LeBron James, The Cleveland Cavaliers, and a Study in Integrity

I, like you, have listened to the saga of the LeBron James free-agent dance.

As it turns out, LeBron and some of his friends turned the system in on itself and beat the owners at their own game.  And now they are very, very angry.

James is criticized for making his decision public on ESPN, when exactly what he did was use the sports-crazed nation against itself in order to raise millions of dollars for the Big Brothers organization.   That’s being smart.

That night, the owner of the Cavaliers came out with an emotionally scathing, slanderous attack against James.  But let’s talk about what’s fair here.  If James hadn’t played up to the Cavaliers’ standards they would be the first to send him on the road.  And trust me, having lived in Music City, I’ve seen more than a few famous people dropped by their record label and they never heard a word form them until they saw it on CNN.  This happens all the time.  That doesn’t mean it should, it just means this is an issue of integrity.

Integrity resides on both sides of the working equation.
That’s why I am such an advocate of entrepreneurial efforts to build your own businesses, work for yourself, and then if you work for a jerk, you’re the problem.

Big companies employing tens of thousands of people in the public arena who don’t give the support, the resources, who even force them into dishonest practices are sowing the seeds of their own demise. As are workers who cheat on their time-cards, who play around on the internet instead of being focused on the work at hand.

Integrity extends in the lives of our families; husbands flirting with their secretaries, women at home on Facebook rekindling old flames.  It is a matter of integrity.

What we need, I’m convinced, is a conviction that doing the right thing is not just the right thing, it will yield the right results. We’re not honest because it’s the policy; we’re honest because it’s right.  And when you do what’s right, ultimately it comes back to you.

It’s called the law of reciprocity. It’s what Jesus taught when he said, “Give and it shall be given unto you.”  Give and you shall be given.  Give what you give and you’ll get it back. It applies to the amount as well.  It also applies to integrity.  So whether you’re LeBron James, the Cleveland Cavaliers, AT&T, BP, McDonalds, or a Mom & Pop store down the street, integrity on both sides of the fence, is the most profitable strategy you could ever commit to.

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