March 10, 2004
Include charity, graciousness with integrity
the Bracher Center for Integrity in Leadership's
"Eight Attributes" of integrity, which do
most companies or organizations lack the most when your
consulting company provides initial evaluations?
me focus on two of the eight that may be missing, especially
in younger companies: No. 1 is charity. No.2 is graciousness.
Emerging companies, with frequently cash-strapped owners
are hard pressed to take their eyes off the target: staying
in business and not running out of cash.
As a consequence, entrepreneurs can be so legitimately
self-absorbed that they forget to be grateful or gracious
about community stewardship. Even though they know what
to do, time and circumstance can get in the way of their
giving back, whether in time or dollars.
can also suffer, and not only in the beginning. Some companies,
even when they reach billions in annual revenues, never
adopt a pattern that demonstrates care and concern for
all stakeholders. These firms move from abrasive upstarts
to haughty upstarts and then finally to ruthless enterprises.
Customers who need their business may tolerate the abuses,
quietly seething and despising the fact that they must
deal with the insensitivities.
story stands out, because it portrays an individual who
had every reason to be kind and thoughtful. He had come
to the United States, started shining shoes and worked
his way through college, earning a doctorate and acquiring
in excess of a billion dollars. He was so cruel to his
computer engineers that when one of them brought his product
to the office of the founder for review, the product,
with a small error, was thrown to floor exploding into
thousands of pieces.
few years later, when the man was unable to hire a person
to take the top position in his company, he asked what
was wrong. The candidate, who had worked with our company
for several years, suggested that the "abrasive
boss" call me for some assistance. When the man
did call, dutifully, he made the following remarks: "Mr.
So and So suggest I phone you to talk about addressing
problems with people management. When I have such a need,
I will call you. Goodbye." That was the end of the
years later, the individual was almost bankrupt, divorced
and still convinced he was right.
In his case, he did not listen, was not gracious and seemed
not to care. There are other ways to operate, and most
of them underscore that integrity matters.