Archive for September, 2011


See How Transparency and E-Commerce Render Integrity of Greater Value Than Ever

September 27th, 2011
Jim Thomas

The World Wide Web a/k/a the Internet has raised transparency, even accountability, to unbelievable levels. Between 2004 and 2005, the research shows buyers online often visited 10 or more sites before making a purchase.

 Access to Information is easy. It is comparable to an ever-rolling stream that seeps into all cracks, crevices, branches, and estuaries. Sometimes it overflows banks and dams. Dov Siedman, in his book, How, gives an example of what can happen these days when Integrity goes out the window and there is something to hide. The results can be devastating.

 Sideman’s  case in point concerns one David Edmondson CEO of RadioShack. When he joined the company in 1994, the executive fabricated lines on his resume claiming degrees in theology and psychology from Pacific Coast Baptist College in California. In 2006, after just eight months at the top of his profession, he was found out. A curious reporter from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tracked it down and discovered the discrepancies. The head of the company was forced to resign, his business career in shambles.

 What prompted the reporter to take a second look? Her name was Heather Lindy, and she learned of an interesting circumstance. A top executive who was said to have started two churches was scheduled to go to court  on his third drunk driving charge.

 The invaluable, timely, timeless cardinal virtue of Integrity is grounded on the truth. The first question of Rotary International’s esteemed Four Way Test asks “Is it the Truth?” Falsehood, fabrication, the fudge, and the   lie are among its deadliest adversaries. Let all, who will, see their consequences, writ large in the case of RadioShack’s top executive. He is not alone, of course, there have been many others.

 In this age of transparency, with the tentacles of YouTube and other informational devices too numerous to name, reaching ever deeper, Integrity and its handmaiden—the truth—are of greater value, now more than ever.

 Professional speaker, Jim Thomas, and Alliance for Integrity, LLC offer free upon request An Integrity Checklist and An Integrity Credo, for suggested guidance at groups, firms, and organizations. Contact


Separating the White from the Gray:The Essential Sense of Sin

September 13th, 2011
Jim Thomas

Many years ago at a church conference in England, the speaker declared, “The issue before us is black and white.” From the back of the room a lone voice cried out, “No. It’s gray…all gray.”

 In the world of work, everyone encounters circumstances where the right choice is unclear. These are the gray areas, where each fork in the road has its appeal. David Radcliffe, past president of the Southern Company, says this is when we need a sense of sin.

  A sense of sin is the capacity to perceive and foresee that things are not quite right. He analogizes it to seeing smoke in the crowded warehouse, an unmistakable red flag that somewhere in the building there may be a blaze. One’s integrity demands further investigation.

 If the sense of sin goes lacking, we hear such statements as “I really didn’t think it was a problem;” No one will ever know;” “I’m just doing what the division manager would want me to do;” or “I’ll do it differently next time.” These and similar statements frequently signify the wrong choice. They are uttered to make ourselves comfortable with decisions that cannot withstand greater scrutiny. We are considering here conduct that does not break the rules but bends them. Albert Camus said “If you have integrity you do not even need the rules.”

 Says Wayne Sales of Canadian Tire “Making a decision usually means taking the one of two roads. On the path of one lies the basis for doing the right thing at the right time for the right reasons. To take the other road, you have to sit back and spin a story around the decision or action you are taking. If you find yourself thinking up an elaborate justification for what you are doing, you are not doing the right thing.” (As quoted in The Integrity Advantage, by Gostick and Telford, Gibbs Smith Publishers, Layton, Utah, 2003).

 In the gray areas that are sure to arise, a sense of sin calls for questions, reflection, even counseling with colleagues and co-workers. It entails taking the longer view to ensure that one does not choose the fork in the road that breaches a credo of integrity.

 [For a free copy The Integrity Checklist and An Integrity Credo, email professional speaker Jim Thomas at]   



An Insurance Agent Reaps the Integrity Advantage

September 8th, 2011
Jim Thomas

In their book, The Integrity Advantage, Adrian Gostick and Dana Telford relate an incident from the world of insurance. They describe a powerful example of integrity in action and the monetary and professional benefits that can flow from it. Here is what happened.