Nice Tee Shirt – Not!


Chris Gandy wrote a great blog recently about and the benefits that flow to people and their organisations when Leaders create trusting relationships.

The article reminded me of a conversation I had with a “battler” at the local shopping mall the other day. He was a middle aged guy wearing a black Tee shirt that read on the front: “It’s not illegal if you don’t get caught”.

“Nice tee shirt,” I muttered as we both boarded the escalator to go up.

“Thanks,” he replied rather smugly as he looked at me and we made eye contact. He looked relaxed so I followed up with:

“Shame it’s not true.”

“Waddya mean??” he said, now a little on edge

“If someone broke into your home and raped your wife, would it only be illegal when the police arrested the perpetrator?” I asked as innocently as I could and walked off the escalator.

“Oh, XXXX!” he muttered, as he headed to the tee shirt shop.

Many people in leadership positions betray their leadership with similar attitudes and behaviours to the “battler.”

Steve Jobs once said: “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”

Good leaders practise integrity in all they do and say. They are their word. Their actions consistently say who they are. Their leadership is effective as a result.

Jobs also said: “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night, the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.”

That’s what we at Cause & Effective strive to accomplish in our work with leaders.

Author: This post is by Ian Sampson (B.Comm., LLB., FAICD, FAIM). Ian is a Cause and Effective Associate ( He is a Strategic Advisor to Boards, an Executive Coach and a Facilitator of our Powerful Leadership in Action Program. He can be contacted here.

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

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