True North produces True Grit




Want to join me in being an integrity fanatic? Over the next two weeks, we’ll talk about what integrity fanatics do –  and how they practice hard call courage. 

 Since integrity is doing what you say you will do, (Kouzes and Posner), figuring out what’s most important to you so you can align your words and actions is key.  It involves some deep soul searching to determine what values are most important to you. Start by listing your top five values – then prioritize the list, so you know which of those values rises to the top.  Then write a brief description of what those values look like in action.  One of my core values is faith – and here’s what that means to me:

I will put God first in my heart and life.  This is evident when I spend time in rest, quiet, in prayer, and when I love others, demonstrating respect and compassion to all.

I look at this statement – in a frame on my desk -every week and ask myself – How did I do?   This and the other values vision statements are my “true north” compass points.   Then I can practice True Grit  – indomitable resolution to do what’s right.

What are your true north compass points?

P.S.   You can go to to download a free copy of the first chapter of The Dichotomy of Power.  It includes an exercise to help you determine your top five core values  



Was it an Accident or a Mistake?

On Good Morning America, coach John O’Connor and player Matt Kravchuck faced each other over the incident in practice at Holy Family University.  Video shows the coach knocking Matt down and then kicking him – and telling him a little blood is good.  On this morning’s show the coach called the incident an accident. 

 An accident is something you could not have predicted would happen and could not have prevented.  Being rear ended by a car, bird doo landing on you, and having your bike skid on a pebble in the road are all accidents.  Mistakes, on the other, are a wrong action due to bad judgment or inattention. Mistakes aren’t pre-planned.  John O’Connor made a mistake – he crossed the line as a coach and the first step to re-earning the trust and respect of his players and Matt Kravchuck is to admit his mistake.  Coach O’Connor says it wasn’t intentional and that is supported by the video. He had an amygdala hijack – when rational thought is swamped by emotions. 

We are too quick in our society to call an error in judgment an accident.  At the heart of integrity is getting our language right – and owning up to our mistakes.  It’s at the heart of being a leader who earns respect and trust.

3 Must Do’s in Social Media


I was at the National Speaker Association UnConference Friday – Sunday and came away with great ideas and amazing content.  One of the best came from Nathan Kievman, CEO of Demming Hill – who said all interaction in social media should do three things:

 (1) Build Trust – Is your social media strategy building trust for your target market?

 (2) Build Credibility – Do your communications consistently represent your brand, who you are?                   

 (3) Eliminate Risk – Do you eliminate risk in their choosing to do business with you?

 It’s all about integrity.  Thanks to Nathan ( a great concept and actionable idea!

“We Don’t Trust Mubarak”

Protestors in the middle of Tahrir Square were interviewed and asked, “Why not settle for Mubarak leaving in six months?”  Their response:  “We don’t trust Mubarak to leave when he says he will.”   Leadership is all about trust and integrity.  If you do what you say you will do(DWYSYWD), if you make the hard calls, then people will follow you up the mountain, down the valley, and through the desert.  Mubarak has a record of breaking promises.  In 1975 when he took power, Mubarak said he had no intention of being president for life.  So much for DWYSYWD!

Yesterday, Mubarak refused to relinquish power.  I don’t pretend to understand the politics and confluences that are roiling in Egypt at this time.  What I do know is that a lifetime of saying one thing and doing another leaves no foundation of trust when emotions churn and boil.    That is why the little decisions of integrity  you and I make every day are of such infinite importance.

Saying One Thing, but Doing Another

I love teaching Leadership Perspectives at Lipscomb University’s Graduate School of Business.  The class does a deep dive into self leadership, completing self assessment in numerous areas, identifying their core values, and then applying what they’ve learned to their life – personally and professionally.  My January class just submitted their reflections paper – and Chris Mitchell gave me permission to post his convicting opening paragraph.

While sitting at the kitchen table contemplating how I would approach my personal reflections paper, my wife, Susan, interrupted my train of thought with an idea she had in regard to my class schedule.  Since we recently found out that she is pregnant with our first child, we are trying to position ourselves to best manage the whirlwind that is about to be our life.  Given this new information, we have accepted that I will miss up to three classes this year.  I had already mentioned that I might miss the last three classes of the program, because that would work out better for my company’s education reimbursement program.  Knowing this, Susan proceeded to note the three classes she thought I should miss and why.  The classes were a bit sporadic and her reasoning was tied to a family wedding, our baby shower, and some other family related activities.  I asked her if those events were important enough to her to lose $4000 in education reimbursement for each class.  She told me that she didn’t want to miss the events, and I again asked her if it were worth losing the reimbursement.  She looked away from me and said, “I guess we just value different things.”  I felt like my Leadership class has just flashed in front of my face.  Here I was preparing to explain how family is one of my core values, and I was putting money first.  Although I know what I value, have I been living my life representative of those values?  Do people look at me and think I place importance elsewhere?  Or worse, do they hear me say one thing and see me do another? 

Great, thought provoking questions for us all.  Appreciate your honesty, Chris.

Til Death Do Us Part – Maybe!

Thirty years ago, I said the words “I do.”  It’s been a wonderful ride!  While we’ve had our struggles, we have been committed to loving each other and working through the hard times.  Last summer I videotaped my parents, who are 91 and 83, in order to leave a legacy for our family.  One of the questions I asked –   “What advice do you have for your kids and your grandkids after 59 years of marriage?”  Their answer was to love each other, talk things through, and learn to compromise.

 This week Oregon State University published a study finding that in 40% of married and non married couples aged 18-25, one partner said the couple had agreed to be monogamous while the other said there was no such deal.  The idea that marriage wasn’t monogamous didn’t even register on my parent’s radar – or mine!  Quite frankly, when I married, I assumed it meant forever monogamy.  “A man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.” (Genesis 2:24)  I also spoke a vow – “to cherish, love, and honor til death do us part”.

 When we speak of the Generation Gap, nowhere is it more clearly illustrated than in this scenario.  The millennial generation now lives in world of commitment phobia.  Mark Sayers says, “ This commitment phobia is a natural byproduct of their coming of age in a hyper-consumerism culture that demands that we act like good shoppers, putting off committing in case a better deal can be found.”   

 My parents had a great deal – so do I.  We have been blessed with strong marriages.  So if we are called to serve with integrity, then our challenge is come along side young people – with caring and respect – so they too can experience a long and wonderful ride!

What We Deserve

Guest blog by Brian Keel

 Gil Meche is a 32 year old right handed pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. Or rather, he was until he recently retired.  The retirement would not have been particularly newsworthy if not for the $12,400,000 in future earnings that Meche is forgoing. With injuries and declining production he simply didn’t feel that returning to the team to collect the guaranteed money was the right thing to do.  He, in effect, didn’t deserve it. While fans of the Royals might agree, and the accounting staff is  doing fist bumps over the improved cash flow, the team would have paid the wages… deserved or not.

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him” Psalm 103:10-11

Talking about what we deserve is risky business.  Our view of the subject is frequently tainted by the difficulty in seeing our own shortcomings and failings.  And when it comes to what we deserve from God?  I’m pretty sure I don’t want to know.

 Thankfully, as the passage above indicates, God is merciful in spite of our sinful nature.  To those who fear (love, are in awe of, have the greatest reverence for) the Lord, he gives his love.  And once you’re on his team you won’t ever be cut, traded or allowed to retire.  That’s the best guaranteed deal you will ever get!

From Nancy:  Meche made a hard call and acted with integrity.  Would you have made the same choice?