On Corporate (and Personal) Integrity

“People attempting to write a mission statement for the first time often write to please or impress someone else. They don’t go the distance or pay the price to create a deep inner connection. Their mission statements become a series of platitudes, a ‘to-do’ checked off the list and filed somewhere for occasional inspiration.” So wrote Stephen Covey, A Roger Merrill and Barbara Merrill in the 1994 book, First Things First.

Character requires Integrity. Integrity requires identifying, defining and complying with a set of personal values. Personal values are NOT copied without thought from someone else’s homework. For all the Codes of Ethics decreed and disseminated from Mount Olympus, an individual must do the work required to discover their own virtues. They may match the tablets of stone, or they may differ a little. But blind compliance with someone else’s dictated values system is no more an example of personal congruence than that shown by U2’s Bono, who demanded greenery from the world while sending his hat on a First Class flight across the Atlantic.

To be frank, I think I’m seeing that all over the world, now. For all the positive intent of the less violent anti-racism activists, the constant reporting of corporate self-flagellation is kind of wearing.

The companies who avoid paying tax despite billions in profits, telling me how socially aware they are? Platitudes.

People saying we should ‘have a conversation about’ an issue, whose meaning really is ‘you have to listen to and agree with me or you’re a …..’. False prophets.

Luvvies feigning shame over something they haven’t done or aren’t remotely responsible for? Bandwagon.

Companies introducing Unconscious Bias training and banging on about it? Marketing.

Character – true character – does not need explanation, marketing, or platitudes. It doesn’t have to be seen to join a movement – it is a movement all of its own. It sells itself, no budget required.

When an individual takes the time and puts in the effort to identify, define and then live by their values, they don’t need to make public statements. What they say, they do. What they believe, they are. There is no incongruence, no hypocrisy. One person, one set of values, one set of behaviours.

So I’ll admit that when I see Sainsbury’s, Ben and Jerry’s and the BBC’s efforts to enlighten me, I find the cynic in me asking, “Where were you before the 25th of May? Are you enlightened, or just pretending to be? If the latter – what are you afraid of?”

And since their errant hypocrisies are constantly being brought to light – Sainsbury’s admitting they have a racial pay gap, the BBC having a gender pay gap, Bono using up half the National Grid to light his face up on stage – I ask myself “Who the hell are you to preach to me?” I suspect many others feel the same.

God knows I am not perfect. But I don’t pretend to be. All I am doing with these posts and my books is trying to find, as much for myself as for others, how people could be better. I don’t tell people what to think – I invite them to ask themselves the questions to which they can find their own answers. Not what to think – but that they can think. For themselves.

Help me help others – and help me to help me.

Keep me honest, make me accountable. And find someone who can make you accountable, too. But for the right reasons and in the right Way.

Go to Amazon for a preview

The Only True Pride – is Pride in the Truth



As we all sit at home obeying the advice, or sneak about defying the impositions placed upon us, we must all be wondering what the heck is going on at the top. We seem to be watching the Leader of the Opposition both supporting and attacking the Government in such a way as to be able to one day say, “See, I was right all along” because he’s playing both sides of the Lockdown argument while not being responsible in any way for the action that has to be taken. He’s a bit like the crowd of fat, XXXL team shirt-wearing, pie-eating experts in the stands at a Premiership football match, who all know they could’ve done better than the millionaire on the pitch while safely avoiding any exercise that reflects that expertise.

Which made me think about the Second Resolution as it relates to Competence and Character, and their opposites – the negatives of Pride and Pretension. On first seeing Pride as a negative you may be forgiven for thinking that Pride is a good thing, but in this context we are talking not about the sense of peace when we do a good job, but about excessive pride. This is the pride that prevents us acting with integrity when, having made a mistake, we refuse to acknowledge it. It is the pride that also makes us try to cover up that mistake, but that is outside the scope of this brief article.

What I see in politicians today is both disagreeable, and understandable at the same time. They exemplify ‘pride and pretension’ in the sense that they bluster and blather while insisting they have better ideas than the other side, while making sure that their position will not result in their being held to account. We know this to be true because the opposing ideologies are so obviously present – otherwise the parties wouldn’t ‘all’ be in agreement. But it’s understandable, if not forgiveable, because the minute any principled politician listens to advice and changes their policy – they’re slammed for being ‘forced into a u-turn’, as opposed to thanked for listening.

(Watching both sides of Congress debating the Supreme Court nomination is funny. Watching them arguing that the other side is wrong because the other side is doing what the first side did last time, after the other side opposed it, is quite funny. Attacking the other side for finally agreeing with you, while changing your own mind? Not at ALL partisan.)

This element of Pride is the sin of ‘Being Right’ regardless of incoming data. It’s about blind following of your preferred ideology even when you know, inside, that what you are doing is incongruent and undermines any integrity you claim to possess.

When I imagine the parties discussing “We’ll say that, because it means they’ll have to do that, and then we can claim that….”, I cringe. That is playing both sides against the middle instead of clearly deciding – and declaring – what is right. Now the mind-blowing bit – that applies even if they ZRE right.

Truth serves itself – it doesn’t need deception to justify its existence.

The other thing about telling the truth is that you don’t have to make up defences. You don’t have to tell another lie to support or cover the first. Gary King (http://garykinglive.com/truth-challenge/) talks about how research suggests that for every lie told, you have to tell seven more to cover it. And as per the Siphonaptera and its fleas, each of the seven lies has seven more little lies on its back to bite ‘em.

Exercising excessive pride to the extent that you lie – and ‘lie’ includes exaggeration and ‘being disingenuous’ to use the politicians’ obfuscation against them – is not good debating, positive strategy or justifiable in the (any) moment.

So stop playing games – we can see right through you, Mr/Madam Representative.

When over-focusing won’t work.


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“The key to meeting an unmet need is in addressing, not ignoring the other needs.” Stephen R Covey.

It is widely acknowledged that we humans have four needs. Various writers have jiggled with them, added some, changed the terminology and so on, but for the purpose of this article I’ll use Covey’s four – the physical (food, drink, rest, exercise), the social-emotional (relationships), the mental (intellectual growth) and the spiritual (meaning). Covey opines that so often, when one of these needs is unmet we tend to address that gap it by only focusing on that area – for example, by exercising passionately when we need to lose weight. This can work, of course it can, but what about the other needs that are being minimised or even ignored while you sit and sweat on the exercise bike? Are you ignoring your spouse? Are you moving forward on your other, important goals? Are you ignoring professional development? Are all these areas suffering because of your manic focus on the ‘one problem’ you have identified? The answer is often Yes.

To the same degree, I decided to explore The Three Resolutions. In my book I describe how they present a progressive self-development from self-discipline and self-denial, through competence and character, to the achievement of a self-identified purpose through service to others.

I consider they confirm Covey’s thinking. My life’s experience is full of examples of people who focus in one or two areas identified in the Resolutions, and yet remain oblivious to the fact that their singular focus in one area prevents them becoming the best that they could be. (Of course, I also have examples of great successes who, coincidentally, demonstrate compliance with all three.) Athletes who excel – and then we find they used performance enhancing drugs. Amazing singers – whose hypocrisy about green issues gets laid bare when they buy a plane ticket for their hat. Dedicated politicians – whose expense claims render them untrustworthy.

For me, as for Covey – and I’ll be candid and say I ain’t no perfect example either – the finest expression of greatness is seen when all Three Resolutions are addressed, and when all three are addressed simultaneously. When we utilise our self-discipline to empower our competence, which is founded in great personal character, and serve others for a worthwhile purpose.

You can train in each area separately, but success in each enables success in all of the others.

So, just as Covey suggests with his needs, consider this: when you have a problem or personal challenge, don’t just think which ONE of the Three Resolutions you need to address: think how you could address that issue with all three.

Not fit enough? Don’t just hit the bricks (discipline) – research fitness (competence), train with and help others (service), and do so with dedication (character).

Don’t know enough? Don’t ‘just’ study (discipline) – carefully identify what you need to learn and set about it (competence), resist others’ invitations to take unnecessary breaks (character), and teach as you learn (service), which enhances that learning.

Want to serve others but don’t know how? Consider and understand your needs, capacities and competencies (character/competence), identify what service you can provide (purpose) and then learn ways of using that before allotting time (discipline) to providing the optimum service to the best effect.

You can be the buffest, prettiest, strongest, fittest, shiniest narcissist in the gym – but you won’t get the respect you’ll get if it’s all about you.

Exercise all the Resolutions. The best among us have shown you this works.

Why you should share this post.


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The challenge with LinkedIn and the Coaching Industry is this: I believe that most of the people on LinkedIn are, judging by their posts, pretty much where they want to be. They have the jobs they want in the fields that pull them. The posts I read are often swollen with justifiable pride at an Award, ‘delight’ at obtaining a new role, and gratitude for having experienced an old one as they moved on. That underpins the professionalism that LinkedIn is expected to reflect, surely?

Occasionally a poster seeks advice or help, but in the main they are marketing or they are demonstrating personal pride. Me too – there’s no judgement in that last sentence. So this is a message for all of our fellow professionals on LinkedIn.

What about your employees and peers that aren’t yet where they want to be? And what about your other roles? Do you need coaching/advice in their regard?

John Allan, architect at Stirling Castle, raised a stone upon which was inscribed the legend, “Whate’er thou art, act well they part.” It was widely thought this was a quote from Shakespeare but apparently not. It has inspired great leaders, regardless of where it was derived. But it isn’t about work alone. It is about all of your roles.

Back to the posters. Now and then, a post appears on my feed where someone has arrived at or pulled through a challenge that isn’t related to work. And that is the great leveller, isn’t it? Everyone on LinkedIn is a professional.

And everyone on LinkedIn has a life outside of their work. And everyone who works with or for a LinkedIn ‘name’ has the same challenges and issues as we members.

Allan’s quote reminds us that we play many roles in life, and that we should dedicate our ‘professionalism’ to all of them. We know of great actors and scientists and politicians whose personal lives were a mess – they played one role with aplomb, but bombed elsewhere.

One of your roles as a professional is your ‘job’. the other roles are trainer, mentor, team-mate, administrator. Your personal roles include brother, sister, son/daughter, spouse/partner, home-maintainer, finance manager – I give up, you make your own list.

And it pays us to be good at all of those individual roles, doesn’t it?

Going back to coaching – I know you might read posts such as mine and enjoy them. (Or not.) But your role as a mentor and colleague and yes, family member, behoves you to consider passing the content on to those you love, respect and empower. They may not be on LinkedIn: they may not feel as empowered and successful as you and may just appreciate the content of coaching posts because of that – and they may appreciate you for making it known to them.

Don’t look at a coaching post and think “I like that”, and/or “I don’t need it, though”, and stop there. Share it amongst your peers and hierarchy – sideways, up and down. Somebody might just see something they need at just the time they need it.

That is a service you can provide at the click of a button. Don’t just Like – SHARE.

You’ll be acting one of your roles very well indeed.

For more, go to threeresolutionsguy.com or visit HERE for the book, The Three Resolutions.

Here we go again? GREAT!!


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What have you achieved during the ‘first’ COVID Lockdown period?

How you define ‘achievements’ in the question I leave up to you. You may choose work-related successes, which will include how you adapted your working practices to address the restrictions and the (yuk) New Normal; you can list any charity or community efforts you undertook; you can rattle through the personal development you made.


You can consider the lack of initiative you might have displayed in any or all of those areas. You can now consider what you could have done. You can think ‘I could’ve’ (not could OF) and ‘I should’ve’ and ‘I might’ve’. And you can wallow in the self-pity that ensues if you did nothing to take advantage of the developmental opportunity that this pause could have provided.


In my area, several local authorities have been re-locked down. (In fact, Cardiff is technically under siege as it is surrounded by locked down unitary authorities.) There are constant rumours, even expectations that another national lockdown is a-coming our way. A second pause-button that you can press and decide ‘What can I do in this period of change?’

I’m lucky. I have no formal occupation other than writing and blogging so I had massive amounts of discretionary time. Oddly, I still have a 9-5 mentality and regularly ‘pack in’ at tea-time. Weird.

But in the period since March I have:

  • Lost 35lbs.
  • Increased my cycling – time and distances travelled.
  • Attended umpteen free webinars to stay on top of my game.
  • Sorted out some home-environments.
  • Written The Way.
  • Edited Three Resolutions. (Okay, I finished that just before it started but it needed a proof read.)
  • Rewritten Police Time Management (still doing that).
  • Had two mini-breaks with the extended family during the eased-off hiatus in the Pandemic Panic.
  • Refocused my mind.

And here we find ourselves at the cusp of another, allegedly 6-month lockdown opportunity.

The Three Resolutions ‘commitments’ provide a framework for consideration of exactly what you can do to take advantage of the gap. You can reinforce your self-discipline by choosing to eat less and exercise more. You can redefine your personal values and your congruence or incongruence in terms of how you behave in their respect. You can learn new stuff, or you can study the old stuff you need to know in order to do an excellent job. You can revisit your sense of Purpose and decide if what you are doing is right for you, while simultaneously considering what service, or what better service you can provide to others – either through work or in a voluntary capacity.

Or you can just accept the entropy that doing nothing engenders. You can actively pursue the self-redundancy that ‘just doing enough’ causes.

Which is the right choice? You KNOW it.

Now DO it.

The Great Advantage


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“To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom,” said Socrates. Wise fella.

But you should take into account that while knowing yourself is desirable, it is neither the sole objective of self-analysis, nor the sole result. You can know yourself but you have to want to do that for a reason (purpose, for example). And once you know yourself there is a kind of added benefit.

To identify that benefit, consider this question: “Unless I understand myself, how can I expect others to understand me – and to understand others, myself?” In my latest book, The Way, I describe a process for discovering your personal values and rules, those states of being and definitions of what is and isn’t ‘right’. Not ‘right’ in the legal or even moral sense – they are matters for you – but ‘right’ in your own mind and soul. These values and rules are the reasons why other people annoy you, and why you feel guilty when you act in a way that you know isn’t ‘right’.

Having discovered your own values, you also discover that other people have values and rules – and they can be (often and routinely ARE) different to yours. They may use the same words, but they define their values and set their own rules for interpreting when they are or aren’t, or someone else is or isn’t, ‘compliant’.

That’s why, for example, as a time management and personal organising nutcase I get absolutely tampin’ mad (serious tampin’ – no g) when my beloved wife doesn’t display quote the same levels of effort in their regard.

Look at your own personality conflicts at work or in the family – are they merely the result of seeing things differently – of placing different levels of importance on stuff, or playing by different rules?

Once you know you have values and rules and others do as well, you are most of the way to understanding others better, and to being able to communicate at a higher level. Instead of (as we all do) listening while rehearsing our pithy comeback or superior argument, we try to fully understand the meaning of what is being said – the hidden, unstated concerns and motives.

That’s the problem with Twitter. You have 240 characters on a digital page to express an opinion. People read what you write, think they understand you despite having never met you, and make a conclusion – but a conclusion based on their values, paradigms and conditioning. They don’t read what you mean – they read what they have decided you mean.

Good reason for not getting involved.

Take some time to consider what is important to you, and then define that exactly. Recognise as you do so that what is important to you is not necessarily as important to others, even if they say they value the same thing. They may define it differently, or they may place that value on a lower rung in preference for something that is more important – to them, if not to you.

Shameless plug – my book The Way deals with this in 150 pages of observation, explanation and encouragement for a reader interested in discovering exactly what it is they’re ‘about’. Which gives you an advantage over anyone who hasn’t the foggiest idea.

Hitting the Sweet Spot


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It’s been a while since my last blog entry, mainly because of a focus on a review of my time management book for former police colleagues. In the meantime I have made a few personal breakthroughs which reflect my own adherence to the philosophy of The Three Resolutions, as described and explained in my book of the same name.

I have lost over 35lbs in weight during the lockdown by dieting and using the infrequent good weather to cycle. The two efforts have synergised and now I can ride up hills a lot easier than I could at my baby elephant weight.

I completed my review of the aforementioned Three Resolutions, addressing a few edit errors and making some paragraphs a little easier to read. The fun part was re-organising the Contents page and paginating it, which will make it an easier ‘dip-and-read’ project for anyone who thinks they might benefit from a (relatively) simple but honestly hard to execute lifestyle philosophy.*

I also wrote and published The Way, a 150 page tome on identifying your personal values, and designing a life of integrity with purpose rather than one where you think you are (and might actually be) living with integrity but can’t be sure because you haven’t truly identified what you’re in integrity with.

And I went on a family holiday for a bit.

Now I am back at it, blogging, writing and teaching others who need input on what they have identified is, for them, a better way. And as I do that, I get better as well. Coaching/teaching/training is a mutually beneficial activity if it is done right. If it only serves the teacher, the motive is wrong. If it only serves the student, the teacher is in the wrong job. When both get better from the experience, a sweet spot is well and truly hit.

Where is your sweet spot? Are you doing the best job you can do, a job you truly love (even if bits of it cause neck ache), which serves others and is therefore, by definition, your Noble Purpose?

If you are – you’re already enacting the Second and Third Resolutions. Good on you. Now buy my book and understand why that is, and how you might be able to get even better at what you love.

It’s cheaper than 3 pints of cider and lasts longer. If you prefer the cider, you fail the First Resolution ‘test’.

Have a great week!

*Anyone who believes the words ‘simple’, ‘easy’ and ‘ultimate’ in a book title or description is probably also easily distracted by shiny things.

This book, here. Available at Amazon.

Why I write what I write.


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“Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.” Louise May Alcott

I sat in my chair this morning, wondering whether the books that I write will ever receive the attention and interest that I desire – all writers want to be a ‘success’ – and then I read the above paragraph and realised that success or not, writing my books is personally rewarding and informative.

When we write, there is a lot ourselves in the result. And not necessarily the ‘us’ that existed when we set out to create, but the ‘us’ that we became as we went through the process of researching, drafting, refining and finalising what was finally put into the public domain. I know from my own crafting of The Three Resolutions that I have become more disciplined, congruent, competent and other-people centred than I was when I began exploring the concepts.

Zig Ziglar felt the same when he wrote ‘See You At The Top’. He tells in its pages of how he weighed several dozen pounds more than a personal development speaker and writer ought to, and part of the writing process was to slim down and get fitter so as to be seen to be what he professed he ought. Yes. I did that, too. Think of me as the less fundamentalist equivalent of that ex-smoker who evangelises at anyone who lights up.

So while I would welcome some interest in my philosophical and practical musings on self-leadership, and my experienced and researched counsel on time management for police colleagues, I haven’t in any sense failed just because I’m not as famous as Stephen Covey and David Allen.

I won’t achieve their levels of success and brilliance. But I can aspire, like Alcott, to do my best to apply what I have learned and about what I have written. If only because of my firm belief that what I learned – about the principles and about myself – make the whole effort worthwhile.

What are you doing to get even better than you are?

Available HERE

Seven Habits – Day 17 – Habit 7 and Conclusion


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Habit 7 is the Habit of Renewal, hence the epithet ‘Sharpen the Saw’. It is a metaphor for ensuring you’re sharp enough to keep working, rather then getting and staying blunt through poor and excessive focus on the P of th P/PC Balance discussed in week 1. How do we sharpen ourselves then?

Most importantly, we need to do so in all four human dimensions.

Physical. You achieve and maintain a healthy weight so that you aren’t dulled by excess. You eat wisely. You exercise to help the body act optimally and for as long as needed (endurance, strength and flexibility). You get enough sleep and try not to poison the body – the only tool through which you channel everything about you.

Mental. You read in your field, and more broadly where possible, so as to improve your intellectual capacity to apply different ideas, and to be creative. You make sure that you aren’t made redundant during what Covey later called the ‘professional half-life’ of about two years, that period being the point at which, untrained, your competence halves.

Social-Emotional. You maintain and improve relationships, both with others and yourself. Your self-esteem is important, provided it doesn’t grow into a huge ego. This is arguably the easiest part of you to renew because you are doing it constantly as you live your life around other people.

Spiritual. You discover your personal values and reflect on how to live in their accord. You ensure you find meaning. Even if that isn’t in work, you seek out and discover that which fills your heart – passions, hobbies and above all, service to others.

Renewal is in Quadrant B/2 – it is important but never urgent, so you have to act upon it. You have to plan your weeks so that you get the renewal done – with the exception of the social dimension that happens all around and all the time, the rest of it is down to you to arrange.

Try to synergise. Train at work, using work’s resources (physical, mental, social). Exercise with friends and family (physical, social, spiritual). Go on a nature walk and reflect upon your mission (social-emotional, physical, spiritual). The possibilities are many, and all serve you and your ability to live a principled, productive lifestyle.

Renew – stay relevant, happy, productive and ‘on purpose’.

That’s the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People down from 340+ pages to about 14. I have really edited down a synergistic, whole-life approach to the life you design because you want what’s in it.

Now I really encourage you to go get a copy and read for yourself the wisdom that Stephen Covey himself edited down from 200 years of what he called ‘the wisdom literature’. You would see that it isn’t just a list of to-dos, as many books can be. There is an intellectually compelling completeness to what Covey wrote. You start with learning about a Paradigm and then realise that you’re reading a book where you end up noticing that how you see each Habit affects how/if you apply it. You realise that everything you do well is in your Circle of Influence if you want it to be there – or it stays outside that Circle and just bothers your conscience. And you realise that you have the capacity to act, because you are aware that you can. If you want.

Be careful, though. Through reading and applying this material you might just get what you want. I did.

Good luck.

Seven Habits – Day 16 – Habit 6 – Synergise


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Once you’ve learned to listen and understand better, you can synergise. What is that? Habit 6 – Synergise – is based on the principle of Creative Co-operation. How so?

Synergy recognises a natural truth that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts which, put another way, means that the relationship between the parts is one of the parts, and an important one at that. In nature, you know that one plank can bear a great weight, but two planks properly placed together can support well in excess of twice the weight of the one. Synergy.

Nature is full of examples of synergy – two people can add up to two in a partnership, but  they can create a few more people if they breed! Synergy is in parenting, team games, the classroom – all examples of where the relationship between the participants is great and can magnificently improve the creativity of the sum of its parts.

But sometimes, it needs courage. When two people disagree, even agreeably, then it takes courage and confidence, plus a little consideration, to seek to introduce a synergistic potential to the debate. It requires one party to say, “How would you like to seek a third alternative that is better than the one either of us can come up with?” It takes courage to agree to that, and it takes courage to say, “Let’s hear you, first.”

The two then start a mutually respectful, “I think”, “Ah, but how about” back and forth until the 3rd, better alternative is found.

Synergy is better than compromise = where 1+1 = 1½. Compromise is for when there is a lack of trust between the parties involved. It’s the best that ‘enemies’ can come up with if they have equal power.

That courage and consideration mentioned earlier is in your Circle of Influence. It requires seeing (paradigm) the other party as an equal, worthy of deep respect. It also requires seeing that there can be an alternative – imagination, which is one of your human endowments addressed n the first few posts.

And sometimes, particularly in these days of polarity in debate, the bravest of us all can start the process of reconciliation and solution by saying, “Good, you see things differently. Tell me more.”

As Covey opined, when two people agree totally, one of them is unnecessary. Creative co-operation requires different viewpoints if it is to work, but it also means recognition that one may be superior to another, and that there may be other ways that have yet to be explored.

Synergy is the fruit of Think Win/Win (root) and Seeking First to Understand (the shoot).

As we come to the last Habit – Sharpen the Saw, you will come to realise that the 7 Habits themselves are an example of synergy – all the Habits have great value in and of themselves but when they are applied together in our daily lives they can identify, create and work for outstanding and effective results.

Habit 7 – the Principle of Renewal, is an essential, foundational Habit that serves and supports execution of the other six.

But can it also be ‘stand alone’? We shall see.