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Are you an Integrity Nazi?


What you need to know to judge your and other's performance (especially post COVID-19).

“I’ve nailed my job this last few months… and what do I get as a reward? Another accountability of course. I’m not complaining of course, but when does it end?”

I’ve been talking a lot about integrity and workability recently – it certainly raises a few hackles – so I’m going to say one more thing about it.

Many of us make a fundamental error in our relationship with integrity – we get the hierarchy of what’s most important upside down!

I wrote last week about the three levels of integrity and how who people are BEING is vastly more important than whether or not they got something done or not. This raised a few questions, especially in this environment where getting things ticked-off on time can have real flow-on effects.

We know this because as soon as you show you can get stuff done, people give you more to do.

The answer to my friend's questions at the top of this is: there is no end-point because,

“…you will never get it all done because we’ll always give you more!”

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So, what's the problem?
The problem comes when we hold ourselves to account for getting it all done when we never will. We are so often integrity Nazi’s with ourselves but we’re getting it all backwards.
As we enter the “2nd Dip" of the COVID-19 Recovery (see HERE for a piece on the Recovery Curve) many high-performing leaders have or are rapidly reaching ‘saturation-point’. 
They can’t actually DO anymore and they’re making themselves wrong for it. I keep telling them “you’re looking in the wrong area” which means they are putting too much value of the least valuable level of integrity (doing) when what they should be doing for themselves is actually what they naturally do for everyone else: look at who they have been being through this process.
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Quite a few people I speak to, coming from this place, start to realise just how much ground they have taken in their ability to lead and support others (and delegate… which means trust – next week I'll be writing on how we get to trust a bit mixed up too  - it's not earned, it;s a gift we give and withdraw).
Instead of looking at our ever-growing to-do lists, we should be looking at who we’ve been being through this whole experience and judge ourselves (and others) from that perspective.
This goes back to the idea that the COVID-19 Response has been acting like a giant management consulting firm, sweeping through our organisations and changing everything.
However, unlike McKinsey or the Boston Consulting Group who focus on transforming the Mechanistic systems, processes and structures that make our organisations work, COVID-19 has been transforming the far more important Organic foundations that make our organisations grow (see HERE for a piece on the New Leadership Task and Organic vs Mechanistic Recovery and if that's not enough, HERE is a one hour conference presentation I did recently on this topic)
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I have been delivering short, 2-hour seminars for recovery teams in organisations
This is to help people think about and facilitate both kinds of recovery: organic and mechanistic (click HERE if you want to see the “Resurgent Recovery Primer” and  HERE if you want to book a chat about it).
I say this because a leadership focus on being helps reconnect people and heal relationships (which is an organic approach to recovery) while a focus on what gets done reflects a mechanistic perspective and, important as it is, won't catalyse a resurgent recovery or foster the amazing cultural norms that I promise are emerging in your business right now.
Those great leaders that are showing up during the COVID-19 response process (often in unexpected places) are doing-so because of who they are being. They’re being responsive, accountable, flexible, empowering, energetic. You can load them up with more and more stuff because they’ll keep leaning-in and stepping-up.
Will they get it all done on-time? NO, because you keep giving them more. However, because they are being responsible you know they can be counted on to fulfil the second level of integrity which is to communicate fully when they realise they won’t get something done. If you're really lucky they'll go the next step and think through what they will do instead.
  This last step is an act of pure generosity that is often missed.
People who communicate everything that is relevant and could impact you are thinking from your perspective. This means you can adjust, mitigate and … most importantly, trust them!
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Photo by Jules Bss on Unsplash

So, here’s the questions to ask yourself
Are you holding yourself to the wrong standard? Is there a more fulfilling and honest benchmark of your (and others) leadership than that?

Also from this place, I invite you to look at your colleagues again and see who is really showing up as great leaders in this brave-new post-Covid world.

I reckon there's some pretty amazing new stuff showing up, the question is: are you quiet enough to see it?