• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio

Tuesday, June 29, 2010
What is the calling of work?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Gravity is the most predictable force
Achieve the big goal through noble means

“Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I’ll give you a man who will make history. Give me a man with no goals and I’ll give you a stock clerk.” — J.C. Penney

He is one of America’s all-time businessman-entrepreneur success stories of the 20th century: J. C. Penney created a retail empire guided by sound management and fiscal discipline. Today, his family foundation’s legacy continues, nearly 40 years after his passing in 1971. Perhaps his most curious influence on 21st century retail is found in the fact that he personally trained a young Sam Walton how to wrap packages with a minimum amount of ribbon!

Shaping a company’s growth demands leadership’s one-pointed attention of engaging others in the goal-seeking process. For example, John W. Gardner, founder of Common Cause and author of "On Leadership," once stated: “Leaders constantly conceive and articulate goals that lift people out of their petty preoccupations and unite them in pursuit of objectives worthy of their best efforts.”

Penney and Gardner were two 20th century leaders who carried the common DNA of leadership: the capacity to lead toward a focused outcome! These men demonstrated leadership skills to involve others in positive results. However, the capacity to lead cuts two ways: either toward ethical outcomes serving the good of self and others or unethical outcomes that violate trust with others.

Having a worthy goal is at the center of ethical business. A business leader who inspires his organization to achieve a goal using whatever means available is a leader who will create a product or service that is ethically corrupt. In contrast, ethical business leaders know that every goal is always produced with trust values that serve the needs of all. The trust values are consistency, competency, concern, sincerity and identification. Thus, an organizational goal is only good if the means of its accomplishment are defined by actions that harness the trust values – underscoring actions, not simply sweet, but empty, words.

Mission Integrity Action

Goal clarity and ethical actions are the leadership focus of this week. I mobilize others knowing that means and ends are collaborative partners as I practice my role as a leader of integrity. I keep my ethical compass on True North as I inspire others to focus on the big goal and the noble means. Doing so ensures that my organization’s goals are worthy of trust – everywhere present.

Russell Williams,
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge