Creating Vision for Change

Creating Vision for Change

Leading Change the Kotter Way

Creating vision for change is the third step in the Kotter model.  I’ve written quite creating visiona bit here about the Kotter approach to leading change and I am in process of revamping my original Kotter model series.  This post deals with creating a vision that people can understand, get on board with and remember. Links to my posts on the earlier stages are in the next paragraph.

The model is based on research which showed that there are eight critical steps an organisation or service needs to go through to ensure that change happens and sticks. This series of posts will consider these steps in greater detail. we have already dealt with; Step One: Create Urgency, Step Two: Form a Powerful Coalition and Step Four: Communicate Your Vision.

Step Three: Create a Vision for Change

When you first start thinking about change, there will probably be many great ideas and solutions floating around.  You need to link these concepts together into an overall vision so that people can grasp them easily and remember.

A clear vision can help everyone understand why you’re asking them to do something – even when it is uncomfortable. When people see for themselves what you’re trying to achieve, then the directives they’re given tend to make more better sense and they can commit to them.

They will expect you as the leader to have a sense of the direction of travel. Something about the vision needs to catch their imagination and help them to stay headed in the same direction.

Here are some steps to help you create your vision:

  • Determine the values that are central to the change. What are the values of your organisation and how do you want to reflect them in the future and in creating vision.
  • Develop a short summary (one or two sentences) that captures what you “see” as the future of your organisation. Make it colourful. How will it have meaning for others?
  • Try your vision out on a colleague – can they see the big picture?
  • Create your strategy so that it executes your vision. What are the big steps on the way?
  • Ensure that your change/guiding coalition (see the links below) can describe the vision in five minutes or less.
  • Practice your “vision speech” often. Make you can feel as well as see your vision when you practice
  • Listen carefully to the responses as you share your vision and consider making adjustments

Next in this series I am going to write more about sharing your vision. Stage 4 in the Kotter model is  about communicating the vision.

Meanwhile…

Here is a Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your Personal Brand Checklist

Your personal brand checklist will ensure the world sees you as you wish. It will help you reflect your personal brand in all you do. Everything, from the comments you make on Twitter to the way you dress, strengthens or weakens the way the you are seen! Here is your personal brand checklist.

personal brand checklist
Your checklist
  1. Are you sure people believe you know what you are talking about? First of all, does your resume reflect the real depth of your experience – is it up to date? Do the words you use at work reflect the latest thinking on your subject at this point in time? Do you write articles and blog posts on your specialist interest?

What about your “elevator speech”?

2. Can you deliver a succinct description of what you do, how you do it differently, plus the benefit it delivers? Can you say your piece within the time that it takes an elevator to travel one floor?

3. Are you a convincing communicator? Do people believe what you say? Can you influence people? Why not do a market survey? So, you could choose three people you trust and ask them what they think!  Why not, read a book about it, take a class or work with a coach like me.

4. Do you dress for the job at work? Because you do need to know the dress code for your sector? And you would be wise to follow it for success. But what about off duty? If you met you boss in the supermarket, what impression would they get? Think about what is appropriate to the situation. And balance your individual style with clothing that will appeal to those you are trying to impress.

Do you know how to behave at work?

5. By that I mean the etiquette for your organisation and your sector? What kind of business cards do people carry? Most of all, always be courteous. Therefore, always be the one who follows up and says thank you after a kind deed. Remember to do it after sector and professional events.

6. Do you know the people you need to impress? Take time out to build your address book. Collect business cards – make sure yours reflects your image properly! When you have built your relationship, ask contacts for further introductions. Use LinkedIn to find new people.

How often do you nurture your network?

7. Are you working at nurturing your relationships with your contacts? Most of all, are you showing an active interest and do you genuinely care care about them? Ask how they are and what they are doing. But make sure you mean it.  Remember things they tell you – note them down if you need to!

8. What do you do with your spare time? Do you give something back to the community with voluntary work? Or perhaps you help your local sports club? You don’t need to brag about it; news does get around!

Your personal brand is precious. It’s the you the world sees and judges by. Nurture your brand and you will nurture both your life and your career.

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find her books on Amazon at this link

         

Job loss – how to stay confident

Confidence after a job loss

Job loss leaves most people feeling less confident. It’s not just about losing the job lossincome but also about your image and sense of yourself. For many of us, the value we put on ourselves is closely tied in to our work. Let’s face it, for lots of us, work is where we spend most of our waking life. It’s often where we find our friends (and even partners) and where we may make out major achievements. So when we lose a job, we feel we’ve lost part of ourselves and we grieve for it.

But you are much more than your job. People who really matter value you for much more than your work role. So, how can you begin to appreciate yourself again after job loss? How can you send that confidence back up the scale? Here are some thoughts.

Understand why it happened

If you have been made redundant keep in mind that it’s not personal – you were just unlucky and you are part of a very large and growing club. You may have suffered job loss for other reasons. Make sure you understand why and learn from it. Have you been sacked (let go)? Think about whether you should change something about yourself to make sure it doesn’t happen again. In all cases, what matters most is going forward, not dwelling on negative things from the past. But ,if there are lessons then learn them

Time for some mind-work

After job loss, the temptation is to ruminate on what has happened. The same thoughts and questions keep going round and round in your mind with no real answers emerging. Sadly, this is happening at a time when you may not have much to keep you busy. So you need to build a new routine.

Make sure you have plans for each day. Making a work routine for your job search is important. I usually advise clients to spend as as much time as they did at work, on their job search.

As for that tape that keeps running round your head, well think of it as an old radio playing in the background. Don’t fight the thoughts, observe them. Try not to engage with them. If the thoughts persist, think about seeking help from a counsellor or coach. You may want to consider taking a mindfulness course, it will help with exactly this kind of thinking.

Feeling lonely

After job loss, you may miss the company and the contact with people that you had at work. Now is the time to work on your network. Get out that old address book, look up your email contacts and those on your mobile phone. Find people on social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. When you are not at work, social networks can become your water cooler – a way of keeping in touch with what is going on in the world. And you will be surprised how supportive your social media chums can be.

Pick up old contacts and find out what people are doing now. Show a real interest in them. It will give you company but also might give you a lead to the next job. Meet up – have a coffee with them. Tell them you are interested in new opportunities but don’t dwell too much on why you lost the last job.

Keep up appearances

This is a time when it is all too easy to slump around in jogging pants all day. Mind you the jogging, or at least some kind of exercise, is important – as is a good diet. Dress for work in the home office – albeit a little more casually than you did for work. It will help to raise your morale.

Worrying about money

Most of us will feel bad about the loss of income. But there is help – make it a project to find out all the sources of financial support available to you. For people in the UK, here is a link to Citizens Advice Benefits Information. Take time to understand where you might find help, then make sure you take advantage of it. Think carefully about how you and your family are spending money.  Changes may be needed after your job loss.

Living with less money may mean changes in lifestyle for all the family; not so many meals out and subscriptions to clubs etc. Make the changes carefully, particularly if they affect your children. Plan and prioritise just like you would at work but engage the family in the choices you make. If you have a mortgage, now may be the time to consider discussing a mortgage payment holiday.

Time to consider just how competent you are!

This is the time to focus on what you are good at and your passed achievements. Elsewhere on this blog there is advice on writing your STAR stories.  Preparing your STAR stories can be a real boost to your self-confidence after job loss. But they are also a great way to prepare to update your CV ready for your new job search.

Time for some enjoyment

When money is short, it is time to get creative about ideas for family and relaxation time. Even though  it is now about long country walks rather than theme parks, it can still be fun. There are lots of free events and festivals around if you look for them – use that involuntary spare time to find them.

Don’t waste time and energy on guilt

Feeling guilty about job loss doesn’t change what has happened. Spend time looking forward because you can change the future.  Don’t be hard on your self. You are one amongst thousands. In any case, you may not have a job but you do have a project and that is you.

Wendy Smith is a career, life and business coach with depth of experience in management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with the life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact Wendy at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com or find out more hereWendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach

Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

Five Tips to Help You Feel More Confident

This is a post I published a few years ago now but I believe it still useful.

Having a healthy amount of self-esteem and self-confidence is something that helps to make your life happier and more successful. Having confidence in yourself and your abilities goes a long way whether you’re facing a tough decision, adapting to a new situation or facing major change. Here are some tips on how to build your self-esteem.

1. Stay relaxed

Staying relaxed in general can help you see the bigger picture and not sweat the small stuff so much. It’s also a good frame of mind to be in when you’re taking a close look at the things you’re not so good at. There are lots of simple relaxation techniques around that can help – simple breathing exercises are easy to learn and really do help. Try this link.

2. Understand your strengths

Everybody’s good at something, and many people are good at quite a few things. Even if you don’t have a talent or strength that you’re aware of, you probably have some interests you can develop into strengths.Make a list of a few things you’re good at and a few things you’re interested in and would like to be better at. Share this list with someone you like and trust – this is a good exercise to do with a partner who also wants to work on their confidence. They can probably help you find other things you’re good at, too, and help you come up with a plan for developing other skills and interests.

3. Realize your limits.

Remember no one is perfect and no one can do everything. It may not always seem this way, but it’s true. So if you are not the chief executive or a millionaire – that’ is OK! You have a personality and a perspective on the world that’s all your own and completely valuable.

4. Stop criticizing yourself. Now!

This is one of the things that stop us achieving our goals and feeling good about ourselves. You are a mixture of strengths and weaknesses just like everyone else.Concentrate on the good bits! If you don’t do well at a particular project or task the first (or even the second time), it doesn’t mean that you never will. Perhaps you weren’t prepared or the time simply wasn’t right. It doesn’t mean that there is something wrong with you or that you’ll never succeed. It is natural to feel disappointed but don’t get hooked on it – let it go and move on. You’ll be that much closer to achieving what you want if you do.

5. Celebrate the good things.

Notice all the good things you do in a day even the small things.Everything – the favor you do for a friend – the help you give a relative – it’s all good.Notice it and give yourself a big pat on the back.Get hooked on feeling good about what you achieve – it will become a habit. You could always keep a celebration journal to reflect on when you are feeling down.  Don’t be afraid to treat yourself when you do something good.

Wendy Mason is the Happiness Coach.  Wendy is a life and career coach and writer. She is passionate about helping people find happiness at work and at home! She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  She believes coaching requires compassion, warmth and empathy. Wendy helps people reach their career goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Make a Change: Champions of Change: Entrepreneurship Mentors

Make a Change: Champions of Change: Entrepreneurship Mentors

This is not a new a video but in March 2012 the White House honored local leaders for their work as mentors to entrepreneurs and small business owners. I thought you might find this interesting and consider what you can contribute to your community

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Career development – Moving Home Part 2 – Prepping for the big move!

Moving Home

Career development – Moving Home Part 2 – Prepping for the big move!

 Moving Home – today we have the second article in a two-part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac, on moving for work and as part of your career development. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.  You can find links to Part 1 and some of her earlier posts at the end of this article.

Article 2 of 2 part series

 Moving Home – Prepping for the big move!

Moving Home – you have a new job – maybe in a new city, maybe on the other side of town – and you’ve decided that you need to move to be closer to work. You decide you’re not only joining a company but you’re joining a community, too.

Moving can be physically and mentally exhausting. You’re not just transferring all your possessions; you’re essentially preparing to live your life differently. And this moving process takes far more than a weekend. You spend time hunting for the right apartment or house, you decide what possessions you’ll keep and what you’ll get rid of and you start saying goodbye to friends you may not see for a while.

Altogether, planning for a move can take two or three months, so you need to think months ahead of schedule. Being prepared will make the entire experience easier.

Costs

Moving Home – along with security deposits and first-month’s rent, you may have to pay for moving truck rental, or for utility deposits at your new location. When you begin the search for a new job, find ways to save money then, before you have to consider moving. Keep in mind the financial pressures of moving, and prepare for unexpected costs. The same way you would save up for a new car or new computer, set aside money from each paycheck that might generally go towards dining out, buying decorations for your apartment or that new pair of jeans. What’s more important: the steak dinner, or a more comfortable bedroom?

Keeping a cool head

You already know that moving involves packing boxes, but it’s more than just that. Being highly organized can relieve some of the anxiety that comes from moving and living in a state of disarray for a short period of time. And following a few simple organization strategies can save you considerable time when you’re ready to unpack.

As you prepare to leave town for your new destination, don’t forget to make time for friends and family. Too often, it’s easy to get caught-up in moving and forget to say a proper goodbye to the important people in your life.

More than stuff

If you’re moving to another state, don’t expect your life to be exactly the same as it is now. How is the weather different in your new town? Will you be shovelling snow for half the year? Search online for neighbourhood information so you know the best restaurants, when trash day is and where to find great bargains.

Tie-up loose ends – transfer your bank accounts and utilities, and file a change-of-address notice with your local post office. Also let friends, family and creditors know individually what your new address is.

Moving home can be complicated. But it doesn’t have to be with real, goal-oriented preparation. To ensure a seamless move, take time to plot your goals well in advance, and make sure you have a system in place for packing and labeling all of your possessions.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specialises in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Career development – Moving Home Part 1 – Lofty Goals: Key Considerations Before Moving To A Big-City Apartment

Career Development – More IT jobs are in the cloud – Getting ready for the job you want in 2013

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

Career development – Moving Home Part 1 – Lofty Goals: Key Considerations Before Moving To A Big-City Apartment

Moving home, what to consider

Moving Home Part 1 – Lofty Goals: Key Considerations Before Moving To A Big-City Apartment

Moving home – today we have the first article in a two part series from our regular contributor, Lindsey Harper Mac, on finding a new place to live when you have to move for career development. Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.  Come back next week for Article 2. You can find links to some of her earlier posts at the end of this article.

Article 1 of 2 part series

Lofty goals: Key considerations before moving to a big-city apartment

It’s dusk and a purplish sky is the backdrop behind buildings dotted with a few remaining office-lights, workers still at their computers. You like this city. Maybe you’re just visiting before moving here for your new job, but you’ve already come to think of it as a buzzing hub, a place to start your future. You know all about the growth the city has seen over the last ten years – the improvements made, the business attracted here, the rankings of “best cities to live in” – and you’re excited to call it your home.

But cities are big places. It’s easy to look at the skyline at dusk and believe you know everything about your city –where to eat, where to go on dates, that great hidden shoe-repair place – and you might think you could live in any neighborhood and be happy, safe. But you should be wise about where you decide to live.

Crime

Every city, no matter how big or small or well respected, will have problems. And you won’t be able to avoid some of these problems – like bad traffic if you live away from your workplace – but you can choose where to live, for the most part. Before settling on an apartment, investigate the crime rate. You can even compare crime rates for two different cities.

If you’re already determined to move to a particular city, you’ll still need to know which neighborhoods are best for you. You can ask your employer for suggestions, if you’re moving to a new city for work.

Transportation

These days, you can find extensive information about public transportation. If you’re moving to a large city and plan to get around primarily by bus, taxi or train, check out the schedules and stops in advance. Determine whether you can safely travel from one place to another, and that you won’t end up stranded somewhere, simply because the buses stop running at midnight.

Renters insurance

Regardless of where you live, accidents and disasters can happen. Even if you’re moving to a city with a low crime rate, you can’t predict the risk of fire or a strong storm destroying your apartment. Make sure you protect your belongings with renters insurance, because your landlord’s policy probably covers only the building in which you live.

When you purchase that new laptop or violin or gaming console, create three prices in your mind:

(1) The price the store assigns to the product

(2) How much you have in your budget for renter’s insurance

(3) How much the product would cost to replace if and when it were damaged or stolen

There are many factors to consider when moving to your first big-city apartment. By taking the time to do a little research in advance, you can ensure that this next chapter in your life is safe, stress-free and rewarding.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Career development – Moving Home Part 2 – Prepping for the big move!

Career Development – More IT jobs are in the cloud – Getting ready for the job you want in 2013

Career Development Part 1 – Why Get An Advanced Degree? The Answer is Obvious

Career Development Part 2: Want a Promotion? Focus on Factors Within your Control

Career Development Part 3: Performance Reviews: Painful or Helpful?

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

Embedding Change

Embedding change

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Embedding change – here are some ways to make sure the change in your organization is successful

  1. Give them the evidence Show people over and over that the change is real. Provide them with a steady stream of evidence to prove that the change has happened and is successful.  Set out to deliver real results at regular intervals in your change process and then tell people about them – don’t just wait for the big bang at the end. Get people involved and then get them to talk about their involvement.  Make sure everyone hears the news.
  2. Financial reward When loyalty and the joy of the job are not enough to keep people, they may need some financial or other rewards.  The promise of future reward may be enough to keep them engaged but make sure it isn’t too far out to be enticing — usually reasonable reward needs to be within a twelve-month timeframe. This risk is that when the reward is gained, you may lose them. If you want them to stay, you may need to keep a rolling “golden handcuff “ system
  3. Build change into formal systems and structures After a while, institutionalized things become so entrenched, people forget to resist and just do what is required, even if they do not agree with them.  So you can make changes stick by building them into the formal fabric of the organization, for example, in standards and personal objectives.
  4. Give them a new challenge A challenge is a great motivator that can focus people on new and different things. Get people to keep up interest in a change by giving them new challenges related to the change.  Make sure the challenges really stimulate them and keep them looking to the future.
  5. Reward people for doing the right things. A surprisingly common trap in change is to ask (or even demand) that people change, yet the reward system that is driving their behavior is not changed. Asking for teamwork then rewarding people as individuals is a very common example.  So when you make a change, make sure that you align the reward system with the changes that you want to happen.
  6. Rites of passage Rituals are symbolic acts to which we attribute significant meaning. A celebration to mark a change is used in many cultures, ranging from rites of passage to manhood for aboriginal tribes to the wedding ceremonies of Christian and other religions. Such ritual passages are often remembered with great nostalgia, and even the remembrance of them becomes ritualized.  When a change is completed, celebrate with a party or some other ritualized recognition of the passing of a key milestone.  You can also start a change with a wake (which is a party that is held to celebrate the life of someone who has died) to symbolize letting go of the past.  Create new rituals to help shift the culture to a new form. Use these, if possible, to replace the rituals that already exist.
  7. Socializing Build your change into the social fabric. A change that is socialized becomes normal and the ‘way things are’.  When something becomes a social norm, people will be far more unlikely to oppose it as to do so is to oppose the group and its leaders. Seal changes by building them into the social structures.  Give social leaders prominent positions in the change. When they feel ownership for it, they will talk about it and sell it to others.

If you have other ideas for embedding change and making it successful, please share them here.

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link

         

>

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Here are some ways to make sure the change in your organization is successful

  1. Give them the evidence Show people over and over that the change is real. Provide them with a steady stream of evidence to prove that the change has happened and is successful.  Set out to deliver real results at regular intervals in your change process and then tell people about them – don’t just wait for the big bang at the end. Get people involved and then get them to talk about their involvement.  Make sure everyone hears the news.
  2. Financial reward When loyalty and the joy of the job are not enough to keep people, they may need some financial or other rewards.  The promise of future reward may be enough to keep them engaged but make sure it isn’t too far out to be enticing — usually reasonable reward needs to be within a twelve-month timeframe. This risk is that when the reward is gained, you may lose them. If you want them to stay, you may need to keep a rolling “golden handcuff “ system
  3. Build change into formal systems and structures After a while, institutionalized things become so entrenched, people forget to resist and just do what is required, even if they do not agree with them.  So you can make changes stick by building them into the formal fabric of the organization, for example, in standards and personal objectives.
  4. Give them a new challenge A challenge is a great motivator that can focus people on new and different things. Get people to keep up interest in a change by giving them new challenges related to the change.  Make sure the challenges really stimulate them and keep them looking to the future.
  5. Reward people for doing the right things. A surprisingly common trap in change is to ask (or even demand) that people change, yet the reward system that is driving their behavior is not changed. Asking for teamwork then rewarding people as individuals is a very common example.  So when you make a change, make sure that you align the reward system with the changes that you want to happen.
  6. Rites of passage Rituals are symbolic acts to which we attribute significant meaning. A celebration to mark a change is used in many cultures, ranging from rites of passage to manhood for aboriginal tribes to the wedding ceremonies of Christian and other religions. Such ritual passages are often remembered with great nostalgia, and even the remembrance of them becomes ritualized.  When a change is completed, celebrate with a party or some other ritualized recognition of the passing of a key milestone.  You can also start a change with a wake (which is a party that is held to celebrate the life of someone who has died) to symbolize letting go of the past.  Create new rituals to help shift the culture to a new form. Use these, if possible, to replace the rituals that already exist.
  7. Socializing Build your change into the social fabric. A change that is socialized becomes normal and the ‘way things are’.  When something becomes a social norm, people will be far more unlikely to oppose it as to do so is to oppose the group and its leaders. Seal changes by building them into the social structures.  Give social leaders prominent positions in the change. When they feel ownership for it, they will talk about it and sell it to others.

If you have other ideas for embedding change and making it successful, please share them here.
Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

Acting with integrity at work

Acting with integrity at work

Acting with integrity at work – here is a dictionary definition of integrity

1. Steadfast adherence to a strict moral or ethical code.

2. The state of being unimpaired; soundness.

3. The quality or condition of being whole or undivided; completeness.

“I have found that being honest is the best technique I can use. Right up front, tell people what you’re trying to accomplish and what you’re willing to sacrifice to accomplish it.” – Lee Iacocca


The most effective way to behave in work and business (including large banks), as in life, is to act with integrity.  Note the definitions above which talk about wholeness, soundness and completeness – this is a definition of health?

That means being as honest as you can and being fair.  As Lee Iacocca says, tell your team the truth and tell them what you are doing about it.  Be a model for honesty, openness and fairness and show that you expect all in your team to follow

Be as realistic as you can about the risks    When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favorites game or, for example, take the opportunity to pay off old scores if you have to  lay people off or reduce hours.  You will lose good will and that extra contribution you need from those who stay.

In the good times share bonuses fairly and for good reasons – nothing is more de-motivating than seeing a colleague who doesn’t really deserve it, getting a bonus. If the bonuses you pay will not stand up to public scrutiny – don’t pay them.

There are major advantages in acting with integrity in all parts of the business in  terms of competitive advantage.

  • The public, and that means your customers, are increasingly concerned about ethical standards
  • Customers and good staff are more like to be attracted and retained
  • Shareholders are more likely to invest in those they trust, now more than ever
  • Staff and your own morale will be higher
  • Your reputation will be something you can be proud of
  • (At its crudest) You stay out of jail and believe me in old age, the money will not make up for the shame.

Here are some ideas for acting with integrity! If you can’t get your head round it, hire someone to advise you on good governance – there are plenty of us around and it isn’t hard to put it in place.

Some principles for making decisions with integrity!

  1. Make sure those in management know how to step back from every critical decision before they make it and look at it objectively.
  2. Understand the risks in your own culture.  Monitor those likely to get swept along by excitement or urgency to the point where they lose judgment .   Personal power, ‘winning’, strategic plotting, high drama, etc. feel good – they are exciting – but they rarely lead to real long-term business advantage
  3. Strive for fairness and the long-term, and not short-term polarized ‘winner takes all’ outcomes that threaten the organization’s long-term survival.
  4. Learn from history and earlier situations. Reviewing how previous situations were handled, reduces the risks of making daft mistakes:  Also history is a superb store of already invented wheels, which can often save you the time and agonies of trying unsuccessfully to invent a new one.
  5. Understand the long-term consequences.  You need to build in time, and structures, to think through what these might be. Try to make sure there are no unforeseen consequences which work to your, and other people’s,  detriment. Ask;
    1.  What do I get out of this? If you directly address how you benefit it’s easier to spot biases and blind spots.
    2. If we do this, what will happen? Play out the effects of the  decision. Be alert to the impact on stakeholders you may not have considered.
  6. Make sure what you do is legal, but think about the spirit of the law as well as the words.  No one really respects or trusts someone who is known to “bend” the law and that includes your customers and share holders
  7. Consult widely –  not just your staff, but your customers, if you can,
  8. Above all, resist the delusion and arrogance that power and authority tends to foster. This is especially important to guard against if you live and work in a protected, insulated or isolated situation, as many large-scale leaders and decision-makers tend to do. Being a leader for a long time, or for any duration in a culture of arrogance, privilege and advantage, provides great nourishment for personal delusion. Many unethical decisions come from arrogance and delusion. Guard against becoming so dangerous.

Acting with integrity doesn’t just help you to sleep at nights but you also stand a chance of leaving a real legacy – someone who is remembered and respected in your community and beyond for a very long time!

Wendy Smith, Career, life and Business Coach
Wendy Smith, Principal Coach, WiseWolf Life and Career Coaching

Wendy Smith is a career consultant, life coach and business coach with depth of experience in organisational development, management, coaching and personal development. That experience means she is equally at home helping clients find a new career direction, starting-up new businesses or dealing with life’s more challenging personal issues. You can contact her at wendy@wisewolfcoaching.com

Wendy has written a little eBook on how to get on with your boss and a book on job search – you can find all her books on Amazon at this link