The Art of Not Being Late

Last week I told you the story about my insensitivity in telling a story about being late to a woman who was late for unavoidable purposes.  I had feared she might have taken it wrong and that wasn’t my intention.  After I emailed her about my concerns – she sent me this story.

“I recently met with a networking contact, an established leader.  I was right on time, and he was there waiting for me.  I casually asked what time he had gotten there and it was 30 minutes earlier.  He went on to say that earlier in his career he had met regularly with an established leader, and every time he arrived, that person was already there.  He would come earlier and earlier, but could not beat this other person to the meeting place.  He finally asked, and that person said that he would never be beaten.  It was his way of showing respect.  I thought that was such a picture of a leader with humility, besides all the practical reasons for being early rather than late.”

I love her story – and being early does indeed embody humility.  We put ourselves second in order to make sure we honor the person we are with when we arrive early.  If we can do it for an airplane, how much more should we do it for someone we either want to develop a relationship with or someone we already have a relationship with.  It’s all about integrity.

I’m late, I’m late…uh oh!

I teach and coach emotional intelligence for leaders.  That implies that I’m really good at it – and the truth is sometimes I am, and sometimes I’m not.   Yesterday morning was one of the “not” days.   I had an 8 am appointment and the woman was late due to traffic issues.  She sent me a message and let me know she was running behind.   Since I had a 9 am appointment at another location, by the time she arrived, we only had about 20 minutes.  As I was preparing to leave, she made a comment about not making me late to my next meeting.   Then, in a complete lack of awareness of how she might interpret the story, I told her a story about a summit I’d just returned from.

About half way through the summit, when many people were returning to their seats late from breaks, the very well respected leader took the stage and told us that any time we were late we were disrespecting the other person.  Being late was a way of saying, “My agenda is more important than yours.”     He did it in a very respectful and caring manner, but still got the point across.  It is unacceptable to be late – and it’s a matter of integrity.   I shared this story with the woman I’d met, never once thinking about the fact that she might think I was aiming the story at her.  That’s a lack of emotional intelligence.  I only thought about it 10 minutes later.

I’ve since connected with her and made sure she knew of my lapse in EI and that the story was in no way intended to send a message to her.  So I gained two lessons – not to be late, and a reminder once again to think before I speak.   Maybe one day I’ll get better at this EI thing.

Honor & Respect vs. You Suck

My husband and I stopped at a restaurant on the way to Indiana last week.  While we were eating, we saw a man sitting at a nearby table wearing a black T-shirt with huge yellow letters declaring to the world “YOU SUCK”.   It seemed to be a statement on how many people view others these days.  Instead of respecting and honoring one another, we get in their face and disrespect them.

Respect is showing regard for the worth of someone regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, faith or sexual orientation.  Respect doesn’t diminish a person for any reason.  The best description of respect that I’ve ever heard came from Dave Buehring, founder and CEO of Lionshare Leadership.  He says there are three reasons we honor and respect one another.

1) Honor and respect due to performance – we earn this and recognize what a person has done or achieved.

2) Honor due to character and integrity – this is also earned and recognizes who the person is in character and that can be trusted to do what they say they will do

3) Honor and respect due to a person’s intrinsic value and worth.  This respect is given and not earned.  It recognizes each human being’s worth in the sight of God.  Because we are made in His image, and have had the priceless blood of Jesus shed for them, they are worth of honor and respect.*

What a different viewpoint from “You Suck”.   The truth is all people matter, no matter what.  What a different place our world would be if we practiced respect and honor.  Who lives this better than anyone you know – who shows honor, courtesy, respect to everyone in their life?

*Information in italics was adapted from the writings of Dave Buehring

What Do Joe Paterno and Juan Williams Have in Common?

Both Joe Paterno and Juan Williams were fired by telephone.  Both had served their organizations and brought name recognition and success to the brands of Penn State and NPR.  Both deserved more respect than they received from their leadership. 

Whether you agree with their being fired, no one who has spent much of their career building the reputation of an organization deserves to be fired by telephone.  Leaders with integrity have the courage to go face to face to the people they’ve decided to release.  It demonstrates dignity and respect – and it keeps those who are still employed from wondering when they’ll be the next to receive “the call”.  Steven Sample, in his great book, The Contrarian’s Guide to Leadership, called it “shooting your own horse”.  A horse owner never asks someone else to put down his horse, and a CEO should never ask someone else to do the firing.   Leadership is about holding people accountable – even when you’ll take heat in doing so.  It’s also about having the ethics and  integrity to make that hard call in person.

Integrity or Hypocrisy?

Integrity is the quality people most want to see in a leader – someone who walks the talk..   The opposite of integrity is hypocrisy. When we make poor choices at integrity forks in the road, the word hypocrite becomes a clanging bell in our mind and soul. Hypocrisy is one of six perceptions of the church today by the secular world (Barna Research:  UnChristian) because we have often failed to walk our talk.    In Matthew Jesus scolded the Pharisees for saying one thing and doing another.  They were the leaders of the Jewish people, and yet eight times in this one chapter Jesus says, Woe to you, hypocrites…and then points out to them their two faced behavior as leaders.  The Pharisees weren’t living up to the level of integrity that Jesus expected of them as leaders. We call them ‘character gaps’ in our leadership – when we behave in ways that do not make Jesus proud. It’s clear that a hypocrite is unqualified to lead others – to higher character or to success.

 Before we point a finger at the Pharisees, we need to look in the mirror as leaders.  When we claim to be a follower of Jesus, we make a statement that we will have integrity by leading like Jesus.  We will balance grace and truth by holding others accountable, we will serve rather than be served, and we will have “ an honest and good heart, and bear fruit with patience.” (Luke 8:15)  We will exhibit His Heart, His Hands, His Head and His Habits.  And we will constantly look for hypocrisy in our words and actions, ask for forgiveness, and look to Jesus as our leadership role model.  A person of integrtiy isn’t perfect, but that person can be depended on to make amends when he or she has lacked integrity in their words and actions.

 In what areas of your life are you saying one thing and doing another?

*originally written for and posted on


Savvy & Skill vs. Character & Integrity

Setting for the Sermon on the Mount

As I mentioned in my last blog, one of my favorite thought leaders is Dan Webster.  Dan has a workbook called The Real Deal – Becoming More Authentic and Life and Leadership.  I’ve lead teams through it and done it personally 3 times over a twelve year period.  It has had a deep and profound effect on how I lead and who I am.  One of my favorite thoughts from Dan is this one:

“Am I impacting people because they admire my leadership savvy and skills or are they impacted by my character and the beauty of my soul?”

 When I first read that question, it had a huge impact on me – making me think and reflect on whether I had substituted image for character and integrity.  While I certainly want my teaching, coaching and consulting to have an impact, I realize that I want my character and integrity to be at the forefront.  I want the larger impact of my life to be because I truly loved and respected others, valuing the dignity of all – because I lived, loved and Lead Like Jesus.

Unethical “Ladder Climbing” in the Workplace

This is a guest blog from a colleague I met at National SPeaker Association UNconference.  Bonnie’s discussion is about a person who takes the ideas of others and promotes them as her own.  In my next blog, we’ll be discussing people who lead out of mutual fear vs. mutual trust.  Nancy

Fear, concern and even intimidation are very real feelings that develop in many work groups.  It’s not uncommon to see a group in which “ladder climbing”, striving, and metaphorically speaking, scratching, is done in order to put one’s needs and desires ahead of others’. I saw this recently in a group where I was consulting.  The operations manager was determined to be seen and heard above all others, to the point of bypassing her co-workers and staff members to achieve her goals. She was known to take others’ ideas and present them to leadership as her own.  What drives this type of unethical behavior? 

 Often unethical behaviors may surface while a group is involved in other activities. In this example, the group was learning how they could work together more effectively, and wanted to better understand their different behavior styles. They had previously taken personality assessments and behavior profiling tools. It had not changed the fact that they were being influenced by one person wanting to have control. This person often overshadowed her boss. She wanted to make sure nothing changed and when she had control, she bypassed everyone else to maintain that. She would push her ideas on others, and failed to see her lack of ethics in doing so.

 To understand behaviors and conflict, we need to look at what’s driving the behaviors. The more aware we are of “what makes us tick”, the more aware we will be of what “makes others tick.” This shows we have concern for each other’s feelings. We can control outcomes of our relationships with others. In my work involving team building, workplace behaviors, and employee engagement, I use the Strength Deployment Inventory, ( It’s an indicator of behavior and motivational traits that help predict people’s awareness of how they affect others. (not a personality profile)

 This establishes baseline information for employees, and gives the team members an understanding of what’s behind their inclination towards ethical behavior (or not). Taking ownership and responsibility for our actions is an important piece of the behavior puzzle. When we use “tools” to better understand our behavior, we can take better responsibility. Being more flexible isn’t necessarily the answer, but respecting others’ views will help. What do you do to take responsibility for your behavior and what are the outcomes?


Bonnie Mattick, speaker, author and founder of Unforgettable Outcomes, Intl, creates exceptional experiences for your employees and the customers they serve.  She will show you how to develop highly engaged, productive employees who are innovative in their jobs, and making connections with customers. She has more than 20 years’ experience in the corporate world, as well as working with such diverse clients in the quick service restaurant businesses, banking operations and government agencies.  Bonnie earned an MBA from the University of Nevada – Las Vegas and an M.A. Ed. from Arizona State University.

Finding Your ‘True North’

Is the life I’m living worth what I’m giving up to have it?
    Have you ever asked yourself that question? I have – lots of times! It’s not easy, but I nearly always end up going back to my ‘True North’ and that enables me to reorient myself and get back on track.
    If you are looking at a correctly calibrated compass, it will always point north. No matter what direction you turn, the compass will remain true to north – True North. For me, ‘True North’ is the deeply-held values that form the foundation for how I live my life and the choices I make. They define my “rules of engagement” when I interact with the world. When I find myself asking the question above, I go back to my core values and align myself to what’s most important in my life – my True North.   
    Several years ago, I spent a lot of time writing my values vision statement. I prioritized the values that were most important in my life and defined those values with specific examples, thus, making my Core Values. From there, I was able to etch out what those values looked like in my daily life, again, with specific examples – this became my Values Vision Statement.
    I keep both of these in a frame on my desk as a reminder of what’s most important in my life. I’m sharing my Core Values and my Values Vision Statement with you as encouragement and in hopes that you’ll do the same.
Core Values
Faith – standing firm in Christ, seeking the things of God first
Integrity – matching my actions to my words and promises, holding myself accountable and making amends as quickly as possible when I fall short
Gratitude – taking time daily to be thankful and appreciate my blessings
Family – having quality time with Bill, kids, grandkids and extended family
Love One Another – seeing all people through Jesus’ heart and eyes, respecting all
Courage – mastering my fears through trust in God
Generosity – sharing my resources, time and talent with those in need
Creativity – innovation, play, balance, finding joy, weaving
Values Vision Statement
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, treating them with respect and compassion. I will walk with integrity, matching my actions with my values. I will spend quality time with Bill and create opportunities to be with family. Whatever happens, I am thankful for all I have been given. I will share my time, talent and treasure to help people grow, deepen and reach their full God-given potential. I will trust God for holy courage as I live out His calling on my life with joy and creativity.

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.