The sudden collapse of Enron more than 20 years ago was one of the biggest corporate scandals of this century: A facade of consistent business success hid an empire of fraud, greed and arrogance.

Interestingly enough, integrity was a key Enron company value.

The definition of integrity is the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles. In other words: You have a clear and transparent set of principles.

A respected Fortune 500 company may have a track record of impeccable integrity. So do Enron, the mafia and the infamous Star Wars Sith Lords.

Adhering to a set of principles makes you consistent, but doesn’t necessarily make you a force for good.

Unless corporate values can be translated into behavioral distinctions, they may be ambiguous to drive effective action.

Building a high-performance culture therefore starts with translating ambiguous values into powerful behavioral distinctions.

Are you:

  • Stimulating ownership or stimulating victimhood?
  • Creating perspective or creating drama?
  • Playing to win or playing not to lose?
  • Serving or pleasing?
  • Adding value or taking up space?
  • Focus on evidence or focus on anecdotes?
  • Being effective or being right?
  • In love with your clients or in love with your products and processes?
  • Bold or busy?
  • Focused on success or focused on perfection?
  • Leaving a legacy or leaving a trail?

Which of these behavioral distinctions are most relevant for your organization?

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