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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Toil upward in the night
'Choose the Right Yardstick'


“Life is relationships; the rest is just details.” — Gary Smalley

Dr. Clayton Christensen – a renowned academic, consultant, multiple author of best-sellers on business leadership and a man of religious faith – was invited to speak to the Harvard Business School’s class of 2010. It was a mountain-top presentation as he masterfully wed business-leadership principles to life-management skills.

Christensen’s sixth and final bullet of wisdom, "Choose The Right Yardstick," was his pearl of great price.

“The past year I was diagnosed with cancer and faced the possibility that my life would end sooner than I planned," he said. "Thankfully, it looks as if I’ll be spared.

“The experience has given me important insight into my life. … I’ve concluded that the metric by which God will assess my life isn’t dollars but the individual people whose lives I’ve touched. I think that’s the way it works for all of us. Don’t worry about the level of individual prominence you have achieved; worry about the individuals you have helped become better people. That is my final recommendation.”

Framing personal and professional success is focused far more on the relationship skills of standing with others than standing above others. This subtle insight reveals the bedrock need of every individual to make significant connections with others while discovering and exploring their bond with God.

The business-leadership platform that provides compelling opportunities for learning and living this insight is found in the Servant Leadership Model. Recently, it was my good fortune to interview such a leader, Dan Rogers, president and CEO of Goodwill of Orange County. Rogers is the example of the leader who walks beside others not only to be an encourager in another’s challenges but a mentor who inspires others to give life to their dreams. As Rogers shared, servant leadership is not about positional authority within an organization; potentially, it is present everywhere and with everyone.

Mission Integrity Action

Leadership voices like Rogers and Christensen understand their life mission: Use the right yardstick to build relationships that inspire the pursuit of excellence in the lives of others.

On this week’s journey of integrity, be ready and alert for those moments of connections when you put the yardstick of connectivity to work as you guide, partner, laugh, teach, listen, challenge and learn from others.

Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org