November 7 , 2007
Take a page from the Playbook of the Giants
Can a strategy for winning embrace integrity?
Yes. Many organizations - public and private - depend upon doing the right things for the right reasons. And they succeed. One professional football organization, the New York Giants, offers constructive behaviors for mature, effective and responsible adults. Intending no singular credit to one team over another, here is what the New York Giants place in front of their players and coaches, inside their locker room: "Blame no one! Expect nothing! Do something!"
- BLAME NO ONE: Effectiveness and impact are the responsibility of individuals, one at a time. Accountability is personal. When things go well, just about everyone wants credit and praise.
Those who consistently test the wind to see which way it is blowing before they offer an opinion or decide to back an idea can be called fair-weather friends and part of the bandwagon crowd. Their fear of failure, their painstaking analysis and even their lack of courage confirm that they are reluctant heroes who seldom take chances.
In contrast, the "wing-walkers" - those who appear to throw caution to the wind - delight in little study of risks, rejecting the more scientific, analytical approach. Their zeal can save time, energy and money or create expensive disasters.
Wise and successful decision-makers know their limitations and proceed with vigor, refusing to blame anyone, regardless of the consequences.
- EXPECT NOTHING: Winners go about their jobs, perform at the highest levels and enjoy the fulfillment that comes from within, not depending upon approval, awards or recognition. If the accolades come, they graciously acknowledge them, but they avoid becoming addicted to the self-defeating process of gratification-dependence. When praise and recognition are offered, they smile and say "Thank you."
- DO SOMETHING: Find a need and fill it. Reach out. Encourage others. Listen. Refuse to lose. Take the high road. Clean the sidewalk. Clean the carpet. Pick up the broken pieces. Help others back on their feet. But no matter what, don't stay on the sidelines and whine. Remain positive. Keep a healthy distance from those who stew, bicker and backbite.
Do the right things for the right reasons in the right ways. Those are the right rules to teach: by example in conversations, during competition and in the midst of conducting capitalistic commerce.
As my mother often repeated: Play nicely with others. Genuine integrity involves treating others as they would want and need to be treated - both personally and professionally - all the time. And, yes, nice folks do finish first! Trustworthy leaders attract followers and win.