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Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti

THE QUESTION

Cam Newton wins Heisman: Overlooking integrity issues for star performers?

Despite suspension over honor code violations and an ongoing investigation into his recruitment, Auburn's Cam Newton last week won the Heisman Trophy--an award meant to honor "pursuit of excellence with integrity." The award raises a dilemma faced by many organizations: In dealing with top performers, how much should leaders overlook corner cutting, rule breaking and other integrity issues?

Posted by Steve Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti on December 13, 2010 2:26 PM
FROM THE PANEL

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

Posted by Katherine Tyler Scott, on December 16, 2010 9:26 AM

Cam being Cam

Once in an interview in response to the question '"How do you manage all those newly rich, testosterone-rich, self-absorbed men on a professional football team?" Bill Parcells answered exactly the opposite...

Posted by Marty Linsky, on December 15, 2010 1:47 PM

Offer redemption, then show the door

Spending time with my five grand kids always reminds me that children are great mimics. Spending a few minutes with the daily newspaper reminds me that adults are too--and often with far less charming results...

Posted by John R. Ryan, on December 15, 2010 1:39 PM

Integrity is essential

Today, more than ever, leaders are expected to set the standard. To be role models and...

Posted by Susan Peters, on December 14, 2010 5:32 PM
Michael Maccoby

Recruiting character and talent

When Joe Gibbs was building the Washington Redskins into Superbowl champions, his stated criteria for drafting players was...

Posted by Michael Maccoby, on December 14, 2010 3:51 PM

One strike and you're out

No exceptions, no matter how high your station, no matter how important you are to the organization. When you violate the fundamental rules of the institutional culture...

Posted by Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr., on December 14, 2010 12:46 PM
Coro Fellows

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

Posted by Coro Fellows, on December 13, 2010 11:28 PM
John Baldoni

Strong character trumps perfection

As a veteran executive once told me, hire for character. Don't expect to develop something that is not there. If a person lacks a moral compass, don't think you...

Posted by John Baldoni, on December 13, 2010 6:54 PM
Don Vandergriff

The road to ruin

Yes, Cam Newton is an incredible football player (I love watching him play), but we must care about the total person we hold up for emulation in our society. This is about repairing, not maintaining, the moral fiber of...

Posted by Don Vandergriff, on December 13, 2010 3:35 PM
Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

Posted by Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.), on December 13, 2010 3:08 PM

Don't care about values? At least stop pretending

it all depends on how important a culture of integrity is. If it is essential (as it is for many top organizations), then you must reward, penalize, hire and fire to that value. But if you aren't going to do that, at least have the courtesy and honesty to delete that...

Posted by Carol Kinsey Goman, on December 13, 2010 2:47 PM

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