Verizon’s former CEO – Most Important Advice

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This post is based on my conversation with Denny Strigl. Denny was instrumental in launching the first cellular network in the U.S. He eventually became the president and CEO of Verizon Wireless and helped create that organizations national wireless footprint.

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Denny's book on Amazon

Honesty and integrity seem like inflexibility and harshness to dishonest rule-benders and corner-cutters.

Honesty and integrity, additionally, are not the same thing. Honesty is telling the truth. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking.

Denny Strigl’s most frequent advice is, “Tell the truth. You are always better off telling it like it is and moving on.”

Denny explained successful managers not only tell the truth, they demand the truth. He said, “You can always tell when a manager is blowing smoke. Call them on it.” For example, whenever a manager blamed people on their team for missed deadlines, Denny would say, “Let’s call them in and talk about it.” That’s when the manager started back peddling.

At that point, Denny would say, “I won’t lie to you and you won’t lie to me.” If it happened again that manager would be out the door.

Denny told me about firing the number one salesman on the team for padding his expense account. When approached, Denny’s boss suggested he overlook it. But Denny knew great organizations have cultures of honesty and integrity. He said, “Integrity is the key to everything.”

The investigation took two gut-wrenching months. The salesman was guilty. Denny thought he would be fired for firing the top sales performer but he did it anyway. Firing him sent the right message to everyone. By the way, Denny was honored not fired.

6 Ways managers build distrust:

  1. Lack of openness
  2. Micromanaging
  3. Lack of respect
  4. Lack of integrity and honesty
  5. Self-serving, hidden agendas
  6. Inconsistency

I’ve seen shape-shifters and corner-cutters in organizations. They end up destroying their own peace of mind, demoralizing others, and creating back-stabbing cultures.

Nothing is more freeing and energizing than respectfully tell the simple truth.

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How do you build trust?

Have you seen the negative effects of dishonesty and lack of integrity?

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