrity, (in medical treatments intended to heal and not harm youth in our society), then confidence and trust in corporate values will once again have taken a beating. Legitimate business is intended to provide a needed product or service that will be helpful and not harmful.

We do not yet know, as outsiders, what has gone on at GlaxoSmithKline. What we do know is that there are no excuses for supplying drugs that the manufacturer knew might add to the misery of those who have turned to their product for help. Should this company be found guilty, we will have yet another opportunity to see the wisdom in these words: It should be common knowledge that free markets (including large drug companies) must regulate themselves (by being responsible to their customers) or governments will.

The worst outcome of this potentially-horrible situation would be the unnecessary, preventable death of a child. Long term damage also occurs to our free market system of prescription drug commerce as it sets itself up for more governmental intervention. We can watch this outcome, hoping that the behaviors described do not turn out to have been criminally-motivated.

Question: (E-122)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on June 9, 2004

"Healthy eating habits up to individual"

Have you seen the movie: "Supersize Me? How can fast-food marketers sleep at night? Where is the integrity of those who create and distribute enticing junk food commercials with their charming food "advertisements preying upon innocent children? These youngsters and their parents have been seduced into a zombie-like loyalty to this fast and unhealthy food. Many appear "dependent on their burger fix to the risk to their health? McDonalds Corporation spends billions attracting children to eat food that can be harmful to them. What do you think? Don't big food companies have responsibilities not to sell items that are bad for people?

My wife and I recently saw Mr. Morgan Spurlock's movie "Supersize Me.His thesis is that our society has drifted (or simply embraced enthusiastically) patterns of eating that all too frequently lead to obesity and unnecessary health risks. Being a guilty party in this race for convenience and speed, "Supersize Me challenged me to demonstrate greater responsibility in how I take care of my own health, which means how I maintain a legitimate partnership with my own physical being. Since I will be 59 very soon, the message is for me to get serious and take better care of the body that supports me. Eat right and exercise intelligently. You asked about integrity issues. Who is to blame here: Me, the corporation, other customers, television?

Let me start where I live, in me. Integrity can be uncomfortable, especially when one knows that he or she needs to make some personal adjustments to fulfill any one (or all) of the "Eight Attributes of an integrity-centered organization, or an integrity-centered human being. After viewing the movie, I was troubled by my own violation of # 5 of the "Eight Attributes: Partnership. I have not been honoring of my own obligations to my physical body. I am failing to honor the timely fulfillment of my obligations to take proper care of my body. I have not been eating healthy foods nearly often enough. Even though my skeleton, muscles and organs continue to function well - twenty-fours a day, I am not treating my body as a partner. To make matters even worse, if asked about eating an appropriate diet and regularly following an intelligent exercise program, my answers would simply be a resounding: NO. Shame on me. Whose fault is that? It is my fault.

The time has come for me to address a hard issue: maintaining a more intelligent and healthy diet. After all, why wouldn't a reasonably bright person choose vegetables and salads over pie and ice cream, especially when so much medical information confirms the harm that comes from too much fat in one's diet? For years, those close to me have encouraged me to eat healthier and avoid the foods and liquids that can cause harm to the body. Ten plus years ago I gave up drinking because my pancreas (and my surgeon) told me in no uncertain terms to cease alcohol consumption. I did what I was told, but kept a special place for desserts and candies, popcorn and couch-potato munchies for relaxing time in front of the television.

The movie "Supersize Me is powerful. Go see it. According to this summary in the New York Post, "Last February, Morgan Spurlock decided to become a gastronomical guinea pig. His mission: to eat three meals per day for 30 days at McDonald's and document the impact on his health. Scores of cheeseburgers, hundreds of fries and dozens of chocolate shakes later, the formerly strapping 6-foot-2 New Yorker - who started out at a healthy 185 pounds - had packed on 25 pounds. But his supersized shape was the least of his problems. Within a few days of beginning his drive-through diet, Spurlock, 33, was vomiting out the window of his car, and doctors who examined him were shocked at how rapidly Spurlock's entire body deteriorated."

Free enterprise allows folks to create and market what they want to sell. Burgers are one more example of freedom of choice. So, let's assume some personal responsibility for the choices we make and the choices our children make. We need not think of ourselves as victims. We live in a world abounding in constructive truths. Take the example of healthy eating. A national program called "5 A Day offers an excellent program for better and smarter partnering with one's own health, one's own body. We are responsible for what we eat.

From the 5 A Day website we learn: "Eating 5 or more servings of colorful fruits and vegetables a day is part of an important plan for healthier living. That's because deep hued fruits and vegetables provide the wide range of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals your body needs to maintain good health and energy levels, protect against the effects of aging and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease. Living where we live, in the heart of where fruits and vegetables are harvested, we only need purchase and enjoy the "5 a day offerings. Adults need to set the right example, immediately.

Integrity -centered living demands devoting serious attention to one's own health through proper diet and exercise. My own integrity must be enhanced by how I choose to manage my physical life. Advertisers will do what they choose and we can buy their products or elect to eat more healthily. As for me, I got the message and intend to be a better partner with myself. How about you?

Question: (E-123)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on June 30, 2004

"Cellular phone service can lead to confusion"

It seems that retail sellers have come to rely increasingly on the use of intentional customer deception as an integral part of marketing strategy. Take for instance the cellular phone business where the creation of numerous similar services at varying prices under different conditions are bundled together in complex ways then sold under multiyear contract. Can there be ANY cellular users that have not gotten `surprises' on their billings due to incomplete understanding of the complexities of their cellular service; and then found the customer service to be just too time consuming to be practical for recovering small costs. Everything they are doing is legal of course but smells a bit like the docks at Monterey Bay after the fishing boats arrive. Caveat emptor is always good advice, but do you think it is ethical for sellers to design and sell services with the specific intention of outsmarting their buyers?

Integrity is about doing what is the right. We live in a world that makes obvious that we cannot afford to treat one another shabbily. Mistakes are made. Apologies are appropriate. Relationships need to be nurtured to sustain them and healed when problems arise. The very same process applies to business practices. You have described shabby treatment by one industry. Even though laws may not have been broken - trust and confidence have been damaged.

Your description of the selling of certain cellular services should be an embarrassment to those who lead such enterprises. Of course what they are doing is deceptive, and it lacks integrity. Until and unless this industry regulates itself, the pressures will build to the point where society will have had enough. Selling techniques such as you described are frighteningly similar to the incessant phone calling that interrupted our early evenings and created a groundswell of negative reactions forcing the "Do Not Call Registry" listing that reshaped the telemarketing industry.

Citizens will, once again, reach the point of understandable frustration and demand actions by their elected representatives. Frustrated by the manipulative sales actions of the cellular industry could then encourage citizens to demand Congressional action. These elected representatives will listen to the voices of the people and determine that their own desire to stay in office will require actions. Committees will be formed and investigations will likely lead to stringent and perhaps even counter-productive legislation. Regardless, the people will have been forced to act. How sad for free markets and for the purchasing public. Those business operators who have "played fairly" will be slapped with the same controlling hand that was designed only for those who created the problem, in this instance, those who willfully eroded trust and confidence between buyer and seller. At some level, these game-players know they are using their technical smarts to take advantage of others. They know that have violated integrity, if not the law.

A smart competitor in this cellular services industry would see this as a positive opportunity. The integrity-centered operator would engage in "carpe diem" and seize this moment to promote a straight forward and honest approach. Customers would flock to those who would say (and then implement) a "here is what you get plan with no extra costs. " Hopefully, the integrity message will come through and confirm that yes, integrity matters and it pays.

Question: (E-124)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on July 21, 2004

"Williams, after losing, proves she's a champ"

What a nice lesson in graciousness, given by tennis star Ms. Serena Williams, in showing Ms. Maria Sharapova "the ropes" in Centre Court at Wimbledon, after Maria defeated Serena for the ladies singles' championship. There are expected behaviors toward the Royal Box at Wimbledon, as well as protocol for receiving and displaying the championship trophy. Serena was not required to help Maria, but she did. As a consequence, Maria came across more poised because of Serena's thoughtfulness. What do you think of this gesture?

Ms. Serena Williams demonstrated graciousness in how she offered reassurance and guidance to a first-time winner at Wimbledon. In addition, her behaviors communicated maturity regarding leadership and character. Serena may have built an even more legitimate foundation for her career through her gracious response in defeat than might have been achieved in yet another crushing victory. We can never be certain, but we can assess the positive and constructive value of her appropriate actions.

First, let's look at the setting of the London tennis classic staged at Wimbledon. For many, Wimbledon is not just the most important tennis tournament in the world. It is the only one. While the Australian, French and U.S. Opens have their fans, the Championships on the lush lawns of south-west London are as much a fashion show and a celebration of the British way of life as a sporting occasion. For those who are younger, the traditions of Wimbledon come from another age.

Nowhere else in the world are the players still required to wear predominately white clothing. Advertising and sponsorship are blasted at you from every corner of the competitive tennis world - except at Wimbledon. And of course only in London, SW19, do they still play lawn tennis on grass. So, yes, tradition is important. Tastefulness is expected. And, with Serena's behavior toward Maria, we now know that thoughtfulness and kindness are also appropriate. What a wonderful way for these women to behave - to serve as role models for current and future generations.

Second, Serena demonstrated leadership. Despite the fact that she could not rally the necessary athletic resources to the win the championship match, she handled herself maturely. She adhered to the Wimbledon culture, commitments, promises and rules. Even though losing the match was not her plan, she remained honest to her own sports code, not because of any external force, but rather because of her own internal drive to sustain organizational (personal and professional) values.

Finally, Serena exhibited character; the ability to carry out the resolution long after the initial burst of enthusiasm is gone. As a friend of mine says: "It is not what happens to you that matters nearly as much as how you respond to what happens to you." Character is the sum total of behaviors and is most completely demonstrated when individuals perform under pressure. Serena demonstrated consistency between her words - to play hard and fair - and her deed - to treat an opponent, win or lose, as a worthy competitor. Graciousness is almost always part of effective leadership character. Leaders with character drive organizational culture in all actions, including helping a first-time winner to enjoy the victory with greater ease, at Wimbledon. Serena communicated that integrity really matters.

Question: (E-125)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on August 18, 2004

"CSUMB dean's generosity is a life lesson"

I am a new student at California State University Monterey Bay and very enthused about it because I see that the faculty members' interest in their students starts even before the new school year has begun. Just today I confirmed with a Dean who offered to meet with me individually help me develop the right schedule for my classes. I was thrilled. How does this generous action by a dean speak to the integrity of leadership of this institution?

Learning at your new school, California State University Monterey Bay, has already begun for you and you have not yet enrolled in your first class. When the dean of an academic institution will make the time to offer personal help, there is an important message being broadcast; namely that people are important. When leaders of an organization make themselves accessible to those who most need them, which in this instance is a first-year student, then the values are clear: students really do matter and relationships between student and instructor are valued. Obviously, you will treasure this opportunity to be assisted by a dean as you formulate your goals, select your course of study and create your class schedule. Certainly, when you chose to write your question to the Integrity Matters column you recognized the graciousness of the dean's gesture and generosity of the offer. How fortunate for you to see and experience the constructive side of higher education. You have found a place to learn - about many things - and your knowledge will include how to treat people properly.

Graciousness, one of our Eight Attributes of an Integrity-Centered Organization, combines respect and discipline. In this situation you are the recipient of care and concern as you make your way into your new academic home, CSUMB.

A few months ago I invested time listening carefully to youngsters varying in ages from 8 to 18, from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey Country, as they defined our Eight Attributes of Integrity. On the subject of graciousness, Attribute # 8, they were very clear. And what they describe as the right way to exhibit graciousness sounds a great deal like what you are experiencing through your association with CSUMB, and a dean willing to provide personal assistance. Children from the Boys and Girls Clubs said that in order to be gracious one needed to be kind - not cruel or sarcastic; thoughtful, not judging. By being thoughtful, these young people felt they and others could better listen to and learn about others. Further, these members of the Boys and Girls Clubs reminded me and hopefully all of us of how important it is to be patient - not rude, allowing others to finish their thoughts. And then they added: be helpful - not harmful and to be sure to remember that we are all more alike than different.

How great that you have recognized integrity in your new school home at CSUMB and may your willingness to highlight the "graciousness" of a department head be an inspiration to all of us to lend a hand to those in need and do so in caring and supportive ways. Integrity Matters, all the time.

Question: (E-126)

"Coaching Integrity and Partnership"

I read that Mike Krzyzewski is staying at Duke University after turning down a $40 million dollar package from the Los Angeles Lakers to become their coach. What a wonderful lesson in family values and loyalty this represents, and a nice lesson in integrity, too--do you agree?

Yes, I agree. Hopefully, many individuals across this nation - especially those in North Carolina or those who have an affiliation with Duke University - will feel as you do, and will find a way to send to letter of appreciation to this world-class coach saying something along these lines: "Thank you, Coach Krzyzewski. If ever we needed a positive role model in sports, that time is now. Great job, Coach K. You embody the message that integrity matters - in what you say and what you do, every day. Your decision to stay at Duke University, support its programs and people, choosing personal values over cash, is an example our society will treasure, for a long time."

While too many sports pages are covered with negative stories about performance enhancing drug abuse scandals, violence on the ice, on the courts, on the field and in the seats filled with overly aggressive fans and parents - what a delight to know that there are thoughtful leaders with their eyes on the real prize - the impact one can have on other people, and not simply the accumulation of money! Coach Mike Krzyzewski understands what our Attribute # 5 Partnership means in the context of integrity. He honors obligations and prides himself on the timely fulfillment of obligations, moral and legal. Coach K knows what is important and he operates accordingly.

Mike Lopresti of Gannett New Service and writers from the Associated Press report that Mike Krzyzewski has spent 24 years building a legacy at Duke that no current men's college basketball coach can rival. Coach K has become synonymous with his school - a bond not even the glitz of Hollywood and the NBA's showcase Los Angeles' franchise, with all of its money, could break. "Duke has always taken up my whole heart," Krzyzewski said Monday after turning down an offer to become the Lakers' head coach. "Your heart has to be in whatever you lead," said Krzyzewski, who has won three national titles at Duke. "It became apparent that this decision was somewhat easier to make because you have to follow your heart and lead with it." "I don't want to say never, but I also don't want to lead anyone on. ... I want to coach for a long time," he said.

No other active coach comes to mind who has a clearer sense of college basketball - what it should mean, and what a team needs to do to get to the top and stay there. In San Antonio last spring, Krzyzewski talked of the look on the faces of each new wave of Dukies he brought to a Final Four. "It's one of the reasons I've always stayed in college basketball, because there's a genuineness," he said. "It's priceless, just like kids and grandkids."

Please pay attention parents, teachers, school administrators, public officials, celebrities and aspiring leaders - here is a role model with integrity who knows that people, traditions, commitments and loyalty count. He and his decision to stay at Duke University, to guide, teach and motivate young people, illustrates powerfully why integrity matters.

Question: (E-127)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on August 4, 2004

"Resignation tests the organization, its leadership"

I am a board member of a non profit [on the East Coast]. A manager resigned in a bit of a temper tantrum, gave no notice and the resignation was accepted. She later regretted her precipitous action and apologized and asked to be rehired. I have no formal training in management. What should we do? Is there literature and/or advice you can give me? We have a board meeting this week and I need help soon.

Leadership is and probably always will be an "art" that integrates insight, sensitivity, timing and perseverance - combining challenges to be the best we can be with the realities of our shortcomings. And, so it is with this issue: anger, frustration, precipitous actions and attempts to make a complex situation more manageable going forward in order to leverage the
best for your organization's clients/customers, employees and the organization itself. Your board position requires to that you assess the values and operating principles as they apply in this key employee situation.

As a policy-making board member, yours is a role of advice and consent regarding operations and management. You have described an all-too-common issue: managing the disappointments that occur when relationships fracture. When tempers flare, usually something happens that is not constructive. One can apply that insight on the micro level between individuals or on the geopolitical level and see nations go to war. Yours is a corporate (not-for-profit) issue and in all likelihood, the integrity of the organization's culture will be tested by the way in which your leader and your board handle the "path forward" with reference to the angry employee (who now wants to come back). Please respond in these five areas:

  1. If the individual is allowed to re-join the team - you could be considered a compassionate, forgiving and supportive organization or an organization that tolerates unprofessional behaviors by key people, and may even communicate a lack of professional standards that sanction similar
    behaviors by others, now and in the future.
  2. If there are no consequences for the destructive "tantrum-like" behaviors, your organization sets in motion a set of cultural permissions that will not lead to long-term health for any of your valuable stakeholders: clients, donors, employees, board members or community observers.
  3. You may want to spend some time with the executive who was treated to the angry resignation and then received the request for being rehired and learn what the circumstances were that lead to the precipitous actions. If there is an explanation that meets your board's common sense explanation, then the board has an easier job. What does the executive believe is the best action to be taken for all parties involved. The board then chooses to support or challenge the recommendation of the supervisor in charge and therein lies the real positive impact of the problem. This crisis is the opportunity for the board to encourage the fine tuning of the skill level of the leadership of the organization. Further, the employee base will now know, regardless of which direction you go, that there are serious consequences for immature behavior - from whatever quarter such actions emerge.
  4. Please review the following two sets of guidelines and bring them into your conversations regarding the best path forward for the board and the organization you help to lead.

    UNDERSTANDING AND POLARIZATION -- team application* When individuals: Understand the required skill sets to make their team productive, Are valued by and bring value to the organization, Are committed to the vision, mission and strategy, and Are signed-on to the organization's supported behavior and culture, then no issue can polarize the group or create destructive behaviors.
         *Developed by James F. Bracher, November 18, 1994

    "When selecting individuals to join an organization, or entrusting them with the responsibilities of leadership, one must value: Integrity above motivation, Motivation above capacity, Capacity above wisdom, Wisdom above experience, Experience above knowledge, and Knowledge above training. What must be known and considered is not a list of claimed positions or achievements, but the qualities and characteristics of the person."
         *source unknown

  5. Remember, first and always, that people make mistakes, they under-react and they over-react. If they make the error once, it is a mistake. If they repeat the same counter-productive action, it is a pattern. Be aware. If they act the same destructive way a third time, it is a habit and habits are extremely difficult to change.

Question: (E-128)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on July 28, 2004

"Education official's comments strike chord"

I was appalled at our state education secretary's remarks to a 6-year-old girl in Santa Barbara last week! Richard Riordan told the young child that her name meant "stupid dirty girl" when she told Education Secretary Riordan that her name meant "Egyptian goddess."

Although he has apologized, his comment was unacceptable. Is this the type of individual we want as the education secretary for California? What kind of message is our Governor sending by not asking Riordan to resign?

Children are special because they are young, innocent and capable of absorbing so very much that adults and the world have to teach them. They are precious because they are the stewards of the very culture we bestow upon them. They are the promise of all of our tomorrows because they and they alone, are the carriers of hope, healing, and wholeness in an often despairing, diseased and broken world. At the moment when any role model, (whether an adult, a parent, a teacher, a celebrity, a public official or a member of a state governor's staff), behaves inappropriately, in the instance you cite, cruelly, then actions must be taken.

Like you, I have seen the video tape of the Education Secretary Riordan's sarcastic response to this young child. She cried. He laughed. How utterly unacceptable was his behavior. Were this a different circumstance and the Secretary found himself addressing youth, such an insensitive response might have earned him a bloody nose. Such callousness, thoughtlessness and impropriety have no place in positions of leadership, and most certainly not in roles that are designed to nurture education and build bridges of understanding and trust. Secretary Riordan, for the embarrassment he has caused a child, his office, the state he serves, and the Governor who appointed him - should tender his resignation, immediately.

Has Secretary Riordan served California well as Mayor of Los Angeles? I am not reviewing here his public service record. However, what can be known is that when citizens, even highly visible, rich and powerful ones, behave in ways that are "out of bounds" - culturally, racially, sexually, religiously, and in other social ways - they sometimes lose their positions of authority and power. A sportscaster who made racially-charged comments was removed from his well-paying announcer job. One elected official who publicly praised an elderly colleague's earlier political position, aware that racially motivated activities are not considered within the bounds of responsible cultural behavior, even that person can be forced out of a powerful position, in this instance, including the Majority Leader of the United States Senate.

Sometimes the wisest counsel comes from the youngest among us. In solving this problem, addressing the poor choices of words by Mr. Riordan, we recommend he study the following definition of Attribute # 8, Graciousness, provided to us by youngsters from the Boys and Girls Clubs. They define graciousness, respect and discipline, as follows:

  1. Be kind - not cruel or sarcastic
  2. Be thoughtful - not judging (listen and learn about others)
  3. Be patient - not rude (allow others to finish their thoughts)
  4. Be helpful - not harmful

Integrity Matters and each of us must lead future generations, caringly and graciously. The Governor and State Secretary of Education need to exhibit leadership integrity, through their individual accountability, immediately.

Question: (E-129)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on August 11, 2004

"When it comes to standards, ask these questions"

As I am about to enter college, a major discussion point has been affirmative action. Many universities across America employ an affirmative action program. I personally believe that the best qualified should be accepted regardless of race. Allowing sub-par students admission because they are considered a minority is still a form of racism. Does being politically correct in this situation debase the integrity of our nation's education system?

Long ago, my father passed along an interesting insight. He said that minor surgery happens to other people. When, as a young man, I asked for the meaning of the statement, my father replied; "When a surgeon was cutting on me," Dad said, "the surgery was always major." Other people, however, could call their medical procedures minor. But, Dad's were major. Perhaps this inherited perspective has convinced me that when I am placing my life (survival) in the care of other people - then, just like my Dad, I feel my situation is major, and my requirements for the surgeon's skills and performance are uncompromising.

So, given that simple parental wisdom, what might each individual reader's responses be to the following six questions?

  1. What is your level of expectation of surgical skill when you are on the operating table?
  2. Would you be willing to accept a person's professional certification of competence simply because he or she was part of a quota system?
  3. Will you accept a lesser set of medical or technical qualifications, simply because the 'playing field' in our history, or in their professional specialty, has not been level?
  4. Will you tolerate someone hired to "fix" your automobile's brakes or steering gear lacking the talent and skill required to confidently make these repairs, simply because he or she was "included" in the mechanic's certification process? Would you stake the lives of your family on that?
  5. Will you be happy to work with a pharmacist whose credentials were marginally acquired, because in a politically-correct world, lesser talented people were licensed in order to fulfill a quota system? Would you trust the medicines dispensed by such a person -- even if a mistake could be life threatening?
  6. Do you want to fly with a pilot who may have mastered most of the skills, but not all of them, simply because it was determined that the students selected for the pilot training program should be broader based, not based upon aptitude or talent?

Sooner or later, standards matter. In some professions, when mistakes are made, people die. Sooner or later, loose performance standards and practices, no matter how thoughtful or how inclusive they might be, result in real trouble. As much as we want, and need, for everyone to move forward in achieving life's greatest personal and professional rewards - excellence still counts. We want the best runners to represent our nation in the Olympics. Should we want anything less in other walks of life? Unless or until we are willing to stand for the principles of excellence, regardless of the consequences, we will be choosing to place innocent lives at incredibly high and often unnecessary risks. This is not what integrity-centered leadership means. Everyone can and should be afforded opportunities. Everyone can try out for the team. But not everyone wins a gold medal.

Question: (E-130)

"Righting a Wrong - the Enron Saga"

An ex-Enron executive, who was associated with both Ken Lay and Jeffrey Skilling, John Forney, age 42, pleaded guilty on August 5, 2004, to charges that he manipulated energy markets during California's power crisis. He will now cooperate with the on-going investigation and reveal details about how other energy firms may have played a role in manipulating prices, which drove up electrical costs for Californians. Does this mean that justice is working? Is integrity winning?

One year ago, on August 13, 2003, Integrity Matters, this very column, offered the following hope to readers concerned that little or nothing seemed to be happening with reference to the prosecution of those who were at the top of Enron when billions of dollars were being squandered. We felt then that the guilty would be brought to justice, and we still believe the "system" can work:

Take heart, it is not over for Skilling and Lay, at least, not yet. Apart from headlines, the investigation continues. Many students of the law who are observers of the Enron mess believe that criminal charges may yet be filed against one or both of these individuals, and relatively soon. If you are frustrated by the very slow pace of the investigation, you are not alone. The eight or nine federal prosecutors who make up the task force of the Justice Department have been assisted by about 30 agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. They have been working on this case since January 2002. These kinds of investigations are complicated and take time. (See: Integrity Matters, by Bracher and Halloran, 2004, pp. 24-25)

2004 and the story continues to unfold. Yes, it appears that justice is working, to some degree. In the case of Mr. Forney, his own lawyer, Mr. Edwin Prater, said that his client has "accepted responsibility for his actions. It was a good opportunity for John and his family at this time to certainly right a wrong he had a part in and for them to move on with their lives." The words of the attorney sound sincere, but read on.

Interestingly, Mr. Forney's admitting of his mistakes seems to be in conjunction with the federal grand jury being willing to drop 10 of the 11 counts they had against him, and through a plea bargain, Forney will now assist California and other public agencies in their lawsuits accusing the industry of inflating energy prices. Mr. Forney was a skilled "now you see it and now you don't" con-artist, at the very highest level. He traded back to Californians the very energy that they had originally sold to him, but in the re-sale he made sure the prices (and Enron's profits, and his own bonus points) were greatly inflated.

The guilty plea, according to David Kravets, of the Associated Press, comes after transcripts of the Enron energy traders showed them openly discussing manipulating California's power market during profanity-laced telephone conversations in which they merrily gloated about ripping off "those poor grandmothers" during the state's energy crunch in 2000-01.

Yes, irresponsible behavior is being prosecuted, but, as with many aspects of life, it comes with a price and a certain unpleasant smell.

Question: (E-131)

"Presidents, Politics and Prayer"

Perhaps you read of the unfortunate situation that took place at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, Maine, on Sunday morning, August 8, 2004. The President along with the First Lady, and his father and mother were the butt of some comments by the Reverend M.L. Agnew (a visiting minister there) during his sermon and again at a time of prayer. Regardless of the political party of the President of the United States, shouldn't he be allowed to worship as is the right of any citizen of our country without being harassed? What do you think?

Propriety is an integrity-of-relationships term defined as a "quality or condition of being proper" and one word often associated with it is the term, "manners." Polite social behavior would not include inviting friends into one's home for a family meal, only to then humiliate and berate them. It would appear that the situation you have described, about the Sunday morning verbal attack at church, illustrates a lack of manners on the part of the visiting priest. Certainly, a spiritual home, a religious shelter, where people come to worship and pray to regain their bearings in order to more effectively deal with life's challenges - most especially in this setting, seekers should be treated with graciousness and propriety. Even in the work-a-day world basic management training encourages praise in public and criticism in private. Should not any citizen, including the President of the United States, be afforded the common-sense courtesies of socially-recommended behaviors? The answer is: yes.

There is a time and there is a place for almost everything. However, simply because one has the "pulpit" (the power, authority and opportunity) does not mean that such privileges should be used in so brutal a way. If the spiritual leader feels it is acceptable to "clobber" the rich for their material wealth, then why not humiliate the "beggars" for not contributing more to society? Neither bludgeoning approach is appropriate. Over and over, we honor the time-tested wisdom that responsible leaders will "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." Prophets of many religious traditions have been willing, even eager, to remind those with wealth and power of their social responsibilities to be caring stewards, engaged in the constructive use of all resources. Timing and graciousness often separate the immobilized and self-proclaimed change agents who come across as angry, bitter and resentful "wanna be's" from successful leaders who initiate and facilitate constructive improvements with their intensity, sensitivity and follow-through.

The Reverend Agnew may have many legitimate reasons, from his perspective, to challenge the leadership of the Bush presidency, the decisions by the Bush family in how they allocate their wealth, or any number of their collective and individual actions. He has that right in our free society. He does not, however, have the license to behave so mockingly and abusively to these people in the ways described by Associated Press Writer, Scott Lindlaw's story. Perhaps he was confused by his personal relationship with the Bush family and his pastoral role as presiding priest. Regardless of the reasons, even Presidents deserve private counsel. It is more gracious and it is more effective.

Question: (E-132)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on August 25, 2004

"Loyalty doesn't rule out confrontation"

A group of my buddies smoke marijuana on a regular basis. They do not leave the garage where my friend lives while high so they only do harm to themselves and thankfully not others. I want to help them because I know they are doing themselves harm and breaking the law, but at the same time I don't want to violate their trust. Is there anyway I can help them without breaking the loyalty of friendship?

Loyalty has been defined by the former head basketball coach of Georgetown University, John Thompson, in the following way: "Loyalty is not always saying yes to me, in fact, it may mean saying harsh things to me. But, disloyalty is ever saying anything negative about me to anyone else." Whether you agree with his definition or not, one truth is evident. Friends are defined by the integrity of their relationship. Even the adult-beverage commercials remind us that "friends don't let friends drive drunk."

Not wanting to offer inadequate counsel to your question, the advice of a recently retired Chief of Police was sought. His response was clear: the effects of marijuana use on the brain, heart, lungs and social behavior are negative. So, how much do you care about your friends? Before determining what you should do with reference to confronting them about their marijuana use, please study the findings posted on the website of the National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Drug Abuse

What you will learn is that marijuana use, with reference to the brain, a critically important organ, decreases memory and learning abilities and distorts perception. It reduces coordination and alters activity of dopamine neurons that are responsible in regulation of motivation and reward. Marijuana numbs the individual.

Marijuana accelerates heart rate, raises blood pressure and raises the chances of heart attack by 400% within one hour of smoking. Regarding damage to the lungs, consider this: heightened risk of lung infections, increased tendency to have obstructed airways and the greater likelihood of throat, lung or mouth cancer.

Additional research from the National Institutes of Health also found that marijuana may cause depression, anxiety and a lack of motivation. Studies have shown that habitual marijuana use causes students to have lower grades that could be related to their impaired attention and memory.

So, what should you do? Your answers to these questions may help you decide:

  1. Are you willing to jeopardize your "popularity" with your buddies and tell them of your concerns about their own personal health risks?
  2. Will you be comfortable with your own conscience if you elect not to confront your buddies and they wander from their current smoking center and injure others with an automobile?
  3. Now that you have well-researched information literally at your fingertips, that could help these friends look at their priorities and their behaviors differently, how can you not share it with them?

Integrity-centered relationships present the truth to friends, compassionately, even when it hurts.

Question: (E-133)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on September 1, 2004

"Raiding former employer's workers poor business choice"

What should I do? I am a 34 year-old hospitality professional. My new position, a big promotion, requires that I drive growth, rapidly. Growth will require more employees. One of my former employers has a number of talented individuals who could be of great value to me in my new job. Is it a violation of integrity for me to hire from my former company? I do not want to destroy my relationship with a colleague who is still there (who was my boss and remains a professional and personal friend) - but, in a couple of instances, folks from there already have indicated that they do want to join me.

If you are asking (me, yourself, or anyone else) if it is the right thing to do (raiding the talent pool of a former employer) then you likely feel that it might not be the appropriate action. Before you head down the path of progress, hoping to avoid the slippery slope of self-serving selfishness, answer for yourself these four questions:

  1. Do you value the relationship with your former employer? If so, then consider approaching the person, directly, and clarify your moral dilemma.
  2. Even if you do not value your personal relationship with this former employer, do you want to develop a reputation as a "raider" who places the highest priority on success and cash flow, communicating that people are simply pawns to be used and then tossed aside?
  3. Are you willing to meet, face-to-face, with the impacted individual (who was your supervisor and who has recruited and trained talented employees) and be forthright regarding your objectives?
  4. Do you intend to "come clean" about your needs and ask of the other person how best to proceed along your pathway without destroying the goals and plans of the other party involved? In one way or another we are all in partnership with those with whom we have been associated - for better or worse - and as a consequence, since every industry is really small, it is unwise to burn bridges.

Integrity is about partnerships throughout our lives. Honest partnerships (marriage, family, friendship, political, social, business and even spiritual) require all parties to honor obligations. Integrity-centered relationships pride themselves on the timely fulfillment of all commitments, legal and moral. Therefore, the future of who you are becoming (as an integrity-centered individual) is now being established by how you address your personal and professional goals, in the larger context of minimizing the harm you do to others.

Integrity is also about character, which was defined by a youngster as "what we do when no one is watching." A genuine business friend, who cares about you, will be honored by your forthrightness and will respect your honesty. Talent is a valuable commodity, in every industry, and the desire on your part to build integrity will establish your legitimate leadership - over the long haul. Be up front. Ask for support. Treasure the relationship with your integrity. Success will follow.

Question: (E-134)

"Anti-Depressant Warnings Sought"

You mentioned in your June 16, 2004, Integrity Matters column that unless large drug firms regulated themselves, the government would. It was reported (on August 21, 2004, by Lauran Neergaard of the Associated Press) that Federal health officials are preparing stronger warnings for some anti-depressants used by children after new analyses back a possible link to suicide. So, how can these drug manufacturers proceed selling "risky drugs" and still sleep at night? Do they have integrity?

Chemical reactions in the human body are incredibly complex. Even though high quality research is required before drugs are approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) to be brought to the market place, and even though they are time-consuming and expensive - 100% removal of risks, highly desirable, is the exception and not the rule. The infinite number of variables for any given substance, once it enters the human body, regardless of its positive effects, can challenge the workings of large computer data base. As a consequence, the integrity of the manufacturing firms must be accepted at face value or the harm their products would do and the liabilities they would face, well, it would put them out of business. To respond to your first question about how those who manufacture drugs can sleep at night, the answer is clear. The vast majority of business leaders are doing the very best they know how. They make mistakes. The fix their problems and they go on just like the rest of us.

However, what should concern us about this youth health problem is how such anti-depressant drugs are prescribed. "While doctors prescribe anti-depressants for children- which is legal despite the lack of approval - there is little evidence that any other than Prozac work for pediatric depression, thus deepening concern about even potential risks." (Neergarrd/AP

95 cases were deemed definite suicidal behavior, according to FDA's Dr. Andrew Mosholder, who has urged the agency since February 2004 to discourage pediatric use of anti-depressants other than Prozac until the issue is settled. Because his bosses disagreed with his initial findings, the FDA did not allow Mosholder to make his argument at its first public hearing on the anti-depressant controversy, a move that has generated congressional investigations. The latest analyses validate Mosholder's original research. However, making the situation more complex for parents seeking expertise and medical assistance, Dr. Darrel Regier of the American Psychiatric Association favors strong FDA warnings for very close monitoring of depressed youth given prescribed drugs, with no limitation to using only one of the drugs, because it does not meet the needs of about 30% of those youth facing depression.

When addressing health issues, personally or on behalf of family and friends, integrity is the key. The integrity issue centers in the inter-relationships between and among all of those who are to be affected by the medical treatment prescribed. Complete disclosure should minimize surprises. Answers will certainly be need to these five questions. Where does one turn for accurate and complete information on the prescribed treatment? What can be known about the side effects? What alternatives exist? What are the risks? What are the consequences for those who do not respond well to the treatment?

Children are tomorrow's promise. We must protect them from harm, when and where we can. Knowledge and responsibility are the keys to the integrity of stewardship for the young.

Question: (E-135)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on September 8, 2004

"Friend's parents provide graciousness example"

You write about Integrity and the Eight Attributes. One attribute is graciousness. Where is graciousness learned? Are there examples? What difference does it make?

Graciousness, which can be defined as respect and discipline, is learned by constructive examples, positive role models. A friend and I were discussing where he learned the importance of graciousness and he, with moist eyes, passed along this story from his growing-up years. With his permission, we present his story. It changed him; touched me and maybe it will transform and teach those who read it now.

"My father and mother owned a small "Mom & Pop" grocery store in the tough neighborhood, all Mexican and all poor, where my brothers and I grew up in south El Paso, Texas. My parents had inherited the store from my paternal grandparents, who had emigrated from Mexico in the early 1900's. On Sunday nights during the spring and summer months, my parents would show free movies to the neighborhood that surrounded (and patronized) my parents' store."

"My father would use impromptu barriers to keep traffic from in front of the store. Our neighbors did not complain about the street closure because they were all in attendance at the movies they shared with all who showed up. My parents owned a movie projector and my father constructed a make-shift, portable movie screen which he propped-up against the store's front wall. Dad would rent, from a movie rental business, the movies so folks from the neighborhood could enjoy a pleasant evening "at the movies."

"On Sunday nights, everyone from throughout the neighborhood brought their own chairs and blankets, from which they watched the movies. Everyone was treated to a movie, a treat that they otherwise could not to afford. The children would also receive a free scoop of ice cream from our store (my brothers and I were very popular with our peers--at least on Sunday nights)."

"Mom and Dad operated that small grocery store until they retired in the early 1980's. All that time, the store was never the subject of a theft or a robbery, even when my parents, by then elderly, would work at their store late into the evening."

"My parents were gracious with their customers and their customers were gracious with them. In return, my parents continued my family's tradition, begun by my grandparents, of being good merchants, honest and gracious. My parents are proof that doing the right thing in business pays off."

So, what does this story mean? Doing the right thing, graciously, has both short and long term benefits. Being kind, thoughtful, patient and helpful will, over the longer haul, build relationships, community, trust and hope. Demonstrating care and concern for all of those with whom we associate sustains the integrity of all institutions: marriage, family, friendships, community and society. Integrity Matters and Integrity Pays.

Please let us know if you have a story about integrity and graciousness that you are willing to have printed in this column. Positive examples are important and you can help by sharing a story about integrity and graciousness with us:

Question: (E-136)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on September 15, 2004

"Mentors teach the ropes of integrity"

You have mentioned mentors in some of your integrity columns. What is a mentor and why are they important? What does a mentor have to do with integrity?

Mentors are wise and trusted counselors. Mentors are teachers. Mentors are those special individuals who have special gifts that enable them to perceive the potential of another individual. They choose to assist others in becoming better. Mentors are commonly involved assisting their colleagues with improved sports performance, constructive thinking, language refinement, communications impact and effective behaviors. Yes, mentors are found teaching and coaching in all of life's activities. Mentors connect with their students, their protégés, often around common values and from that foundation, they build life-changing relationships centering upon integrity and interpersonal accountability.

A protégé is sometimes defined as one who is willing to accept guidance by a more influential or experienced person. Earlier in the history of the United States, professions encouraged this tutorial approach to learning (serving as an apprentice). The apprentice approach was embraced by many disciplines, including physicians, lawyers, teachers, silversmiths, typesetters and soldiers. The next generation of workers and leaders acquired their skills from those with track records and experience. Theory without practical application was of little interest.

Yes, mentors can make a positive difference in the way an individual develops. Mentors require of their students, their protégés, a willingness to listen and an eagerness to learn. Mentors are seeking those who are capable of admitting that they do not have all of the answers and can be open and honest about their vulnerabilities. Mentors recognize the inner strength required of those who are willing to ask for assistance. Mentors are eager to reach out and lend a hand to those who are not too proud to acknowledge real or imagined fears and anxieties. Mentors offer the lifeline of hope and insight to those willing to risk the hard challenges that often accompany improvement, regardless of the activity.

Mentors are those special individuals who are close enough to us to encourage our growth and objective enough to critique our mistakes. They combine a pat on the back and a swift kick in the backside with equal vigor. They care so much about us and our reaching our potential that they are willing to risk our rejection in order to remain substantively involved with us. We can never repay them. We can, however, pass along their wisdom and honest caring. We can share their wisdom with those who are willing make themselves vulnerable through intentional listening, an appetite for learning, and a genuine commitment to growth. We can then pay-forward mentor-quality care by helping others to incorporate the same kind of positive and purposeful counsel. Gifts from mentors are to be given away, passed along to others as generously as they were originally given.

Mentors are beacons of light. They spread hope. Their teaching and encouragement remain guideposts on the ever-changing path that carries human beings forward. Mentors help to pave the pathway, through insight and discipline, so that those they choose to lead can achieve vision and mission to some purposeful destination, wherever it leads. So, for these reasons alone, one can see that mentoring is all about integrity. If you do not have a mentor, find one. If you have not yet mentored someone, after having been mentored yourself, then find a protégé, soon, and pay forward the integrity you received.

Question: (E-137)

"The Purpose of Business"

I am a student at California State University at Monterey Bay. I believe it was Milton Friedman who said that a company's first obligation is to its owners the stockholders and that all other policies should be subservient to the expectations of the stockholders. These expectations usually consist of making a profit.

I also understand that giving to charities is good public relations. Given this premise; if a publicly traded company decides to invest company time and money to help charities local communities and other "noble causes", then do you feel that the company is obligated to first run these proposals by the stockholders and seek majority consent before implementation? Same question on Executive compensation.

Professors and those who offer business theories have a great deal to teach those who are managing organizations. Often, through academic research and field study, insights can bring constructive and important perspectives to many disciplines, including business. Dr. Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science, has been a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution since 1977 is a valuable resource for business and organizational leadership. A review of his biography confirms his breadth and depth of understanding, namely that he is widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

Milton Friedman, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Memorial Prize for economic science, has been a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution since 1977. He is also the Paul Snowden Russell Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Economics at the University of Chicago, where he taught from 1946 to 1976, and was a member of the research staff of the National Bureau of Economic Research from 1937 to 1981.

Friedman was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1988 and received the National Medal of Science the same year.

He is widely regarded as the leader of the Chicago School of monetary economics, which stresses the importance of the quantity of money as an instrument of government policy and as a determinant of business cycles and inflation.

In addition to his scientific work, Friedman has also written extensively on public policy, always with a primary emphasis on the preservation and extension of individual freedom. His most important books in this field are (with Rose D. Friedman) Capitalism and Freedom (University of Chicago Press, 1962); Bright Promises, Dismal Performance (Thomas Horton and Daughters, 1983), which consists mostly of reprints of columns he wrote for Newsweek from 1966 to 1983; (with Rose D. Friedman) Free to Choose (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980), which complements a ten-part television series of the same name shown over the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) network in early 1980; and (with Rose D. Friedman) Tyranny of the Status Quo (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1984), which complements a three-part television series of the same name, shown over PBS in early 1984.

He was a member of the President's Commission on an All-Volunteer Armed Force and the President's Commission on White House Fellows. He was a member of President Ronald Reagan's Economic Policy Advisory Board (a group of experts from outside the government named in 1981 by President Reagan).

He has also been active in public affairs, serving as an informal economic adviser to Senator Barry Goldwater in his unsuccessful campaign for the presidency in 1964, to Richard Nixon in his successful 1968 campaign, to President Nixon subsequently, and to Ronald Reagan in his 1980 campaign.

He has published many books and articles, most notably A Theory of the Consumption Function, The Optimum Quantity of Money and Other Essays, and (with A. J. Schwartz) A Monetary History of the United States, Monetary Statistics of the United States, and Monetary Trends in the United States and the United Kingdom.

He is a past president of the American Economic Association, the Western Economic Association, and the Mont Pelerin Society and is a member of the American Philosophical Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

He also has been awarded honorary degrees by universities in the United States, Japan, Israel, and Guatemala, as well as the Grand Cordon of the First Class Order of the Sacred Treasure by the Japanese government in 1986.

Friedman received a B.A. in 1932 from Rutgers University, an M.A. in 1933 from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in 1946 from Columbia University.

Two Lucky People, his and Rose D. Friedman's memoirs, was published in 1998 by the University of Chicago Press.

To answer your question about decision-making and leadership, let's take the issues one at a time. First, the purpose of a business is to meet a market need in such a way that a profit is returned for the investment made to meet that need over the long term. Primary responsibilities of members of boards of directors, who are themselves elected by the stockholders, include hiring and firing the Chief Executive Officer, maintaining the integrity and solvency of the institution, and making sure that all stakeholders are kept informed.

Second, corporate generosity, internally and externally, needs to serve the interests of the investors by supporting long term goals as they enhance corporate reputation, or as they engender greater loyalty among stakeholders (customers, employees, stockholders, suppliers, members of the communities where the institution resides.). The direct connection between charity and profit need not be immediate, and it need not be a direct link (as in a quid pro quo), but investors and other stakeholders may assume that such a benefit ought to exist. Most business enterprises exist to create a legitimate product or service for a profit, and all activities related to this enterprise need to have some link to increased productivity and improved profitability.

Third, as we know, in a public company, the stockholders elect a board of directors which is then responsible for overseeing the performance of the management team in meeting the long term interests of the stockholders. It is they who should therefore oversee the corporate gift approach. It would be cumbersome and expensive indeed to review every business expenditure, whether charitable contributions or even an exceptional purchase, with the stockholders.

Fourth, boards of directors have little time beyond that the time that is required to oversee the activities of the corporation in summary fashion, usually only once each quarter. If board members do not fulfill their fiduciary responsibilities, then they should be replaced. Because business activities are fast-paced and highly fluid in nature, it seems unwise for competent executives to spend their energies seeking prior approval for elements of their routine administrative activities. Such micromanagement (by any board) could lead to immobilized leadership, and ultimately to failure of the business.

Fifth, leaders are hired to do a job. If they succeed, reward them and if they fail, then help them to improve or if they fall short, replace them. Board members have an incredibly important job to sustain the integrity of the company's or the organization's viability.

Question: (E-138)

"Supervisory Accountability"

Is a company first responsible for the welfare of its employees or its customers?

During a business transaction, an important customer becomes dissatisfied by the quality of work from one of the company's employees. The customer is unreasonable based on his/her demands, and seeks the manager to file a complaint. The employee handled the situation in a proper and orderly manner, and was correct in how the customer was handled. When speaking to the manager, the customer asks that the employee be "let go" from the company. Is the manager's responsibility first to their customers or to their employees?

Leaders of organizations (including companies, whether small or large) are responsible for everything that goes on under their "umbrella." All stakeholders have an impact (not necessarily final say) on priorities and decisions. What makes answering your question so very important has to do with leadership and how it is distinguished from those who are only pretending to lead. Only the boss in this situation knows for sure if the behavior of this employee was unique or simply a continuation of a pattern of ineffective customer interface. Either way, it is the boss who is paid for making the decision to retain or release an employee.

Precipitous and callous removal of employees (for whatever reasons) will send a signal to other workers and communicate the values and the culture of the organization. Supporting employees through external challenges (sometimes by disgruntled customers) sends a different signal. Both ways there are consequences; and you will know soon (if you do not now already) whether your boss is a Pretender, a Manager or a genuine Leader. Please review the comparison provided below and make up your own mind on the qualities of leadership being exhibited by the supervisor.


People Love Leaders. People Respect Managers. People Reject Pretenders.
A Leader Creates. A Manager Interprets. A Pretender Copies.
A Leader Gives Credit. A Manager Gives Clarification. A Pretender Gives Blame.
A Leader Incites Motivation. A Manager Incites Desire. A Pretender Incites Fear.
A Leader Values Relationships. A Manager Values People. A Pretender Values Procedures.
A Leader Expects Innovation. A Manager Expects Quality. A Pretender Expects Conformity.
A Leader Prefers Judgement. A Manager Prefers Decision-Making. A Pretender Prefers Rules.
A Leader Expands Liberty. A Manager Expands Courage. A Pretender Expands Power.
A Leader Employs Talent. A Manager Employs Individuals. A Pretender Employs Objects.
A Leader Welcomes Criticism. A Manager Welcomes Feedback. A Pretender Welcomes Praise.
A Leader Promotes Others. A Manager Promotes The Team. A Pretender Promotes Self.
A Leader Makes Mistakes. A Manager Makes Adjustments. A Pretender Makes Excuses.
A Leader Sees Opportunities. A Manager Solves Problems. A Pretender Sees Problems.
A Leader Self-Corrects. A Manager Improves The Organization. A Pretender Corrects Others.
A Leader Acquires Wisdom. A Manager Acquires Intelligence. A Pretender Acquires Knowledge.
A Leader Develops Culture. A Manager Develops Pride. A Pretender Develops Ego.
A Leader Wants Responsibility. A Manager Wants Accountability. A Pretender Wants Rights.
A Leader Seeks A Mission. A Manager Seeks A Job. A Pretender Seeks A Position.
A Leader Sees Through Mirrors. A Manager Holds Up The Mirror. A Pretender Sees Own Image.
A Leader Has Faults. A Manager Seeks To Grow. A Pretender Is Perfect.
You Make Yourself A Leader. Managers Assume Responsibility. Pretenders Abdicate.
Leading Is Demanding. Managing Is Challenging.
Pretending Is Easy.
Leaders Are Trusted. Managers Are Valued. Pretenders Are Tolerated.

Now that you have "assessed" your leader, you can more constructively proceed with your work and determine how long you wish to be associated with the values exhibited by the person or the persons in charge.

Question: (E-139)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on September 22, 2004

"CBS News fails its responsibility and the 'real news' test"

CBS has finally admitted to "being duped" and has said it was wrong to air the 60 minutes episode accusing President George W. Bush of receiving special treatment in the Texas Air National Guard. Yet, neither CBS nor Dan Rather have apologized or admitted to any wrong doing, which shows no integrity whatsoever. I am disappointed and disgusted with CBS and specifically Dan Rather for what appears to be a lack of moral and ethical standards.

Are there no consequences for this reprehensible behavior? News is to inform and educate us.
With out trust in the integrity in the news, how can our society survive?

Do not lose heart; the jury is still out on this recent chaos created by Dan Rather, CBS and 60 Minutes. Our system will know what is right and apply sound principles to abuses of power by any segment of the media, including television broadcasting.

We expect and deserve proper news coverage and we want it available, all the time. Journalist-historian Richard Reeves was asked by a college student to define "real news" and he answered that real news is "the news you and I need to keep our freedoms."

As readers, hearers and viewers of the current reporting of the news, what portion of what is presented to the public is essential for the retention of our freedoms? What percentage is entertainment, posing as news? What amount is editorial and biased opinion, masquerading under the banner of "news" that is "fair and balanced" information? These questions are meant to move individuals to think hard and long about the current state of the news we all absorb.

There are challenges to remaining informed, intelligently and objectively, in our era. Perhaps things today are no different than in the past, however, the power of the press, print and electronic can make things seem worse.

One of the mysteries of a democracy and a free press is that they can exist, often at odds, without seeking the destruction of the other. The integrity of our system (economic, political and cultural) depends upon our ability, and freedom, to disagree without being disagreeable. Even when we are rascals, we do not need to stoop to a zero-sum game, scorching the earth as we offer differences of opinion. Debate and discussion, conflict and resolution, all can be conducted in the bright light of openness and honesty. When the common good is relegated to anyplace on the agenda, except that of first place, then any number of activities can sink the democratic "ship of state." News must be objectively reported. Editorials are the place for personal opinions.

In our book, Integrity Matters, we quote a CBS broadcast veteran, Mr. Walter Cronkite, on page 174: "We can all take the hero's journey. It begins with a single step, the moment we stand up for something we believe in." Earlier we stated, on page 92: "In the early days of television journalism, news professionals such as David Brinkley, Edward R. Murrow and Walter Cronkite recognized the importance of honesty, courage and forthrightness. The public placed its trust in them and they knew it. Network anchors did not come on other broadcasts with "teasers" about stories they would be discussing on their own upcoming news shows. Such obvious advertising and marketing by news reporting leaders would have been seen as inappropriate, even cheap. David Brinkley stood above such self-serving and mercenary behavior. His work was to provide important information to his viewers who had confidence that he would not let them down."

Real news reporting is always about integrity, intelligence and courage. Integrity provides the platform for truth seeking. Intelligence builds the road to insightful, accurate and thorough research. And courage is a timeless quality and becomes all the more important when the government or any other institution of power and control is tempted to suggest the legitimacy of censorship. Mr. Rather, CBS and 60 Minutes, instead of reporting the news that we need in order to keep our freedoms have themselves become the news. How sad for them.
Demand the "real news" -- the news you and I need to keep our freedoms. Demand that our televised news media make clear their choice of responsible journalism in preference to salacious entertainment. "Real news" is important, always has been, and it always will be. Integrity matters.

Question: (E-140)
published in Jim Bracher's Integrity Matters newspaper column on July 20, 2005

"Don't forget the binding verbal handshake"

After many interviews, a boss decides to hire "person A" AND verbally promises the job. Soon afterwards, "person B" appears and turns out to be many times more qualified than "person A." Should the manager keep the verbal promise to person A or hire person B instead?

An offer can be binding. In some circumstances (please consult legal advice) a verbal commitment is a contract. Morally, the deal is the deal. The hiring person may have promised to hire what turned out to be the less qualified person; however, the second person (more qualified) may also deserve the position. So, the person doing the hiring must wrestle what is the right thing to do for the individuals being impacted, the company that could be compensating each participant and the long-term impact of behaving precipitously, regardless of how this complicated situation is resolved.

To make this point of the verbal commitment, allow me to present a summary of some research that our organization completed with leaders in the Salinas Valley Agribusiness community. Here is how they speak of word-of-mouth agreements, which they describe as a "verbal handshake." What follows are excerpts from a story originally published by Scott Faust, Executive Editor, The Salinas Californian on August 6, 2003, titled:. Ag execs agree on ethics principles - Salinas Valley effort underscores values

A six-month effort to identify core values of Salinas Valley agriculture has yielded a set of principles that organizers say could foster a nationwide renewal of business ethics. Salinas Valley agricultural executives heralded the moral legacy of those who established the local produce industry in the 1920s and '30s. Today, the multibillion-dollar sector -- led by many of their descendants -- directly or indirectly employs more than 30 percent of Monterey County's workforce.

One concept emphasized throughout an agreed-upon document is that of a "verbal handshake" -- the mutual trust that permits quick transactions under the deadlines of a perishable commodity. Also emphasized is the idea of giving back to the community, which participants say is still reflected in the civic generosity of many ag companies in such causes as Relay for Life, the annual fund-raiser for cancer research.

"Sowing the seeds for the renewal of free markets is the essence of what drove me to it," said Bracher, who first approached Mills with the concept in January. "The more we discover about it (Salinas Valley agribusiness), the more we believe this is the legitimate home for the renewal of free enterprise."

One of the eight key values of the Salinas Valley Agribusiness Integrity-Centered Leadership Program is character, and its definition was a committee of 16 leaders of valley agricultural companies. Character means: "Business is transacted with a phone call or a handshake, and even though much of agribusiness today involves contracts, it is clear that contracts are formalities..." One's personal "verbal handshake" is the real deal. So, what should an integrity-centered leader, with character, do?

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