Posts Tagged ‘integrity’

It’s a question I get asked so often and the answer is really simple. Having clarity about what your values are and why they are important to you makes decision making easier, makes you stronger and most importantly it lets people know that you have integrity and consistency.

In today’s uncertain world knowing that someone stands for something counts for a huge amount. We often talk about the concept of Brand You in business today. Brand You is not just about your logo, or your title or your profession or even your business name or how you look. Its all of these, but in addition, what it really means is that everything you do and everything you say, positive and negative, is part of Brand You.

When you are crystal clear on your values it is much easier to stay in integrity and not allow anything to taint your brand, simply because you know who you are and what you stand for, and perhaps most importantly, who you stand with. Because if you say one thing, and then endorse people who stand for its opposite, your brand is instantly tarnished. 

This might be hard at first. You might have to upset some people and you might have to change a few allegiances. You might feel you are missing out on opportunities and losing touch with the “cool” crowd. You also might feel vulnerable, letting people know who you really are and what you stand for can feel really scary at first. You might feel exposed and all alone. But in the long run it’s much less stressful than pretending to be someone you’re not, compromising what you believe for the sake of expediency and living your life on shifting sands.

In the long run like attracts like and you will draw to you others who share your values. Leaders do what they say they will do and by doing that they attract other leaders to help them.

So do you want to be in with the cool crowd? Or do you want to run with the leaders?

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No! Not that kind! He’s quite cute and cuddly compared to the Klingons I’m talking about.

The Klingon is a new kind of Energy Vampire. Its actually an evolved Energy Vampire but not in a good way. And beware – any Energy Vampire can evolve in to a Klingon at any time, but especially when you put them under pressure.

The Klingon is the Energy Vampire who just won’t give up. It doesn’t matter what you do to them, you can ignore them, you can confront them, you can get them therapy, you can be mean to them and they still won’t go away. They will call you, leave you messages, emails and be very careful – they will also use your friends and family to get to you. Some Klingons have even been known to fake illnesses just to get your attention back. They’re like annoying giant mosquitoes but you can’t just swat them or spray them with PiffPaff!

Don’t fall for any of it! Do whatever you have to do to keep this Energy Vampire at bay. Tell them you’ve left the country, change your name, move house. Tell your friends you are being stalked by a lunatic and whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for it!

Another one of their tricks is to tell you they’ve realised the error of their ways, had therapy and will be on their best behaviour for ever more. Don’t believe a word of it. If you have to be polite, tell them how happy you are that they’ve got things sorted and then block their number.

The problem with the Klingon is it’s panicking – it’s lost its source of energy and is going to do whatever it takes to get it back. No trick is too dirty for the Klingon. And if it does get it back it will hang on so tight next time you won’t know which way is up.

In fact this is how new energy vampires are created! The Klingon will feed off you so much that your only way to survive might be to become one yourself!

The only way to get rid of this persistent creature is to starve it of energy and don’t engage with it in any way whatsoever! It might take some time but eventually it will find someone else to suck dry.

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OK I know that’s probably not what you wanted to hear!

We all want to believe that winners get there because they are lucky or naturally talented or they knew the right people or because they knew some magic “secret” that no one else knew. But the truth is that whenever you look closely at anyone who is really succeeding in life you find out that the harder they work the luckier they get.

Real winners know that in order to achieve lasting success sacrifices will have to be made. Real winners know that they will have to work really hard, often when they would rather be doing other things and often when they are really tired, frustrated, sick and broke. Real winners know that stress is part of the deal and that if they want to stay successful they are going to have to find a way to deal with stress rather than collapse with a nervous breakdown and let everyone else take the strain! Real winners know that lasting success takes time and they are prepared to stick with it until the job is done.

The thing is that not everyone has it in them to be a real winner. The sad truth about life is there are winners and losers and the winners generally win because they have put in more time, more energy, more effort, more thought, more passion. And sometimes they put all of that in and still don’t always win because, like it or not, life isn’t always fair.

But winning is not just a one time thing and if you consistently put in the time, the energy, the effort, the thought and the passion, over time you will find yourself so far ahead of what you believed possible you will know that it is always worth it.

You never know when you are going to make that breakthrough. But even when you make it, only your best effort will pull you through to true lasting success. So isn’t it worth making your best effort a habit?



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People often accuse me of being idealistic when I talk about how businesses should function in the 21st Century. I’m very happy to say that its true because lets face it, why would anyone set goals or visions for their future based on anything other than their ideal world?

And anyway, business as usual has not exactly produced great results for a lot of people. Its not a sustainable way to live or work and if we are to create a better world for our children we need to start taking responsibility for doing things differently. There is no point in whining about how hard things are unless you are prepared to change from within. We’re well into the 21st Century now so its time we acted a little more evolved! I call it Business As Unusual.

In an ideal world all businesses should be run with the intention of enriching everyone they touch. They should be ethical and honorable and they should strive to lift up their profession instead of trying to beat down the competition. In an ideal world there is no competition because there is more than enough business to go round. And why should anyone have to spend their precious time working in a niche they are not truly passionate about? In an ideal world there are no competitors, only collaborators – other people who we know are brilliant at what they do who we can refer business to with complete confidence because we know that they will do the same for us.

In an ideal world people are willing to pay for brilliant service because they know they will get value – and we know this because they share the same values with us. In an ideal world we know that enriching the people who supply our businesses ultimately enriches our business. In an ideal world people are not just looking to score a quick buck but to create powerful long term relationships and provide exceptional service.

In an ideal world we only work with people who share these higher values and we hold each other accountable to the highest standards. We work together to share ideas and knowledge and grow together to create a better future for us all.

I’m working towards creating that ideal world. Are you?

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I remember this poem from my childhood. My grandfather had a book of Rudyard Kipling’s poems and he used to read them to me whenever we went to stay with him. This was his particular favourite. Now I think of it he must have been a very aware gentleman because he always changed the gender when he read it to me!


 If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master,
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it all on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

                                                           Rudyard Kipling


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Have you noticed how some people can tell you endlessly what absolute geniuses they are, but how few of them actually achieve anything?

Talk is easy but actually delivering takes hard work and effort. And the people who talk the talk can be a huge distraction, especially when you honestly believe their tales.

They are definitely a form of energy vampire because they can suck you dry, promising you the earth while you chase them down trying to get them to actually do anything. They’ll have every excuse in the book lined up when nothing actually happens and inevitably its someone else’s fault!

So how do you deal with them? It can be difficult because they’re not easy to identify. They are often very skilled at the talk part and can suck you in quite convincingly. In fact if they put as much energy into the “walk” as they put into the “talk” they might well be genuinely successful! And often you really want to believe them because they seem to offer you the solutions you need.

So lets look at indentifying them first.

These energy vampires will always tell you how busy they are at every opportunity but when you ask them exactly what they’re doing they get a bit vague on the details.

They will tell you that they are world class experts in their field, but no one else in their field has ever heard of them.

They will tell you they are passionate about their subject but they jump from project to project like frogs on speed.

They’re very quick to tell you that you’re doing something all wrong, but they’re really short on solutions.

If they do have solutions they’ll involve starting everything again from scratch and doing things their way, almost always at huge expense.

They’ll promise to turn up but they will never make meetings and their phones will be mysteriously switched off when you try to track them down. And when you finally catch up with them they’ll blame their PA or claim their granny was sick when in reality she died 20 years ago!

They will tell you how successful they are but they drive an ancient heap and live in a dodgy part of town.

And here’s the real clue – if they were really as fantastic as they tell you they are, they probably wouldn’t tell you! Truly successful people rarely feel the need to boast about their achievements.

So how do you deal with them. Well, if you’ve identified them I would suggest you don’t deal with them at all because they will never deliver and you will lose hair trying to make them!

But if somehow you did get sucked in, the best way to slay this particular vampire is to constantly check up on them, constantly question them and constantly demand results.

You know, some people do talk a lot and still deliver, but the energy vampires will be scared off very quickly by being made accountable!

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The most important question you can ask yourself when you start a project is “Why?” Its surprising how few people really do ask it at all, and if they do they look at it on a very superficial level. This is usually because they have decided to do the thing without really focusing on how it really fits in with their overall plan. And they know if they look too closely they’ll probably find it doesn’t fit at all but they’ve already decided they want it! Any of this sounding familiar?

Its a bit like going shopping and buying a pair of trainers, a sequined top and a set of new mugs for the kitchen. And then you come home and complain you haven’t got a full outfit! Its all a bit haphazard and even if you truly needed all these things in reality you only got something useful by accident!

The thing is, if you have big goals then you have to use your time and your energy carefully and strategically. So it makes sense to be really clear about why you are doing what you’re doing and to make sure that it really is keeping you on track towards your goals.

So why are you doing this thing? What are the consequences of doing it? What are the consequences of not doing it? What does your world look like when its achieved? What are the results you are expecting? How much closer to your goal does this result bring you? Is there an alternative or better or easier way to get the same result?

Sometimes the only reason you can think of is because you WANT it. That’s absolutely fine, there’s really nothing wrong with that. But you do need to be very clear that that is your reason and don’t try to make up justifications!

Your ‘why’ is like the foundation for your goal. If your ‘why’ is strong and deep then all the actions that come from it will have the same integrity and you will be unstoppable.

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Its a sobering thought that all of your actions and all of your behaviour is being observed by the people you interact with and everything you say or do, good or bad, adds up to make the “Brand You”.

Having been at the receiving end, indirectly, of some particularly unethical behaviour today, it amuses me to think the person responsible thinks he is being smart. Does he really think people don’t notice that his business ethics need some serious attention? If you behave in an unethical manner people will not want to do business with you. Worse than that, like attracts like so you end up associating with people for whom that kind of behaviour is not only the norm, but is encouraged! In a small town like Dubai that is just plain stupid!

I love this quote from Richard Bach – “Live never to be ashamed if anything you say or do is published around the world “. It might be tough but its a standard worth aiming for!

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A friend put a message up on Facebook a couple of days ago asking how people thought he should react to a business rival who was bad-mouthing him. Now my immediate reaction was to suggest kick him in the ankles and run away! But it is a serious question, how do we deal with people who just don’t play by the rules?

For the most part I would say just don’t give them any energy or attention at all. They are simply not worth it. The minute you engage with these people you bring yourself down to their level. The truth is if people feel they have to play dirty then they probably don’t have a lot else going for them. Either that or they don’t know how else to play. You could, if you were feeling generous, spend your precious time and energy teaching them how the world really works. But wouldn’t you rather spend that time with people who get it already?

So what if they are taking business from you? The business they are taking is probably not business that will be useful to you in the long run anyway. The quality of your business is dependent on the quality of the decisions your clients make and if someone decides to do business with people like that they have already demonstrated that they make bad decisions! Remember the rule – like attracts like! Let the cheapskates and the dishonest and the cheats play with each other, then they’ll have less time to bother the rest of us!

Stay true to your own values and integrity, and the right people will be drawn to do business with you. And remember that old saying “Never wrestle with a pig, you’ll just get dirty and the pig will enjoy it”.

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Wikpedia defines integrity as “a concept of consistency of actions, values, methods, measures, principles, expectations, and outcomes. In ethics, integrity is regarded as the honesty and truthfulness of one’s actions. Integrity can be regarded as the opposite of hypocrisy, in that it regards internal consistency as a virtue, and suggests that parties holding apparently conflicting values should account for the discrepancy or alter their beliefs. The word “integrity” stems from the Latin adjective integer meaning whole, complete.”

Obviously to have true integrity first we must have awareness of what our values are, which was what yesterday’s exercise was all about. So now let’s look at what it means to always be acting from integrity.

Once you are aware of your values system, it makes decision making much easier because you can check every decision off against your list, much the same way as knowing what your true purpose is. Values are not the same as purpose – values refer to how you act. So two people could have very similar life purposes, but their value systems could be very different so the way they live their purpose will be very different, and their vision and goals will also likely be very different.

That’s why when you are creating a team its important not just to have a clear and powerful purpose, but to be aware of the values of the team as a whole and of the individual members. Having a common purpose is fantastic but if the team members have very differing values  (and they will!) their ideas of how to manifest that purpose may cause conflict. That’s not to say that having team members with different values is a bad thing, the more different your team members are the more powerful the mastermind is because there are more unique connections it can make. But team members have to be aware and not just tolerant of their differences but actually appreciative.

So integrity comes from always living and acting in accordance with your personal value system. When you are doing this life goes a lot more smoothly, you attract the people you need to help you, you are less stressed and you will have an ability to deal with challenges much more effectively. You will also be more confident in your decision making and less likely to second guess yourself.

I love the fact that integrity comes from the Latin for whole or complete. It also means strength. If you are coming from a place of integrity you are automatically stronger and the people you interact with will sense this and have confidence in you.

If you’ve ever tried to be someone you’re not you will know how hard it is to maintain that facade. Its hard work and its stressful and it is not susatainable. Well, living out of integrity is exactly like that, its really hard work.

So make life easier for yourself and your team by always working with integrity in congruence with your personal value system. That way you can stay in flow and thrive!

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