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October 28, 2008

About doubt, leadership and blatant Integrity

Doubt is a curious thing. Doubt puts barriers to relationships in place. It's doubt that stops the wheels from turning in an economy.

We live in a culture that's ladled with cynicism. Most people today tend to disbelieve each other and they tend to disbelieve the organizations they deal with. Doubt can be pernicious, eating away at new shoots of growth. And when doubt sets in it can easily become chronic, hard to shift. Doubt can create disease.

It's only blatant integrity that can assuage doubt. Ellen has asked how we recognize it and when is blatant integrity at work?

Blatant integrity is present when people and organizations are comfortable with being held up to scrutiny. It's at work when these people under scrutiny welcome the opportunity to cushion and overcome objections because they're more interested in creating a moment of truth with you than making an expedient sale.

It's at work when the strength of a business comes from being open instead of being closed. It's at work when a business can take a strong position, clearly and definitively, when it can stand proud and still, when it can be trusted and when it's clear it listens. When it's not going anywhere other than to build an adaptive fit with you.

Blatant integrity recognizes that marketing is about connecting with people and that marketing and business development is about delivering vision as a service.

Companies with blatant integrity are those that put customer empowerment at their heart and recognize that when their customers win, they win. They have business cases behind them that enable this to be a plausible mantra. It's when the success of others figures as prominently in our minds as does our own that the purpose of an organization has blatant integrity as its foundation.

Many companies lack integrity simply because their reason for being isn't big or ambitious enough. The good news is that this is an easy fix, thinking bigger. It just needs imagination, creativity and initiative.

As a strategy for recessionary times this is a good one. R&D has always been a way out of a tight corner. Thinking big and developing blatant integrity are constructive ways out of the impasses and the doubt-ridden economics that are stunting the opportunities that exist for business growth today.

Unique talents are intellectual capital and unique experiences are emotional capital. We're living in an ideas economy and in an age where influence is a new currency in a post-consumer world. Leadership today can generate value by being authentic and transparent, by being 'we' focused as opposed to 'me' focused.

Blatant integrity delivers brand experiences and continuous commercial improvement in ways where everyone benefits, in a way where trust can begin to happen again.

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Anne thank you for building on your point. I love the concept as a nice way to synthesize and solidify the connections between trust, ensuring ideas are big enough, and having the confidence to rigorously incorporate criticism. They all go hand-in-hand, and too often we find ourselves focusing on the parts rather than the whole. Brava!!

Hi Ann - my wife and I run a very small business and the one thing large corporations can do (from my small biz perspective) to regain some integrity is - they need to CARE!

It's awfully hard to build relationships with your customers if you (or your employees) don't care...I actually think that it probably takes less energy and effort to show you care and to let the customer(s) know that they are important. But most just want to take what they perceive to be the easy way.

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