In the Clear Moves leadership coaching program and the strategic planning work we do with clients, we always begin by covering seven traits of top leaders. This is by design and critical before moving on to the more tactical skills covered in the course. Integrity is one of the traits we discuss which Merriam Websters Dictionary defines as a noun:
“The quality of being honest and fair.”
The state of being complete or whole.
Integrity is a Foundational Value
Integrity is also a foundational value, that upholds all our other values. Stay with me here as I take a detour to illustrate. I’m a tennis player and fan and while watching the highlights of the year end, ATP (men’s) and the WTA (women’s) finals, I heard the news about Peng Shuai. Peng grabbed international attention this year in November, when she posted sexual assault accusations against a former, high ranking Chinese Communist Party official. Her post on Weibo was removed and soon after, #WhereIsPengShuai began trending.
The Tennis Community Rallies
Some big names in the tennis community, immediately took to social media.
Billy Jean King “Hoping that Peng Shuai is found safe and that her accusations are fully investigated.”
Roger Federer: “She’s one of our tennis champions, a former world No. 1, and clearly it’s concerning. I hope she’s safe. The tennis family sticks together…”
Nicolas Mahut: A doubles champion on the mens’s tour, said he won’t play in the Olympics in China if the situation isn’t resolved.
Novak Djokovic: “It’s the life of a tennis player that is in question here, so we, as the tennis community, need to stand together.”
While the support from the tennis community is expected, it was the following statement from Simon himself that really inspired me.
“There’s too many times in our world today when you get into issues like this that we let business, politics and money dictate what’s right and what’s wrong. [We’re] definitely willing to pull our business and deal with all the complications that come with it because … this is bigger than the business.”
The WTA Takes Action
After numerous attempts to make contact with Peng with no success, the WTA announced last week that all WTA events in China will be cancelled as a result of her on-going censorship. The potential financial hit is estimated to be in the tens of millions and Simon has defined the agreements with China as “by far the largest and most significant deal signed by the WTA in 45 years.” The initial reaction from Mr. Simmons can be seen in an interview in tennis magazineor in the video below.
It’s tough to find words that are worthy of this kind of integrity and courage. So I’ll just say this: Hurray for Steve Simon!