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“Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality. Most of us disempower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.”

~Werner Erhard

“Integrity is a mountain with no top. Therefore those who set off on this task must learn to enjoy climbing because there is no end to the process. And as the climb continues life continues to get better.”

~ Werner Erhard

Integrity is a Mountain with No Top - 6 day

“When I am not serious about my word to myself, it will show up consistently as various problems and difficulties in my life, the actual source of which I will obscure with various explanations and justifications. Moreover, I will show up for others variously as inconsistent, unfocused, scattered, unreliable, undependable, unpredictable, and generally unsatisfied as a person.” ~ Werner Erhard

This is it. There are no hidden meanings.  Here is where it is.  Now is when it is.  You are what it is.

~Werner Erhard


Werner Erhard and Gonneke Spits

Werner Erhard and Gonneke Spits, 2010

The Multiple Facets of Integrity in Business and Management, Rutledge, 2018. Chapter 2, “Integrity: A Positive Model that Incorporates the Normative Phenomena of Morality, Ethics and Legality (Abbreviated Version)” by Werner Erhard, Michael C. Jensen and Steve Zaffron.

Editors Marc Orlitzky and Manjit Monga write:

In Chapter 2, Erhard, Jensen, and Zaffron present an eminently well-argued, positive model of integrity, which clearly differentiates integrity from morality and ethics.  They argue that integrity, a necessary condition for the workability and optimum performance of organizations, exists in a positive realm and, therefore, can be the subject of social scientists’ descriptive, observational study of behavior.  Their definition of integrity as honoring your word is clearly differentiated from the normative realm of morality, ethics, and legality.  The authors show that defining integrity as honoring one’s word provides an unambiguous and actionable access to the opportunity for superior performance and competitive advantage at different levels of analysis and empowers the three virtue phenomena of morality, ethics, and legality.  This chapter is most consistent with the conceptualization as behavioral integrity, the first facet of integrity introduced above.

Consider the following key findings unearthed in the survey of more than 1,200
finance professionals regarding workplace ethics by Tenbrunsel and Thomas (2015) entitled “The Street, The Bull and the Crisis: A survey of the US & UK financial Services Industry”. These findings quoted below provide striking indications that there has been little or no progress in reducing the out-of-integrity culture in the field of finance.

• our survey clearly shows that a culture of integrity has failed to take hold. Numerous
individuals continue to believe that engaging in illegal or unethical activity is
part and parcel of succeeding in this highly competitive field.

• 47% of respondents find it likely that their competitors have engaged in unethical
or illegal activity in order to gain an edge in the market . . . a spike from the 39% who
reported as such when surveyed in 2013. This figure jumps to 51% for individuals
earning more than $500,000 or more per year.

• More than one-third (34%) of those earning $500,000 or more annually have witnessed
or have first-hand knowledge of wrongdoing in the workplace.

• 23% of respondents believe it is likely that fellow employees have engaged in illegal
or unethical activity in order to gain an edge, nearly double the 12% that reported
as such in 2012.

• 25% would likely use non-public information to make a guaranteed $10 million
if there was no chance of getting arrested for insider trading. Employees with less
than 10 years experience are more than two times as likely as those with over 20 years
experience, reporting 32% and 14% respectively.

• In the UK 32% of individuals said they would likely engage in insider trading to
earn $10 million if there was no chance of getting arrested, compared to 24% of
respondents from the US.

• Nearly one in five respondents feel financial services professionals must at least
sometimes engage in illegal or unethical activity to be successful.

• 27% of those surveyed disagree that the financial services industry puts the best
interests of clients first. This figure rises to 38% for those earning $500,000 or more
per year.

• Nearly one-third of respondents (32%) believe compensation structures or bonus
plans in place at their company could incentivize employees to compromise ethics
or violate the law.

• 33% of financial service professionals feel the industry hasn’t changed for the better
since the financial crisis.

The continuing scandals are therefore strong evidence of the dismal failure of these
explanations to provide any effective access to reducing the counter-productive behavior.

These spectacular failures are, in fact, strong evidence that these explanations of the behavior are in fact false causes. While such false causes appear to provide a satisfying explanation for the behavior, note that they provide no effective access to altering the behavior. In fact, the almost universal assignment of false causes of the behavior that result in these damaging effects (exemplified by what we termed the “scandals”) (for examples see Appendix 1) actually obscures the real source of such behavior. We argue that the real source of this behavior is individuals or organizations being out of integrity (as we have said, their word not being whole, complete, unbroken, unimpaired, sound, in perfect condition). And it is one or more of the eleven factors making up the Veil of Invisibility (discussed fully in Section 3.h) that results in individuals and organizations not seeing the cost to themselves of their out-of-integrity behavior.

“Talking about transformation is no more than a representation, an image of the real thing.  It’s like eating the menu instead of the steak – neither nurturing nor profound.  It is in being transformed – in being authentically true to oneself – that one lives passionately free, unencumbered, fearless, committed.  It is in living life in a transformed way that the steak and its sizzle show up.”

-Werner Erhard

“To take a stand for the future is to bring forth a new opportunity, not one derived from the past, but an opportunity created from a future to which we give ourselves.”

  • Werner Erhard

You and I want our lives to matter. We want our lives to make a real difference — to be of genuine consequence in the world. We know that there is no satisfaction in merely going through the motions in life, even if those motions make us successful or even if we have arranged to make those motions pleasant. We want to know we have had some impact on the world. In fact, you and I want to contribute to the quality of life. We want to make the world work.


“You’ve got to be with your self uninterruptedly for a long time. And that’s an experience which you and I don’t afford ourselves very often. You know, we stop for a cigarette, we stop to make conversation, we stop to divert our selves, to entertain ourselves. But, during this 60 hours [of the est Training], you really get to look deep down inside your self.”–Werner Erhard, 1976

“For several years before his latest professional reincarnation, Mr. Erhard consulted for businesses and government agencies like the Russian adult-education program the Znaniye Society and a nonprofit organization supporting clergy in Ireland.

Enter the Harvard economist Michael Jensen. Dr. Jensen, who is famous in financial circles for championing the concepts of shareholder value and executive stock options, had taken a Landmark course in Boston at the suggestion of his daughter, who mended a rocky relationship with Dr. Jensen after taking the course herself.

“‘I became convinced we should work to get this kind of transformational material into the academies,’ he said, adding that he considers Mr. Erhard “one of the great intellectuals of the century.'” – Peter Haldeman writing about Werner Erhard in The New York TimesUntitled-2

Anything you grant being to grants you being.

-Werner Erhard

“One can inquire into being a leader and the effective exercise of leadership from a number of perspectives, with each perspective providing insights not contributed by the others. …leader and leadership can also be examined from the science of ontology. Ontology examines leader and leadership from the perspective of the nature and function of being as it relates to being a leader and the impact of being on one’s effectiveness in the exercise of leadership. While providing its own insights and testable propositions, the ontological perspective is complementary to the findings and insights we are aware of provided by the other perspectives. While the ontological perspective is less familiar for most of us than these other perspectives and therefore perhaps at first uncomfortable, the ontological perspective is uniquely powerful in providing access to the being of being a leader and the actions of the effective exercise of leadership as one’s natural self-expression.”


Erhard, W., Jensen, M., and Zaffron, S. (2015). Introductory Reading for Being a Leader and the Effective Exercise of Leadership: An Ontological/Phenomenological Model. Harvard Business School Negotiation, Organizations, and Market Research Papers

“When my integrity is lacking, I am clear that I just got to be a bit smaller as a person. That keeps me working on my integrity. And the thing about integrity is it’s a mountain with no top.”

-Werner Erhard in The New York Times

“While no one wants to be the first to say it, who each of us is and the fundamental choices each of us makes in life seem to matter very little.

“Even acts of great courage and intelligence, while admirable and even inspiring, exist in sharp contrast to the apparent unworkability of the world at large. Our greatest technical achievement, walking on the moon, while galvanizing the world for a moment, did not fundamentally alter people’s experience of their ability to make a difference in their lives and in the world.

“Sometime around now – it may have happened five years ago or 50 years ago – but sometime around now, the rules for living successfully on earth shifted, and an opportunity, unseen before, began to reveal itself.

“This opportunity is a context – a particular space or paradigm, a way of being – which unexpectedly creates the possibility for a person’s life to truly make a difference.

“In this context, the way each of us answers the question, “What is my life really going to be about?” can literally alter the course of humanity.

“The possibility to create the context in which people’s lives really matter is undoubtedly the most profound opportunity available to anyone, ever.”

-Werner Erhard

“Your power is a function of velocity, that is to say, your power is a function of the rate at which you translate intention into reality.  Most of us dis-empower ourselves by finding a way to slow, impede, or make more complex than necessary the process of translating intention into reality.”

Werner Erhard, Cutting Edge Performance

“We can discover another possibility: living in a way, now, moment to moment, that makes a difference to life. We discover that as human beings we can live in a possibility instead of in what we have inherited, that instead of just being a human being because we were born that way, we can declare the possibility of being for human beings. This is the work of transformation: bringing forth a breakthrough in the possibility of being human.”

-Werner Erhard

CHICAGO TRIBUNE, November 21, 1988


THE HEIGHT OF the traditional famine season in Ethiopia has come and gone. Yet in a year in which the devastation of drought and war have left millions without a harvest, there has been no mass starvation, no horror pictures like those which shocked the world in 1985. This year, thanks to an extraordinary cooperative effort of governments, private voluntary organizations and the Ethiopian people, there will be no famine.
For most people, the news of this remarkable accomplishment comes as a surprise. There have been reports of war, corruption, failure and occasional break-downs in the relief operation. But little has been heard about the thousands of times the operation worked. The focus on isolated incidents rather than on the whole picture has dramatically distorted the public perception of the situation.

IN THE ORDINARY COURSE of events it is easy to assume that geopolitics and political ideology forma barrier to effective humanitarian assistance. Here, the United States, the U.S.S.R., Ethiopia and many others, working under the leadership of the United Nations, managed to pull together in spite of their very real differences, not merely to react to a widely publicized disaster as they have before, but to keep the disaster from happening in the first place.
Our images of the Ethiopian people also fail to reflect reality. We think about the people of Ethiopia in terms of the television pictures of 1985: pathetic, helpless victims, sitting on barren plain, waiting for rescue or death. We certainly don’t see them as the key players in the relief effort —the people who carry the lion’s share of the burden for the campaign to avert the famine. The women, children and men of Ethiopia — the people whose lives are at risk — are people whose courage, hard work and determination to stay on their land, to care for their families, to make it through the lean times, are virtually unknown to us.

WE OFTEN TALK ABOUT learning lessons from our failures, but equally important is the need to learn from our successes. Most of us cloak ourselves in a sophisticated air of resignation called “hard realism” which does not allow us to see a future better than the present. What is happening this year in Ethiopia is some-thing we can learn from — a demonstration that even in a situation perceived by many as hopeless, genuine accomplishment is possible.
Ethiopia’s problems are by no means over. Its government is far from a model of openness and reform. It remains embroiled in two protracted civil wars. Even when harvests are good, Ethiopia faces substantial food deficits. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world, a place where the persistence of chronic hunger keeps people weak, productivity low, and vulnerability to famine high. And now it must also deal with a new tide of refugees from Sudan and Somalia coming into the country at a rate of nearly 2,000 per day.

WHILE THE PICTURE IS far from rosy, some promising developments are emerging:
• The lessons of the last year are being applied as governments and organizations gear up to meet the new refugee situation before it becomes a spectacle of death.
• The Ethiopian government is con-fronting the need to make the country “famine resistant,” seeking support for a nationwide program of food banks, transportation, rainfall and crop monitoring and labor-intensive projects to build irrigation systems and dams.
• Even more important in the long term, small but real first steps are being taken on the difficult road of agricultural and economic reform.

Nothing will really happen, however, unless there is a demand, and demand for action is generated when people can see both the need to intervene and the chance for a successful outcome. Governments now respond very effectively to famine, because pictures of starving children call forth massive support for quick action. Yet when it comes to development, to addressing the much more complex and frustrating problems of chronic hunger and poverty, they remain mired in the mud, with no sense that anything can be done to actually get things resolved.

When we realize what we have accomplished and are accomplishing, we begin to see new possibilities — new ways to get things done in situations we previously considered with a sense of helplessness, of resignation to the “hard realities.” Even knowing that we do not have all answers, we are stirred to act.

It is then that movement begins, that priorities get shifted and resources reallocated. It is then that our actions go beyond the mere ceremonial, the making of “politically correct” gestures and become forward motion toward real solutions. For people committed to ending the needless persistence of hunger worldwide, the remarkable accomplishment of averting the famine in Ethiopia in 1988 can bring that reality one step closer.