Friday Five for December 23

During this past week, I have been consumed, both personally and professionally, with interpersonal issues. It seems that God, at times, brings difficult situations into one’s life to grow and mature a person. James 1 says this: “count it all joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, you know that the testing of your faith…. [emphasis added]”. The trials that I face are about my faith as much as anything else. I can honestly say that my faith in the Lord has been matured this week and my love for Him is greater than ever. Providentially, God brought to me a book by Henry Cloud, Integrity. I’ve literally consumed this book. God is using it to show me where my character is deficient and lacking in ability to face reality as it is, not as I wish it were. While challenging, it has been extremely helpful on a number of levels. My Friday Five this week is to lay out what God is teaching me – to lay out the core truths about “embracing the negative” that I’ve learned this week. If you’re like me – a nice guy who doesn’t like conflict – then these five quotes are for you:

  1. No problems, no profit. if you orient yourself to the reality that nothing good is going to happen if you can’t deal with the bad things that are going to happen, then you are ready to have something good happen. If you can get with that idea, then you are in the program. But, if you can’t orient yourself to that reality, nothing good is going to happen, because that reality will not go away. It is still the nature of the universe. It will be true that in your business life, personal goals, and relationships, you will encounter problems. Period. If you are not prepared to meet them and resolve them, then they will be the end of your hopes for making anything work, either personally or professionally.
  2. One key to character is twofold: First, integrated character does not avoid negatives, but does the opposite—actively seeks them out to resolve them. Second, integrated character does not see facing negatives only as something painful, but as an opportunity to make things better and get to a good place. Profit comes as a result of facing problems, so doing it is seen as a good thing, not a negative thing.
  3. The masses enjoy the “comfort zone.” They do whatever is most comfortable, even if it is not going to get them to “profit,” whatever that is. But the winners see putting their arms around the problem as their way to the promised land, and their character will allow them to do no less [emphasis added].
  4. The person in charge of a team or an organization who avoids dealing clearly and decisively with an obviously hurtful person loses the confidence of the other people in the team. The leaders who are respected are the ones who can be depended on to deal with things directly and competently.
  5. “Leaders take ownership of the results and do not try to excuse those or blame someone else for them.” It is not enough for the integrated character to be seen as “having followed orders” if the ship sinks or the company is not profitable or his or her child is flunking out of school. Integrated characters want good fruit. They want things to work, and they take ownership of the results as well as their own performance.
  6. One of the most important aspects of character in life, without question, is one’s ability to confront. It is true that you get what you tolerate [emphasis added]. If the nature of reality is that there are always problems, if you do not confront them and instead tolerate them, then problems are what you will have. I have never met or observed a person with a truly whole, successful wake who did not confront well.
  7. Nonconfronters leave a lot of success on the table [emphasis added]. Problems overcome them and stop them, for their political tendency for “people pleasing” can only get them so far. We have seen some examples of that earlier in the book. To do well, and to treat people well, we must confront the problems we have with them. And not only do nonconfronters leave a lot of success on the table, they also leave a lot of messes in their wake. Those who are affected by their lack of confrontation, and messes that they allowed, are deeply disappointed in them. Confrontation adds structure to teams, projects, relationships, and life. Structure adds security, and in security people thrive. Without the security that confrontation provides, people and relationships languish. Both intimacy and performance get sick and die.

    Cloud, Henry (2009-10-13). Integrity: The Courage to Face the Demands of Reality. Harper Collins, Inc.. Kindle Edition.

Bill English, CEO