Bart Breen's Reviews > The Integrity Dividend: Leading by the Power of Your Word

The Integrity Dividend by Tony Simons
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's review
May 23, 2012

it was amazing
Read in March, 2009

Factual and Motivational

Usually issues like integrity, honesty and ethical conduct are considered things that derive from personal standards and values. Almost every MBA program or advanced degree in business has the obligatory nod in this direction through the inclusion of some form of class on ethics. Through that medium is conveyed the obligatory case studies of Enron and other spectacular failures that testify to the high price paid when corporate greed and expediency rise above basic rules of ethical conduct.

Tony Simons approaches things from a more grass roots and practical direction however. Rather than the abstract appeal to doing right for its own sake that is usually the domain of religion and other moral institutionalize value systems, Simons very simply ties these issues to day to day management and the bottom line.

With very little fanfare and in an organized and scientific manner Simons prefaces the anecdotal presentations that are standard fare for a book of this nature with a study that demonstrates that within the Hotel Service industry there is a direct correlation between the perceived integrity of management and the profitability of a local hotel or chain. In other words, the "street knowledge" that good guys don't get ahead and it's the people willing to cut corners to get the job done who win out in the end, generally is not true and Simon's study statistically demonstrates that issues such as employee morale, vendor trust and customer satisfaction derive in part from a corporate environment that is based in part upon how well these different parties perceive the personal integrity and word of leadership.

From this foundation then, Simons proceeds to share the softer elements turned up in his study in a manner reminiscent of the folksy, chatty type of literature that is standard fare in this genre. What is different however and important to highlight is that Simons has in fact already done the heavy lifting in chapter 1 to show that this is more than mere lip service. A reasonable foundation has been laid that demonstrates that personal integrity, as perceived by these different stakeholders in the Hotel Service industry, ties directly to profitability in a manner that allows of measure of what typically are seen as "soft costs" but in reality are shown to be cumulative and to tie into issues that in fact are hard wired into the process, such as employee retention, vendor willingness to work with extraordinary circumstances right down to customer satisfaction and repeat business even where these background factors aren't usually measured and directly correlated.

Of course, it can be argued that this study is industry specific and these factors perhaps amplified in such an obviously service based industry such as the Hotel and Restaurant focus from which Simons is coming. Simons does an excellent job however of reasonably expanding the base of his study to provide insights and strong cause and effect evidence that extend to where any level of management or leadership in any industry will find value in reading this well written book.

This book is more valuable to the reader than the typical case studies of large scale failures at the high corporate level because it demonstrates in an understandable way how these issues impact your personal effectiveness and your company's bottom line to where a reader will walk away not only motivated but also equipped as to how to bring about change in their personal lives and careers.

5 enthusiastic stars

Bart Breen

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