Integrity Matters
September 6, 2006

Impatience, greed come at a price

Question: (E-255)

Dear Jim:

Cutting into lines has become routine at the grocery, post office and at the movie theater. Telephone conversations that should be private are conducted publicly by cell phone in hotel lobbies, airports and on public transportation. What has happened to social sensitivity and interpersonal integrity?


Some people, young and old, choose to behave like spoiled brats. They come across as impatient and greedy, way too often. They use lame excuses, or none at all, to barge ahead, being loud and obtrusive.

In this column, we have addressed selfishness, rudeness and the fact that one's ego is not really one's amigo. Twenty years ago, a client asked me and our firm, Dimension Five Consultants, to summarize the mental and operational tendencies of managers most likely to succeed, longer-term. Our conclusions spawned the title for a book, which remains in our files, highlighting traits that often derail those who would like to be effective leaders but probably won't. The title we chose was "A lot! Now! & Cash!" It comes down to three questions:

  • What do you want? "A lot!"
  • When do you want it? "Now!"
  • In what form would you like it? "Cash!"

Upwardly mobile managers choose to earn rewards, not demand them. Effective managers understand the team to put team achievement above individual accomplishment. They also don't focus rigidly on pay, but instead meld economic needs with career fulfillment. Winners will not run roughshod over others, destroying morale and putting the organization at risk.

A 40-year shiner of shoes at the San Jose airport recently summarized the causes for the business scandals of the past few years. He already had provided keen observations about corporate leadership misbehaviors, both legal and moral, and the destructive economic trends they were fueling in earlier conversations with me. You may read about his insights in our 2004 book, "Integrity Matters," pages 102 and 103. "Root causes of the corporate collapses and losses of pensions for hundreds and thousands of victims," he said, "were and are impatience and greed."

Integrity and leadership effectiveness, including constructive citizenship, are not simply about immediate gratification and recognition. They also must include personal and professional fulfillment, in the long run.

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