The Sincerity Edge
How Ethical Leaders Build Dynamic Businesses
Alexandra Christina, Countess of Frederiksborg and Timothy L. Fort


Contents and Abstracts
1 What's Going On?
chapter abstract

This chapter provides a foundation for 4 forces that are here to stay for business: (1) coercive power pressures (legal regulation and public opinion); (2) the need for profitability and the reality of global economic forces; (3) enduring ethical values and more conventional values that change according to time and culture; and (4) the constancy of change. These forces exist at a geopolitical and macro-economic level and they also exist at organizational levels. Based on this framing, values such as sincerity and integrity accompany power and economics. Though their relevance can temporarily be minimized, eventually, they reassert themselves, which has happened in 21st century business. The chapter also provides a conceptual, occasionally philosophical, background on the relationship and differentiation among notions such as authenticity, sincerity, integrity, trust, and leadership.

2 Integrity and Trust
chapter abstract

This chapter sets out a model for trust building and integrity in business. It argues that one builds trust in three ways. Hard Trust is about complying with the law. Real Trust occurs when strategic objections and operational rewards are in alignment, so that corporate social performance (or good ethics) leads to corporate financial performance (or good business). The third kind of trust is Good Trust. One can trust because one realizes that the other person values good ethics as having its own independent value and pursues that value as a result. While Good Trust has much to do with issues of sincerity, it is also important to see that each dimension of trust is more reliable when there is a commitment obeying the law and to treating stakeholders fairly.

3 Corporate Dilemmas in the Absence of Integrity and Trust
chapter abstract

This chapter uses the preceding foundational perspectives to examine corporate scandals over time. It looks at common explanations for why they happen and also looks at how these scandals may be explained with reference to the frameworks presented in earlier chapters. This chapter draws heavily from interviews with leading CEOs, sharing their observations about this kind of corporate trainwreck. The chapter identifies a number of key traits that seem to be associated with these scandals in order to build a set of practical recommendations for how to avoid them.

4 Inspirational Stories of Integrity and Trust
chapter abstract

This chapter uses the foundational perspectives to examine new and inspirational and kinds of business behavior. It considers this behavior from the perspective of the preceding foundational perspectives, drawing heavily from interviews with leading CEOs. Integrity and trust building are shown to be critical elements of successful approaches. The chapter concludes with a list of practical recommendations for inspiring one's own business.

5 Making Good Decisions about Strategy, Ethics, and Leadership
chapter abstract

At the heart of good leadership and governance is good decision-making, whether applied to strategy, ethics, marketing, or anything else. Good decisions require being aware of our own cognitive biases, being analytical and methodical and gathering facts, applying the best knowledge we have to date, and listening to our intuitions and sentiments. Drawing from interviews with leading CEOs, this chapter provides a framework for arriving at values-driven decisions and governance.

6 Building on Good Decisions with Authenticity and Sincerity
chapter abstract

This chapter engages the reader with anecdote, showing that sincerity is both crucial for good, sustainable business conduct and that business conduct itself is most trustworthy—and most economically efficacious—if the conduct is driven by authentic values. Exploring beyond specific decisions and conduct, this chapter looks at examples of corporate culture, showing the ways in which culture is a crucial determinant for values-driven leadership. Extensive, empirical literature is discussed and synthesized according to the framework already articulated.

7 Twelve Ways to Lead with the Sincerity Edge
chapter abstract

This chapter concludes by drawing together the insights from the examples provided and the frameworks articulated, to offer 12 ways to create strong, ethical, values-driven leadership for 21st century businesses. In short, it serves as a capstone summary for the recommendations developed throughout the book.