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A Lesson About Integrity... From An Unlikely Source.  

Years ago, Domino’s Pizza consumer research said that people were willing to trade good taste for speed and convenience.

In other words… bring it to my house, do it quickly, and I’ll forgive you if it’s not the best-tasting.

But that has now changed.  Have you seen their TV commercials the last couple years?

They show customers in a focus group criticizing the pizza.  The CEO, on camera, admits it hurt to hear, but they committed to re-inventing themselves and creating great-tasting pizza customers deserve.  As a result, they’ve changed their formula — crust, sauce, ingredients — the whole nine yards.

An interesting tactic… telling the truth… even when it reveals a flaw.

While many leaders and businesses cover up their mistakes and problems, Domino’s blows it wide open by admitting them to a national audience.

It’s paying huge dividends for at least 3 reasons:  Telling a painful negative truth about yourself…

(1) Is the right thing to do and people appreciate it…

(2) Is disarming and pre-emptive because of the willingness to be vulnerable…

(3) Is welcomed by people’s forgiving nature.

Oh sure, critics will argue it’s nothing more than strategic manipulation, not genuine honesty.  Phooey.  Ignore the naysayers… someone will always question your motives.

Honesty is the right path for parents, teachers, coaches, CEOs, department heads, managers… leaders of all ilks.

I remember after the Gulf War, Gen. Schwarzkopf said that back when he was giving media interviews and press conferences, he knew Saddam was watching CNN, but he told the truth anyway, because he couldn’t lie to the American people.  Of course, he didn’t reveal things that would put soldiers at risk, but he told what he could.  He said he wanted our citizens to trust their military.

How can you not respect that?

Syndicated radio personality Clark Howard, who gives money-saving tips to consumers, has a tab on his web site titled “Clark Stinks Podcasts” where you and I can replay broadcasts of his most-criticized advice.  He willingly posts these.

Ya gotta love it.

Dishonest leaders lie, cheat and cover up for many reasons.  To avoid penalties, to maintain admiration of followers, and to retain their positions, to name but three.

But when a leader steps forward and admits, “Here’s where I went wrong”… or “I made a mistake when I”… or “This was not my finest hour”… that’s integrity talking.

Actions For You:

Pretty simple:  Let integrity ooze from every pore… ruthlessly tell the truth… and don’t be afraid to lay your most humbling weaknesses or shortcomings on the table.  The best never compromise on this.    

Power Thought:  “In looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities:  integrity, intelligence, and energy.  And if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”   Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway.


Want More? To learn about Rick Houcek’s full range of strategic planning retreats, goal setting workshops, keynote speaking, leadership training, and books/CDs on peak performance — specifically for entrepreneurs, CEOs, presidents, senior executives, managers, team leaders, and other high achievers — visit — or contact Rick Houcek at 770-391-9122 or

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