Category: Integrity

“When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham

Power and influence come with success.   But a lack of character cannot stay hidden forever, nor will it preserve power and influence.  When failure comes and it will, character is the difference between a quick comeback and a lonely exile in mediocrity.

Keep an eye on your moral compass.


BloggingGazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“Never trust a man who doesn’t shine his own shoes.” – Alan Alda from West Wing

This quote has stuck with me for years but it’s meaning has only been revealed through time.

I think it’s about integrity.  It’s about people who make it through their own hard work and leadership rather than attaching their success to the efforts of others.  There are those who create value and the rest who try to leverage that value for rewards not earned.

Borrowing ideas from others to create new value in new markets is part of innovation but using other’s ideas to compete with them is a mere copycat.  Compete by doing something different and better.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“It’s ok. But it sucks to hear it on the phone.” – Dr. Who

If you accept a position of responsibility you have to own it.

  • If you sell a product, you have customers
  • If you hire people, you have employees
  • If you raise venture capital, you have investors
  • If you make a profit, you have the Government

Even though starting your own company lets you be the boss, it does not mean you get to run away from responsibility.  In fact, it amplifies it.

There will be bad news.  You can’t hide it because it doesn’t go away.  The people you’re responsible for deserve to hear it from you; directly and in person.  It’s hard but it’s supposed to be.  Some will understand but many will not.  Bad news can be a shock and you’ll get the blame regardless.

Integrity isn’t defined by the good times.

Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“We’re all naked underneath” – Dr. Who

This quote found it’s way into three conversations last week.  Each time the person was anxiously anticipating a meeting with someone of influence and power.

Despite all the egos, positions, wealth and cultural trappings that serve to distinguish ourselves from each other, people are still people.  Unless you’re a jerk, there is no reason to be anyone else but yourself (although there is research to support that jerks are generally unaware they are jerks so the principle still applies).

During times you are the focus of attention; the board meeting presentation, the performance observation, the funding pitch, the oral book report – these are really opportunities for you to continue the narrative of your life.  That is, you get to tell another part of your story.  Make sure the story is yours and not someone else’s you invent.

And give yourself a break.  The outcome may not go your way for a slew of reasons which you have no control.  Stress will only keep you from being you.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“I would rather be the man who bought the Brooklin Bridge than the one who sold it.” – Will Rogers

You’re going to screw up.  It’s wired into your DNA.  You don’t have perfect information and a boundless amount of time. Mistakes will happen.  Bad decisions will be made.  Then there are the tough decisions that have to be made, which end up hurting people.  Like when you have to downsize or invite a bad hire to exit the bus.

But there’s one thing that should never be questioned, for sale or otherwise discounted.  That’s your integrity.  Tough decisions can hurt everyone, including you but you must make them for the good of the customer and the sustainability of the company.  You may not be able to make the right decisions all the time but you have to try to make them for the right reasons.

It won’t make sleeping that night any easier but when you look back, you’ll be able to say “it was a good ride”.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson

“Why is there never a big red button?” – Dr. Who

We all want the obvious answer.  We want all the customers to agree.  We want the big bold sign to tell us which direction to take.  We want to know in advance what will happen.

When it’s big decision time, we want the big red button; partly because of the fact that we need rituals to emphasize the importance of the moment, but mostly because we want the clear binary, black and white scenario where we know what happens if we push the big red button.

But it’s never that way.  You can’t know the outcomes, one choice over another and you can’t collect enough data to make you comfortable making the decision.

The best you can do is be true to your core values and make the decision based on the best data you have available.  Then you have to own it. If you’re wrong, fix it or pivot, but don’t sit around assigning blame.  Move on.

You’re going to be wrong a lot.  That’s the way it is.  You probably won’t even be right half the time but that’s usually good enough.  Sailing never follows a straight line.  It’s a series of moves and counter moves that gets you where you are going.


Blogging Gazelle is published daily by Shawn Carson


“I don’t mind a handshake agreement as long as it’s in writing.” Vig Sherrill

Trustworthiness and integrity are important.  But there are many reasons why a deal can go wrong.

Miscommunication is among the chief reasons.

Treating every agreement with a legal document causes all parties to be clear about the expectations, deliverables, and responsibilities. It doesn’t always involve expensive lawyers but there should be a tangible record of the agreement…

…especially when it involves money from friends and family!!!!