While writing Return On Integrity, I was invited by a friend to speak to his leadership class of eighth-grade boys. It wasn’t my typical corporate audience of executives and so I was a bit apprehensive whether these middle schoolers would find my message on core values interesting or relevant. I decided to share the quote that was sitting as the opening words of Chapter 2 of the manuscript sitting back in the office on my desk:
We don’t go running away from our values,
we go drifting way.
And one day we wake-up in a place we never meant to be,
drifting in a direction we never would have chosen.
I wasn’t prepared for the depth of their engagement or for the wisdom of one particular student in the closing question/answer session. He posed a thoughtful and brilliant question to which I was certain he had already figured out the answer. He said, “Mr. Blumberg, do you think other people see you drifting before you see it yourself?”
Better than waiting for others to see, is to proactively engage others to watch. I call them Drift Guards. Given your permission, their gift is to call-out your drift and encourage you back.