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THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND: Leading By The Power Of Your Word

By Tony Simons

Publisher: Jossey-Bass · Publication Date: October 2008 · Price: $27.95 · ISBN: 0-470-18566-X

Tony Simons has taken the “commonsense notion of doing what you say you will do, tested it in the real world, crunched the numbers, and discovered something profoundly meaningful to businesspeople . . .(if) you do what you say you will do — your business will make more money. You will also be more trusted, more powerful, more personally successful; have more loyal and committed people; and be more at peace with yourself.”
Jim Kouzes, from the foreword to THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND



Tony Simons, Expert On Trust In The Workplace,
Reveals The Traps That Undermine Credibility
And Explains How To Make Integrity Pay

It seems like common sense that the integrity of leaders is key to their success and the financial success of their companies. But no one has ever proved that this is true. In his new book, THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND (Jossey-Bass, October 2008), Tony Simons, an expert on trust in the workplace, reveals the results of an in-depth study he did with thousands of employees at a U. S. hotel chain. He proves that integrity is truly a bottom line issue. His book also includes excerpts from interviews with dozens of successful executives from industries as diverse as hospitality, high-tech manufacturing, financial services, waste disposal, and healthcare who discuss integrity problems that every manager faces.

To put it simply, Simons has found that employees who believe that their managers can be counted on to keep their word, show deeper commitment to the business, leading to lower employee turnover and superior customer service — which in turn results in higher profitability. “Leaders’ consistency between word and action supports employee trust and gives them clear direction,” he explains. “It promotes engagement of employees hearts in their work, which leads to a host of discretionary contributions, from enhanced initiative to problem solving to customer service. It trickles down through the organization to create a leadership culture of integrity. . . Behavioral integrity also increases the strength and efficiency of relationships with customers, suppliers, and unions.” All of these improvements can be expected to show up on the bottom line as “the integrity dividend.”

Yet, keeping one’s word and practicing one’s stated values on a daily basis is extremely difficult to do. For most managers, real life interferes and managers unwittingly undermine their own credibility. In THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND, Simons helps readers understand the factors that drive — and impede — integrity, including mission statements (as often a minus as a plus), company cultures, leadership hierarchies, communication habits, and personal discipline.

Simons points out that not only must leaders be credible, but they must be seen as such. Employees bring their own “baggage” of expectations and past hurts to the task of interpreting their boss’ actions. Unfortunately, when employees misunderstand their boss’ request, they typically blame. . . the boss. Therefore communication has to be ultra clear. “When you take the subjectivity of perception into account, the leader’s already challenging task of maintaining credibility is made all the more difficult,” says Simons. He has filled THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND with exercises that managers can use to analyze their own levels of integrity; recognize how they are perceived by those around them; and enhance the power of their word.

“Preserving credibility and maintaining people’s sense that you live by your word means avoiding casual overpromises and respecting the weight of your words. It means openly acknowledging your uncertainty, the limits to your ability, and other awkward truths. . . Communicating this way is not automatic for most people. It has to be learned and practiced,” writes Simons.

Some people say that talk is cheap. But when it comes to leadership, talk can be very expensive. When leaders or managers speak and then do not “walk their talk,” it costs them credibility. And credibility makes or breaks companies. THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND helps leaders understand the true value of this attribute and shows them how to put it to work.



Tony Simons is an Associate Professor at Cornell University where he teaches organizational behavior, negotiation, and leadership. He is also a business consultant and speaker who focuses on trust in leaders, executive team member trust, and trust in supply chain relationships. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago and his masters degree and doctorate from Northwestern University.



Organizational Management Expert Explains How To Avoid The Common Pitfalls That Undermine Integrity And Hurt The Bottom Line

Dear Producer/Interviewer:

“I’ll look into that.” “I’m watching out for you.” These are common phrases used by CEOs and managers on any given day. But according to organizational management expert Tony Simons, author of THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND: Leading By The Power of Your Word, it’s this kind of casual overpromising that can undermine a leader’s credibility and ultimately have a negative impact on the success of an entire organization.

“In our efforts to maintain social harmony or simply look good, we can unwittingly undermine our behavioral integrity,” Simons, Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at Cornell University, explains. “By learning to speak awkward truths, acknowledge uncertainty, and embrace conflict, leaders create a foundation for cultural integrity that can dramatically affect employee trust and productivity — ultimately increasing the bottom line.”

In an interview, Simons will share the results of his in-depth study with thousands of employees at a major U.S. hotel chain, as well as real-world insight from senior executives and business coaches, which prove that a leader’s personal integrity drives profitability. He will explain how clear communication, concrete commitments, and personal discipline enables top executives to inspire their employees loyalty, give them clear direction, and enhance everything from problem solving to customer service. He will also reveal:

  • Why leaders should promise less, and do it more often,
  • The importance of acknowledging one’s limits as a manager or leader,
  • How to communicate with intention and clarity, and
  • Eight behaviors that contribute to a leader’s personal discipline of integrity.

In addition, Simons will answer the following questions:

  1. What is the integrity dividend and how does it impact the bottom line?
  2. You surveyed employees at 76 Holiday Inn franchises to determine the impact of behavioral integrity perceptions on the financial success of each hotel. Why did you choose Holiday Inn?
  3. What results were you expecting from this study? Were you surprised that a manager’s integrity was more impactful to a company’s financial performance than other factors such as employee trust, sense of commitment, or satisfaction?
  4. In THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND, you explain that a leader should promise less and do it more often. What does this mean? How can mission statements and lists of company values undermine integrity?
  5. In the book, you say that CEOs and managers need to respect the weight of their words. How does casual overpromising erode credibility?
  6. Top executives are often reluctant to speak awkward truths — whether it’s about an employee’s performance or the timeline of a project. Why is it important to be honest about these and other uncomfortable issues?
  7. In THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND, you urge leaders to embrace conflict. Why? How can this strengthen rather than damage important business relationships?
  8. Assigning projects and asking for commitments on timeframe, budget, etc. are integral parts of running a business. Can you share some tips for effective asking? Why is this so important to building integrity?
  9. In the book you identify eight kinds of behavior that contribute to a personal discipline of integrity, including facing fear with courage. How does the courage to admit weakness actually help a leader build trust in business?
  10. Another behavior that helps cultivate personal discipline is learning to restore and repair damage to the power of your word. Why are apologies important? What are the three steps to apologizing and recovering?
  11. How can executives create a “leadership culture of integrity”?
  12. You describe something called the “middle manager’s dilemma.” What is it? How can THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND help middle managers when they are asked to implement policies with which they disagree? How can senior executives manage the strain on middle managers?
  13. What is the most important message that you want leaders to take from THE INTEGRITY DIVIDEND and your research?

Tony Simons will explain how leaders can live by the power of their word, avoid common pitfalls that undermine credibility, and ultimately increase the bottom line. Please contact us to set up an interview.


Lauren Banyar Reich
Publicity Manager
212-620-4080 x 14

Leading By The Power Of Your Word
By Tony Simons
Publisher: Jossey-Bass
Publication Date: October 2008
Price: $27.95 ISBN: 0-470-18566-X