• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
If you're leading, who is following?
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
What do I honor?
Be a 'Character Closer'

“You’re not obligated to win. You’re obligated to keep trying to do the best you can every day.” — Marian Wright Edelman

For many baseball fans Mariano Rivera is considered the all-time best relief pitcher in baseball history. Give him the ball with a big game on the line in the 9th inning and he does his best – like no other "closer" in the game. This is what Rivera says about himself when he fails to get the win or save:

“It doesn't matter what the results are in the game. You win or lose, you have to forget about it. Right on the spot. Because you have to play tomorrow, and the game that you're going to play tomorrow is not going to be the same game that you just played.”

Rivera’s mental toughness speaks volumes about why he has been in the Bigs for 21 seasons. But how do his words apply to the daily challenge of men and women getting back into their professional game of life when they have produced a day of ethical ground outs? The fact is: The ground outs are the occupational hazards of good individuals who are committed to doggedly pursuing the Fail into Success Strategy that characterizes every person’s journey of integrity. How so?

In his article, "Integrity at Work, How Do You Stack Up?" Peter Vajda, Ph. D., asked: "On a scale of one (low) to 10 (high), how would you rate yourself in the following workplace behaviors? (a) gossiping (b) making excuse (c) stealing workplace time for personal interests (d) taking responsibility for your piece of the team’s project (e) respecting others (f) taking workplace property (g) being direct, open and honest in your communications."

If you score yourself high on those integrity litmus-test questions, Dr. Vajda suggested you look at more probing ones: "Who or what stops you from acting with integrity? When your personal integrity has regressed, what is the self talk you have engaged in? Do your needs for control, recognition and security stop you from acting with integrity?"

These questions are not meant to tear down an individual who pursues a life as a Character Closer. Rather the questions creatively confront our understanding of the daily challenges of ethically compromised decision making, harmful words, or inappropriate actions that cause us to take a loss as a Character Closer today but not get us thrown out of tomorrow’s game of integrity.

Mission Integrity Action

I choose to be the Character Closer. If I failed yesterday, I move forward today, allowing the ethical failures of yesterday to pass away into today’s new challenges.

Russell Williams,
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge