Integrity: Lex Luther vs. Forrest Gump

Which is worse - A or B?

A. A person with intelligence and without integrity.

B. A person with integrity and without intelligence.

Basically, if you only had these two options, would you rather have a team full of Lex Luthers or Forrest Gumps?

PLI Teachers/Trainers - Have your students discuss this question within the context of the current U.S. economic crisis. The part of Lex Luther is played by Wall Street traders/analysts and SEC officials and the role of Forrest Gump is played by your average, everyday investor and middle to low income home buyer. Key terms to research: sub-prime mortgages, credit default swaps, and AIG.

Good follow-up questions:

1. Which is rewarded more in today's society, Lex or Forrest and why?

2. How do we create leaders that are strong in both intellectual and moral prowess? Provide historical and local examples of leaders who had/have both.

3. Why is it so difficult for humans to be strong ethically when large sums of money come into play?

4. How have they personally been impacted by the current recession our Lex Luther Leaders put us in?

5. Who should ultimately be held most responsible for the crash of the mortgage industry? Lex for creating such a risky environment or Forrest for choosing to live in it (knowingly or unknowingly)?


Teaching PLI: PLI Required Reading List

There is a great new book titled "The 100 Best Business Books of All Time." The authors have put together a fabulous collection and did a great job in the book of summarizing the main points of these classics and new-classics. I personally have my reading to-do list done for the year, as I have only read 31 of the 100.

The other great benefit of this book to our PLI teachers and trainers is that it inspired a "PLI Required Reading List." This list certainly isn't all-inclusive, but it is a great place to start to get your students doing some out-of-class, non-curriculum PLI reading.

Again, the following books are all in Jack and Todd's new book. So, you can get a quick synopsis of each by reading their new book. Click on the ^ after each to go directly to that book's 800CEOREAD page, where you can read about the book and/or buy it. If there is more than one book listed in an Essential, I put an * to donate the one I would recommend most.

Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will^
What Should I Do With My Life?*^

Questions of Character^

The Art of Innovation^
The Innovator's Dilemma^
Orbiting the Giant Hairball*^
The Creative Habit^

Wise Judgement
The Power of Intuition^

Service Mindedness
(This being a business book list, there isn't a book about service leadership. All the service books listed are about customer service.)

Goal Processing
Getting Things Done^

Skill Assessment
Now, Discover Your Strengths^

Emotional Maturity
Emotional Intelligence^

Fostering Relationships
How to Win Friends and Influence People*^
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team^
The Team Handbook^

Masterful Communication
Made to Stick*^
The Story Factor^
Never Give In!^

Following is a list of the books that I would recommend you have your students read, but they just don't fit nicely into one of the Ten Essentials:

The Leadership Challenge^
Leadership Is An Art*^
The Leadership Moment^
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People^


Skill Assessment: Your Career Insurance Policy

No matter what condition the economy is in or what misc. talent/information/skill set you might be currently lacking, if you are these two things you will always be in demand:

1. A hard worker.
2. Fun to be around.

Processing Questions for PLI Curriculum Teachers/Trainers:

1. Why is hard work always touted as a key to success? Produce at least one historical case study and one case study from your circle of friends, family members and/or community members.

2. Is "being fun to be around" really valuable if you are involved in serious projects, activities, jobs, etc.? Defend your opinion.

3. What careers have historically been the most "recession-proof" over the past 50 years? Which ones will be over the next 50 years? Site your sources.

4. How are you personally on the TRAX Scale with being a hard worker and being fun to be around?


Skill Assessment: Shining a Light on the Torchbearer Concept

A Torchbearer is a passionate and highly-skilled organizational ambassador. Their "organization" could be personal, professional or third-place in nature.

(Third places include hobbies, associations, volunteer efforts, etc. Anything not directly associated with their home life or their work life. Starbucks if you will.)

The list below breaks down the seven defining characteristics of a Torchbearer and includes strategies for moving your staff, volunteers, or student leaders away from the dark side and closer to the bright light of the Torchbearer world. Some of them are pre-filters (I.e. - while picking your people, look for these qualities.) Some of them are developmental in nature.

A Torchbearer...

1. Is thirsty for helping organization grow.
Powerful Torchbearers are servants. It is in their nature to help others for the sake of helping others. Although the basic behaviors can be taught, the internal "servant compass" is developed from a young age. Look for people who have it.

2. Owns a strong allegiance to organization.
Pure allegiance is a powerful force. Think soldiers. Think father-daughter relationships. Think a person of faith. You want people who will stick with your organization through the good, bad and ugly. The mechanisms of allegiance include self-interest, loyalty to relationships, shared experiences and common values and beliefs. These are all emotional elements. How are you making an emotional connection with your people?

3. Values and fosters relationships within organization.
Of all the allegiance elements, the relationships piece is the most powerful. People may join organizations because of material gains, but they voluntarily commit blood, sweat and tears because of relationships. If you are trying to mobilize a volunteer staff, don't send out a form letter to the membership body. Get ten inner-circle folks to each call thirty Torchbearers-in-Training they either have a relationship with or are willing to form one with.

4. Gains part of identity from organization.
Where do you see this in every day life? An NFL football game in Pittsburgh with thousands of fans waving their Terrible Towels. 3:00 pm at a middle school with every mini-van plastered with stickers announcing their children's academic accomplishments or sports team affiliation. Anyone accessorized in clearly designer bling-bling. These folks are all visually and vocally proud of their connection with their sports team, 13-year old or Prada shoes. You need to ask yourself, what are the personal benefits a member of your organization would receive from being vocal and visual with their affiliation with you and have you provided them the means to do so? I.e. - how can you be upset about no one shouting your message when you keep all the megaphones in the closet?

5. Clearly understands role in organization.
One of the simplest ways to get someone engaged in your organization - give them something to do. The clearer the instructions and the amount of time/money/skills they will need to do it, the better.

6. Knows and believes in organization's core values.
If we refer back to the allegiance elements, we see that common values and beliefs is a driving force in getting people to go to battle with you and for you. Common values and beliefs are so foundational to the DNA of an organization, that many times we forget to shout them from the rooftop. If you are going to really get the best from your Torchbearers, you need to constantly remind them of the deeper, wider and more significant reasons why your organization and their work for it are, not just important, but vital.

7. Speaks positively about organization, its leadership and members.
This final characteristic is very similar to the servant-minded one - either someone is in the habit of talking positively or they aren't. Research actually states that our optimist/pessimist nature is both ingrained in our DNA and a function of the environment of our early developmental years. Find people who are built with a positive bent. A price cannot be placed on the value of the subtle and forceful work they do to bring other people into the fold. However, even the most positive soul needs something to say. It is your job to continually push the good news of your organization and ideas on how to use them.

Google the books The Tipping Point, Tribes and Bowling Alone for even more great info on this topic area.



Processing Questions for PLI Teachers/Trainers:

1. What are organizations are you a member of and do you know: why they exist, who formed them, when they were formed, what are their greatest strengths, what are their great shortcomings, and what role you play in each? List all six answers for each of your organizations.

2. When we think about "organizations" in the context of Torchbearers, why do we include not only tradition school-based, community-based organizations, but also peer groups, your family, your hobbies, etc.?

3. Read one of the above mentioned books, write a 5-minute speech on the biggest lessons you learned from it and deliver the speech in class.


Fostering Relationships: How to Motivate the Unmotivated

Your official strategy for dealing with someone who "isn't motivated"...


1. Identify what you mean by "isn't motivated" for the person. What exact actions are they not displaying that you wish they did?

2. Ask yourself these questions...

  • Do they know they are supposed to do those actions?
  • Do they know how to perform the actions in the manner you expect?
  • When was the last time they were reminded of those actions?
  • Are there clear reasons why those actions are important, necessary, valuable, etc.
  • Are there clear guidelines on what will happen if they don't do those actions?
  • Are there regular or irregular sessions between you and the person to discuss their movement from where they are currently to where you wish them to be?

3. Your strategy for dealing with the "isn't motivated" will come directly from your answers to those questions. They either aren't clear on what is expected of them, there isn't a clear reason for doing the actions, there aren't clear repercussions for not doing the actions and/or no one is coaching them to get from point A to point B.

Motive to act is ALWAYS driven by self-interest. Even actions by the most selfless, giving, Mother-Teresa like person in the world. Your great task as a leader of your people is to figure out which of their self-interests you can tap into clearly, gracefully, leaderly.

Just a few Self-Interests to consider...

  • Respect from Others
  • Contribution to Team
  • Achievement of Goals
  • Self-Image
  • Job Security
  • Friendships
  • Money
  • Social Status
  • Avoiding Pain
  • Gaining Pleasure
  • Love
  • Safety
  • Personal Well-Being