Is Integrity a Thing of the Past?

The bottom line when it comes to integrity is that it allows others to trust you. And without trust, you have nothing. It is the key to becoming a person of influence.”
― John C. Maxwell

Has integrity become a thing of the past? We have people running for high political office that have proved that they cannot be trusted. We continue to see athletes get caught using illegal performance enhancing drugs. And we see back room deals bring top leaders down.

But integrity is still essential to anyone who wants to influence others. The number one question that followers need answered is “Can I trust you?” And as Cheryl Biehl has so clearly pointed out:

“One of the realities of life is that if you can’t trust a person at all points, you can’t truly trust him or her at any point.”

How can you know that you are a trustworthy person?

First, you must commit yourself to being honest and reliable

Integrity is not something that just happens. You must keep your promises and do what you say you’ll do.

Earl Nightingale said, “If honesty did not exist, it would have to be invented, as it is the surest way of getting rich.”

For almost 20 years, I was a partner with my father in the Professional Land Surveying firm of Wilson & Neal. I remember my father standing toe to toe, arguing with our insurance rep. We had just been told that we could never admit a mistake on our part or our liability insurance would be void. Dad had always run his business and life with integrity and this didn’t sit well with him.

“Do you mean that I should NOT admit that we made a mistake? That I should deny it and lie to my client?”

“Well, if you want your insurance to be valid, then you may have to.”

“I would rather have my principles be valid.”

Dad had made a decision years ago to be a man of principle.

Choose today to live by a strict moral code, and determine to stick with it no matter what happens.

Second, make the decision NOW that you do not have a price.

In 1998, the City of Winkler, Manitoba voted VLTs out of their community. They knew that this meant they would lose out on their share of VLT revenues but they decided they did not want to profit from the pain of others.

They did not receive a percentage of local VLT revenues but were still offered community grants in the amount of $120,000 to $130,000.00. They did not accept this money either. While it was a substantial amount of money , the mayor and council stayed with the decision of the populous of not taking money from lotteries.

They could have easily taken the money and made some excuse for doing so but they kept their integrity.

This is NOT a question of whether or not VLTs and gambling income is good or bad. It is about integrity and saying that you don’t have a price.

Do your followers know they can trust you?

Have you committed yourself to honesty?

Have you predetermined that you don’t have a price?

What Can We Learn From Elections?

Leadership is Still the Most Important Issue

As someone who has studied and continues to study leaders and leadership, an election can be a great time to see what the leaders will do.  I quite often use the leadership lessons from andelection when a am speaking, coaching, or teaching on leadership. But when it comes to the 2016 Manitoba election, I have been disappointed. But that does not mean that there is nothing to learn here.  We can learn just as much from bad leadership as we can from good leadership. Why?

Leader Number One: Greg Selinger

Greg has really shown no leadership skills at all over the last several years.  There is no doubt that he has experience as a leader.  He has been the Premier of Manitoba for the last five and a half years.  However, his lack of leadership is distressing.  He lied.  A leader cannot expect to continue to lead if he does not have the trust of his followers.  He made a huge mistake when he raised the PST and refused to admit that it was a mistake.  Real leaders make mistakes but they are quick to admit when they are wrong.  Selinger has not done this.  He did make an “election” apology a little while ago but by then it was too late.

A real leader would have said long ago, “Hey, I made a mistake.  We are going to have to raise the PST in order to pay for things here in Manitoba.  Therefore, we will be holding a referendum to see what the people of Manitoba think of this.  It is especially important since I said that it was ridiculous to think that we would raise the PST.”

Leadership Lesson No. 1:  Be honest and when you make a mistake, admit it and move forward with the permission of the people.

Leader Number Two: Rana Bokhari

Rana has a long way to go to prove any leadership skills and her own handling of the botched nominations shenanigans has not shown any leadership.  The Liberals do not even have a full slate in this election.  She allows her party to jump from issue to issue without any real thought to a unified plan.  The worst of this was a campaign promise that the Liberals would fix a glitch in the booking of provincial campsites.  I guess it was in the news and so they thought they would jump on it and make some hay.  This was a computer glitch that affected a few people and she thinks that it is important to the province of Manitoba.  I will be surprised to see her win her own seat and if she doesn’t, I will be really surprised to see her stay the leader of the party.  There are a number of current candidates who have far more leadership skills.

It is too bad because I had some high hopes for her.  And she had time to learn to be a leader but did not take advantage of it. Leadership is absolutely a learnable skill. Leadership is predictable. It operates by laws. Learn the laws and you learn to lead. But if you ignore the laws then you’re always going to struggle with leadership.

Leadership Lesson No. 2: Learn to be a leader before you become a leader.  Then when the time comes, you will be ready.

Leader Number Three: Brian Pallister

Brian has been the leader of opposition for the last four years and spent time as Minister of Government services, and held leadership positions both in opposition and in government at the federal level.  So he does have leadership experience. The number one thing that I see Pallister has done to prove his leadership is to present a full plan for the future of Manitoba.  He has done other things that show he understands leadership but the plan for the future is the one I see as a proof of leadership skills because

“A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees farther than others see, and who sees before others do.” – Leroy Eims”

It is not possible to lead if you don’t have a vision and Brian Pallister is the only one of the three party leaders who has a vision and a plan to accomplish it.

Leadership Lesson No. 3: Have a plan and cast a vision.

What other leadership lessons have you learned from this election?

Please enter into the conversation and leave a comment below.

What Do A Chief of Police, A Leadership Expert, & A Boy Scout Have In Common?

My earliest experiences in leadership was with the Boy Scouts of Canada.  In only my second year as a Cub Scout, at nine years of age I was given the position of Second. This put me second in charge of a group of about six or seven boys.  The next year I was promoted to Sixer, in charge of that group.


The Cub Scout Motto is ” Do Your Best” and the Cub Scout promise is”

I promise to do my best,

To love and serve God, to do my duty to the Queen;

To keep the law of the Wolf Cub pack,

And to do a good turn for somebody every day.

So at a very young age, I learned that leadership was about:

  • Doing my best
  • Serving Others, and
  • Adding value to others

It is so interesting to me that over 40 years later as I studied under my mentor John Maxwell, I saw that he teaches these very same leadership principles.

John wrote The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You
.  Law number FIVE is The Law of Addition – Leaders Add Value by Serving Others.

In his most recent book,  Good Leaders Ask Great Questions: Your Foundation for Successful Leadership, John says “If you want to be the best leader you can possibly be, no matter how much or how little natural leadership talent you possess, you need to become a serving leader.”

I recently interviewed a man that I believe is a great example of a serving leader.  His name is Devon Clunis and he is the Chief of Police for the City of Winnipeg.


Devon learned that people can lead from any position.  He transferred to the evidence unit.  Here he found that he had to show the employees that their input mattered; Their seemingly mundane task was important and they had real purpose.  He tried (and succeeded) to give them a healthy work environment.  He wanted them to have energy for their family when they went home at the end of the day.

He started in this new department with a simple statement “I am your servant”

When he started to lead this department, (The most unwanted at that level) there were 14 open positions and only 3 applicants.

The next year he started to get applicants because they “Heard you care.”  They were knocking down the door.

Devon remembers vividly, the day that somebody walked into his office and sat down and said “Devon, I don’t know if you realize this but we look forward to coming to work now.” Devon told me “That’s what I want, I want people coming to work feeling good about being there, knowing that they have a purpose; that they are accomplishing something.  That’s what we as leaders are supposing to be doing, serving the people, that’s what we call serving leadership.”

Jim Collins, in his book Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t says that companies that go from Good to Great and stay there are companies with level 5 leaders.  These are the humble leaders who put the company before themselves.  They are serving leaders.

The greatest leaders throughout history are those who served others.  If you want to increase your leadership (your influence) then learn to be a serving leader.  And the best way to do that is to start to serve others.

If you want to change someones life, start by changing their day.

“It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.”
― Harry S Truman

Winnipeg Can Be Great Again

Almost exactly 100 years ago, there was no city on the entire continent that was growing faster (or was more forward thinking) than Winnipeg.


The Chicago Tribune proclaimed, “all roads lead to Winnipeg.”  and Winnipeg was called the “Chicago of the North.”

In just forty short years, it had grown from a virtual village to the third largest city in all of Canada.  Its population had tripled from 50,000 to over 160,000. It was the main economic influence in western Canada. It was Canada’s liveliest city, full of bustle and optimism.

Winnipeg Can Be Great Again

Winnipeg will hit a population of one million within the next decade.  It is far more than a number, at that size a city become self sufficient.  We CAN be a GREAT CITY again. We just need a leader to take us there.  We need someone who can takes us from “Good to Great”.  If we don’t get that leader, we will end up with the same old, same old.

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.” – Henry Ford

One of the greatest minds of the last century said:

“Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein

Insanity would be voting in the same kind of candidate who talks about leadership but knows nothing about it. See You Need To Understand Leadership to Lead.

Insanity would be electing a politician who has no vision for the future. See What Everyone Ought to Know About Politicians vs Leaders

A New Kind Of Leader For Winnipeg’s Future

We need a leader with a plan of action, One who has a plan to hit the ground running. See  100_days_in_office;

A leader who has a vision for a great city. See A Choice For A New Generation

A leader elected as an independent with no political axes to grind. One who has a huge variety of endorsements from across the whole spectrum of this diverse city.

Only One Choice For Winnipeg’s Future

One candidate calls Bowman Right. One candidate calls him left. I call him centred; centred on a future for Winnipeg.

If you agree and see a new future for Winnipeg, please make sure you get out and VOTE.  The latest poll shows the race is neck and neck.  It will all depend on which candidate’s supporters actually get out and vote. It is vital to the future of our city.

An Action Plan For Winnipeg’s Future

As someone who speaks and teaches on leadership, I read with interest Brian Bowman’s action plan for his first 100 days in office as the Mayor of Winnipeg.  It interests me because it means that he has a plan. No one else seems to have a plan for this critical time period.

You can read his plan HERE. (Opens in new window)


Transitions are critical times when small differences in your actions can have disproportional impacts on results – Michael Watkins – Associate Professor Harvard Business School

In his book, The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins expounds on how important it is to have a plan in place to get ahead of the curve as you take over a new leadership position.  He suggests 10 ways to make the first 90 days count.

Watkins explains that he uses his 90 days because it equates to a business quarter.  Those in government leadership, just as the President of the United States, are usually judged on their first 100 days.

Promote Yourself

This is NOT self promotion.  It is changing your entire outlook on how you do your job.  You have been promoted to a new positions and you need to change how YOU look at that. The position of mayor is one that none of the candidates have held before.  Some of them believe that because they have been on City council or in politics for a long time, that that is enough.  This is a brand new job and requires a brand new attitude towards it.  Bowman appears to be the only viable candidate that understands this.

Accelerate Your Learning

You need to be focussed on learning all you can.  It will be a steep learning curve for anyone so have a plan.  Some seem to feel that because they held a leadership position before many who are reading this were born, they are leaders. I can call myself attractive all I want but only my Mom will believe it.  Calling yourself a leader when you don’t even know what leadership is, falls into the same category.

Match Strategy to Situation

“The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” – Max De Pree. 

A clear diagnosis of the situation is an essential prerequisite for developing your action plan.

Secure Early Wins

During your first 90 to 100 days in office you must find ways to create value, for your team AND for Winnipeg

Negotiate Success

You MUST find a way to build a productive working relationship with all the parties you work with, (Civic Employees, Provincial, & Federal Governments)

Achieve Alignment

It will be your job to develop the systems and tools to meet your strategic goals.  This means bringing everyone to the table to work toward the same goals.

Build Your Team

As Jim Collins says “First, you must get the right people on the bus, then you must get the wrong people off the bus, the right people into the right seats and THEN get the bus pointed in the right direction”.

Create Coalitions

You will need to influence people outside of your direct control.  Creating internal AND external alliances are essential to you reaching your goals

Keep Your Balance

Getting the right mixture of advice and counsel is another way to insure your success.

Expedite Everyone

As a leader it will be your job to add value to everyone in the organization.  The more you do that, the quicker they can help you perform better. 

Bowman’s Plan of Action

If you read the above and compare it to Bowman’s 100 day plan you will see that he really understands leadership.  As I watch these debates looking for leadership I see so little. Judy Wasylycia-Leis talks about leadership but demonstrates none if it.   She uses the word but doesn’t understand it. Gord Steeves on the other hand wants us to check with his friends because they will say he is a nice guy.  I am sure he is a nice guy but he has shown about the same amount of leadership as Judy Wasylycia-Leis.

I don’t know if Brian Bowman has read Michael Watkins’ book but he has either read it or he possesses some extraordinary leadership skills.  Leadership skills we NEED to take Winnipeg into the future.

Here are some questions for the other candidates.

Where is Your Action Plan?

What Will YOU Be Doing During Those First 90 to 100 Days?

Why Are You Not Asking Us To Keep You Accountable?

It is important to note that prior to this election I knew none of the candidates for mayor.  So I lined them up based on their leadership qualities. I relied on my mentor John Maxwell’s book The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader”  (see post here)  and all that he had taught me about leadership.  This is what has led to these election posts.  It is imperative that we do NOT stay with the “same old way” of doing things.  We need to look to the future.


If you agree with me, post a comment below.

You Need To Understand Leadership To Lead

The question was simple.  “What organizations have you led?”  But it appears to have thrown Judy Wasylycia-Leis for a loop.


Her first answer was, “Brian if you’re so critical of politicians, why are you running for this job?”  That is a typical political answer.  Avoid any question that you have no answer for, or that may hurt your credibility.

Judy then goes on to list a whole bunch of things that had nothing to do with the question.  Did she not understand the question? It appears to be simple enough.  Only after the moderator brought the question back and Brian Bowman reiterated it did she actually answer the original question.

Let’s look at the list she was FINALLY able to come up with?

Judy Wasylycia-Leis’ answers to “What organizations have you led?”

  1. A cabinet minister in a government.
  2. a Finance critic
  3. a mother.
  4. a volunteer
  5. A Public Accounts spokesperson.
  6. an international democracy builder
  7. someone who cares about her community
  8. someone who has devoted her life to politics

Let’s look at these one by one.

A cabinet minister in a government.  YES, Judy THAT was something you led.  That is a good answer but you should have stopped there because the rest are not organizations that you have led.  They do not require the same skill set that is required of a leader.

A finance critic?  And you led what?  The attack on anything the government put forward?  It is an important job in our democratic system but not leadership.

A mother?  Being a good mother is a wonderful thing and I truly believe that Judy is a good mother but it is a different skill set.  It is not an organization that she led.  This kind of mom and apple pie, drop the flag and salute, attitude may work to get you both sympathy and respect but it doesn’t answer the question.  Many of this world’s greatest leaders would not make good mothers.  And many of the world’s greatest mothers (my wife and my mother included) would not be great leaders.  We need both in this world.

A volunteer? That’s great.  I think we need more volunteers in this world.  It is something that has declined drastically in the last twenty years.  The question that she was asked was “what organizations have you led”?  If she had led a volunteer organization, that would have been a good answer.  Obviously she had not.

A public accounts spokesperson?  That’s great. Many people aspire to be a spokesmodel but how is it leading an organization?

An international democracy builder?  I’m not even sure what that means but I assume that she was asked to speak at a conference on democracy.  I speak hundreds of times a year but NOT to people I am leading.

Someone who cares about her community?  Someone on her team should be responsible to make sure that Judy has enough straws so it won’t be so sad when she is grasping for them.

And perhaps my favourite: someone who has devoted her life to politics?  Instead of repeating it here I will refer you to a previous blog on Leaders Vs Politicians.

The entire debate can be seen on youtube here. (Opens in a new tab)

Many who look at the above list will have to continue to say that Judy really did not understand the question.  The real dilemma is that she doesn’t understand leadership.

The question for Judy is this: If you held ONE leadership position back in the 1980s, why have you not led anything since?  Is it because you lack that set of skills?

The follow up question is this: If you haven’t led anything, (at least since the 80s) why would you be the one to make leadership such an issue?  Is it because you don’t really understand leadership?

Judy, here is my offer.  Leadership is absolutely a learnable skill.  As a certified coach, teacher, and speaker with The John Maxwell Team I will sit down with you for seven weeks and we can go through the 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership.  I will do this for free.  Your only cost is the book ($12) and an hour a week.  Okay, I’ll buy the book for you.



Leadership Questions To Those Who Want To Be Mayor

As I continue to look for real leadership at Winnipeg City Hall, I came across a very interesting podcast by Michael Hyatt.  Michael blogs on intentional leadership. During this recent podcast they discuss 12 ways to know if you are a leader or not.


I Am Only Going With The Two Who Have A Real Chance. Judy Has The Lead In The Polls But Brian Has The Momentum

I thought it might be interesting to look at these and assess the candidates by these leadership questions

  1. Do they long to make a difference?
  2. Are they dissatisfied with the status quo?
  3. Are they refusing to wait for more resources to accomplish their vision? (The resources do not show up until the vision is clear)
  4. Are their dreams so big, they seem impossible?
  5. Do they acknowledge what is, but inevitably ask what could be?
  6. Do they realize they don’t have to be in charge to have significant influence?
  7. Do they refuse to blame others for their circumstances, and personally take responsibility for finding solutions?
  8. Do they foster unity by bringing people together and encouraging dialogue?
  9. Are they quick to say, “I messed up. Here’s what I’m going to do to fix the problem I’ve created.”?
  10. Do they value relationships more than tasks?
  11. Do they walk their talk, not perfectly but sincerely and intentionally?
  12. Are they learners?

You can hear the entire podcast at

These are questions that we need answered.  As I’ve said before, “Everything Rises & Falls on Leadership”.  We need a leader to get us out of this mess and LEAD us into the future.  As you prepare to vote in this election, ask yourself which of these is a better leader?  For Judy it is a job. Look at her own ads.  She doesn’t even see this position as one of leadership but as a job.  Not an entry level job, but a job just the same.  Winnipeg deserves more. We deserve a leader.

Leadership is not about experience, education, or talent. It’s about choosing to lead. – Michael Hyatt

If you look at the 12 questions above I believe that you will find throughout Brian’s campaign and indeed his life, he can answer yes to these questions.  And while Judy can certainly answer yes to some of these, I think she would still get a failing grade.

So now the questions for YOU.

Do you long for a different and better Winnipeg?

Are you satisfied with the status quo?

Do YOU have a vision for a better Winnipeg?

Brian Bowman does.  See his youtube here. And he has the leadership ability to see it happen.

If you agree with me, leave a comment below.  If you disagree with me, leave a comment and tell me why.  Remember, This is NOT a discussion on policies or promises.  It is about leadership.

What Everyone Ought to Know About Politicians vs Leaders

Judy Wasylycia-Leis has run in this election touting her experience. However, that experience is as a politician and not as a leader.

Even if we ignore the last four years where she has lived off of her pensions as an MLA and an MP and “volunteered”, we still find a real lack of leadership. Judy spent almost all of her pensionable time in opposition. Her job, apparently, was to complain about everything the party in power proposed.  She showed no leadership by bucking the trend and agreeing with even one government proposed bill.  She followed along like a good little politician.  But that is what a politician does, follows.  They are not allowed to lead.

When she was in power, it was even worse as she added a new tax burden.  Being a politician does not make you a leader.  In fact the combination of great leader and great politician is very rare.

Leaders-Not-PoliticiansDefinition of a Politician

At the core the politician is a policy maker, a legislator who operates in an already established area of doing. A politician at core is a rule maker. – Jim Sniechowski, PhD

Definition of a Leader

A leader is one who sees more than others see, who sees further than others see, and who sees before others do. – Leroy Eims – author of Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be.

Most people define leadership as the ability to achieve a position.  Therefore, they go after the position, rank, or title and upon their arrival think they have become a leader. – John Maxwell


Politician vs. Leaders

Politician Leader
Focus on Status Quo Focus on Vision for the Future
Focus on Keeping Their Seats Focus on Serving the People
Care About Their Party Care About Those They Serve
Spend On Projects That Help Them Spend on Long-term Projects for the Public Good
Can’t Cut Luxuries From the Budget Have No Problem Cutting Luxuries
Focus on the Next Election Focus on the Next Generation

 Winnipeg NEEDS a leader NOT another politician.  We need someone with a vision for the future and not just the status quo.  As I look at the candidates that can win this election I only see one with a vision and focus on the next generation and that is Brian Bowman (See Youtube Video Here Opens in new tab).

It is not necessary to agree with every policy and promise in this election. It IS necessary to look at who can lead Winnipeg. Who has the necessary qualities of a leader. See How to Prepare Winnipeg for the Future for a list of those qualities.

Can a Politician Really Lead Us Out Of This Mess?

Which Candidate Has the Leadership Qualities We Need?


Please add your comments below.

Rebuild a City You Can Be Proud Of

Do you remember the 70’s show The Six Million Dollar Man?  Remember how they opened every show with this?:

“We can rebuild him.  We have the technology.  We can make him better than he was.  Better…stronger…faster.”

We Can Rebuild Him

Well I think we can all agree. Winnipeg is broken. But we can rebuild it.  The question is this.  Do we want the same old, same old Winnipeg?  Or do we want one that is – Better…stronger…faster?

Oh sure, everyone talks about the poor roads and cleaning up City Hall. One candidate even talks about rebuilding Winnipeg but he wants to do so at the expense of our future. He isn’t looking to the future.  He is a politician.  His future is only four years (or less when he runs for Provincial government) When Winnipeg reaches one million people we will need a way to move people through this city.  He wants to stop our future.  I’m sure glad he wasn’t around to stop the floodway when it was proposed.  Duff Roblin had vision.  He realized that money spent now means a better future for this city.

We need to stop filling the same potholes every year, a bigger fix is needed. And we need to avoid trading one set of back room deal for another.

It is so very important that we get the right leadership in place.  As I said in an earlier post “Everything Rises and Falls on Leadership.”

And we need a leader who has a vision beyond the four years a politician looks at.  Politicians can only look at those things that will give a return before the next election so that they can be re-elected.  They will cut those things that will build our city in order to save money today.  That is not a visionary leader.  A visionary leader looks forward twenty  and thirty years, with a vision for what Winnipeg can be like if we start to rebuild it today.

“wouldn’t that person be even more amazing if, instead of telling the time, he or she built a clock that could tell the time forever, even after he or she was dead and gone.”

Jim Collins – Author of Good To Great

Who do you think is showing real leadership in this race?

Who has a real vision for rebuilding Winnipeg?

Are you satisfied with the same Winnipeg run by the same politicians?

Please share your thoughts below.