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Lead With Integrity: The Underrated Key to Ethical Leadership – Focus (Jul/Aug 2015)

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Ethics Matters

July/August 2015

The most admired leaders and companies normally have a keen ability to focus. In fact, of the characteristics often associated with leadership, focus is frequently left from the list. However, the ability to focus enables a leader to execute better, meet goals effectively and be more accountable. As we enter into the second half of our 10th Anniversary year at the NASBA Center for the Public Trust (CPT), focus will be a key to our success.

Throughout my career, I have seen variability in leaders’ ability to execute. In most cases, talent was not an important factor in the results. I have seen very talented and capable people and companies fail and less talented ones achieve great success. The successful individuals or companies brought a disciplined, laserlike focus when it mattered most. They executed with success.

Focus also helps leaders achieve and exceed their goals. Often, organizations have strategic planning sessions to set goals, objectives, tactics or whatever they choose to call them. However, at the end of the reporting period, they find they have achieved a variety of things in the period, but fallen short on some or all of their original goals. I know that sometimes business changes drive these outcomes. To the contrary, very often, leaders and their teams are frustrated when they see they would have achieved more and been more effective, if they had focused on their original goals.

The greatest need for ethical leaders to focus becomes personal for us all. When we are focused, we are better able to keep our commitments and be accountable to our stakeholders (team members, clients, family and other partners). The lack of focus ushers us down the slippery slope of failing to meet obligations. Stakeholders expecting deliverables from us begin to question our integrity, interest or commitment when we are not focused.

Focus starts with the leader. I pronounce today, I will be focused on the CPT’s most important initiatives. What about you, leader? Are you ready to complete the second half of 2015 with focus?

— As Always, Lead With Integrity!

Alfonzo Alexander
President, CPT

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