The Integrity Wheel

We should all seek wholeness and emotional health through the proper channels of course. For some of us, the process to become “whole” and “healthy” is discovered through spirituality, counseling or other areas dealing with the inner self, which brings personal healing, growth and maturity within. In other words, you and I should strive to become a better version of ourselves, where all of our parts (spirit, soul and body) function properly.

I have chosen the “circle” to exhibit this model since a circle is symbolic of something that is perfect and whole.

The Integrity Wheel is a concept I developed a few years ago to assess one’s personal integrity in four areas:

1. Our Private Life
2. Our Personal Life
3. Our Professional Life
4. Our Public Persona

Each level has at least three areas to probe and evaluate (Go to link: Integrity Wheel). For instance, your personal life consists of many things. In my opinion, the most important areas is your marriage and family life, the way you view and practice financial planning, and your transparency (truthfulness, honesty, and openness) within the relationships that are most important in life.

Assessment Questions:

1. Private Life

a). What is your source of truth? Bible, Pagan Philosophy, other texts. Is your truth dynamic or static?
b). Is character important to you? If so, how do you go about cultivating character? Do you have mentors, who you allow to speak into your life? Are you constantly seeking self-improvement or just live day by day?
c). When searching the web, have you ever put your browser on “private settings” to view sexually illicit material? Is keeping your thoughts pure and unsullied important to you? What do you with a lustful thought?

2. Personal Life

a). How healthy is your marriage? Communication, Intimacy, Resolving Conflict, Openness, etc.

b). Is spending time with your children a priority? Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Annual Vacations. The common cliche’ is “Love is spelled T.I.M.E.?” This infers that time spent with your kids is loving them. I differ, you can spend time with your kids and have a true connection with them. How do you spell LOVE?

c). How do you view debt, and financial planning? What’s your view of wealth?

3. Professional Life

a). How close are you with other employees, direct reports, even your supervisor at work? Are you relationships improving? Do you avoid opportunities to grow in your relationships?

b). Is speaking out for just causes and doing things right important to you at work? Do you cut corners to get work accomplished? 

c). Is there a secret relationship developing in your life at work, like a flirtatious relationship? Does your wife know about the “opposite sex” relationships in your workplace?

4. Public Persona

a). How involved are you with your community; neighbors, civic organizations, etc.? What do these people say about you behind your back?

b). Reputation: How do you build one? How important is having one out in public life?

c). What’s your involvement in your “house of worship”? Would people in this setting vouch for your reputation?

Take a few moments to reassess your integrity. The quality of your life just may depend on this assessment.

The Integrity Wheel, all rights reserved (c)2008 by Joel Garcia, Founder and President of Latino Townhall, Inc.


Are You Having An Emotional Affair?

“A touch creates heat, heat creates a spark, and a spark turns into a fire.”
-Rev. Paul Goulet, Senior Leader ~ International Church of Las Vegas

It doesn’t take a Rocket Scientist to tell you that you’re having an emotional affair at work. Those who are having one should know better yet they continue in their risky behavior, thinking they can get by undetected and unscathed. According to Gail Saltz:

Emotional cheating (with an “office husband or wife”) steers clear of physical intimacy, but it does involve secrecy, deception, and therefore betrayal. People enmeshed in nonsexual affairs preserve their “deniability,” convincing themselves they don’t have to change anything. That’s where they’re wrong.”[i]

It’s this “deniability” that blinds them, and sooner or later, their clandestine affair is exposed. Emotional affairs are more prevalent in the workplace than you may think. In a study looking at infidelity statistics in the United States, the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy revealed 15 percent of wives and 25 percent of husbands engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage. That’s quite alarming by itself, but when emotional affairs are thrown into the equation, the numbers jump by more than 20 percent. In this day and age, it seems no relationship is safe from an affair. Emotional affairs at work tend to make up a large percentage of these numbers, and some research shows over 50 percent of opposite sex, work friendships end up turning into something more. [ii]

I remember sitting in a meeting with a high profile public leader, discussing his embarrassing exposure. The affair started subtly until they were alone and the rest is history. Once exposed it was a BIG disappointment to all involved. An emotional affair starts with a simple wink, then a compliment, an accidental bump in the hallway, and an innuendo here and there. Then all the sudden strong “feelings” take over and an uncontrollable urge and curiosity sets in to experiment further. Boundaries are then tested until it’s too late, you’ve gone over a boundary line. So what actually is an “emotional affair”? An emotional affair is an affair of the heart and mind, where a person sends subtle messages to another conveying a playful purpose yet keeping the relationship secretive in nature. If you want to know you are having an emotional affair at work, take the following assessment:

An Emotional Affair Assessment:

Is it your custom to…

  1. ask a particular person of the opposite sex out to lunch or coffee?

  2. purposefully go “out of your way” to talk to someone of the opposite sex each day?

  3. have closed door meetings with a person of the opposite sex?

  4. share marital problems or details about your marriage to the opposite sex that your spouse would not want others to know?

  5. look forward to seeing a particular person of the opposite sex at work each day?

  6. playfully text or email a particular person of the opposite sex on a regular basis?

  7. use innuendo language with a person of the opposite sex?

  8. be consumed in thought about a particular person of the opposite sex during or after work hours?

  9. inappropriately touch someone of the opposite sex at work by rubbing up against them or hip bumping in the hallway?

  10. write a private message to someone of the opposite sex, whom you happen to work with, on Facebook, Twitter, etc., without your spouse’s knowledge 

– If you answered 2 in the affirmative, you maybe a little misguided or just a big flirt, be careful!

– If you answered between 3 to 4 questions in the affirmative you’re in serious danger or on the boderline of having an emotional affair, and need to reconsider your boundaries before something more serious happens.

– If you answered 5 or more questions in the affirmative, then you are having an emotional affair at work, and need to reassess your behavior; seek counseling or speak with a mentor.

What boundaries can you design (personally or in policy form) to curtail an emotional affair in your workplace? Does your workplace have a code of ethicis in place addressing this type of behavior?

[i] Could you be having an emotional affair? By Gail Saltz, May 21st, 2009.
[ii] Emotional Cheating Signs – Could These Be Signs Of An Affair? Monday, February 21st, 2011.

Raising Healthy Kids: Tell Them “Who” They Are Before Someone Else Does

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. –Proverbs 22:6 NIV

My wife and I were privileged to raise three wonderful children; two daughters and a son. As a matter of fact, when I look back at those formative years, I simply sum them up as my “Golden Years” of parenting. My wife and I created wonderful memories, and had a great time interacting with them through all vital phases of their development. One of the things I am very proud of as a father was being able to reveal my kids identity before anyone else injected a false identity upon them. What I mean is, my wife and I were able to discern their gifts, talents and passions early on in life, and parented them with their own personal flow in mind. What I mean is, instead of injecting our own personal ambitions upon them, which wasn’t easy since I wanted my son to play baseball (Baseball was not a “fit” for him but football sure made up for it), we took note of what was threaded within each one, and went with what they had.

My younger daughter’s gifts were extremely evident early on. By these giftings I understood her better; who she was becoming, and where she was going in life. Here’s a good example on how much I knew her, and the gifts she possessed within herself. One day my daughter while studying at a Southern California university called me and said, “Daddy, I took a strengths based test and….” Before she could get another word out… I gently cut in, “Is it Gallup’s StrengthsFinder test?” She exclaimed, “How did you know?” I told her, “I once taught the subject in one of my leadership classes, so I’m very familiar with the assessement.” In my leadership class, I had my students take an online test. We then spent a few weeks analyzing Gallup’s 34 Strengths Themes (A well researched and refined list of innate gifts).” I then took a leap of faith and made the following request, “I bet I can guess your top five gifts.” She said, “No way!” Over the phone, one by one, I named all five of her gifts. Astonished, she asked, “Oh my God, how did you know?” I quickly responded, “You’re my daughter. I’ve seen you grow up in my house for the past 20 years. Of course I know what’s in you.” She was beside herself!

Gallup’s Strengths Themes assessment revealed her top five gifts, which are strongly oriented toward the “people” realm. She uses them quite effectively. Here’s her sample:

1. Positivity – This person has an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are going to do.

2. Activator – They can make things happen by turning thoughts into action.

3. WOO (Winning Others Over) – They love the challenge of meeting new people and winning them over. They derive satisfaction by “breaking the ice” and making a connection.

4. Communication – This person finds it easy to put their thoughts into words; good conversationalists and presenters.

5. Empathy – They can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in their lives or situation.

Innate gifts are those unique qualities attributed to one person, which are threaded within each person while he or she were being formed in their mother’s womb. My daughter is gifted with natural people, communication and leadership gifts. When she was a child I would often tell her, “You’re going to be the first female, Hispanic President of the United States.” I said this to denote her natural ability with people. Why? She was very popular as a child and in High School; so popular that she was elected to student government all four years. In her senior year, she was elected Student Body President of a large High School, and left an indelible imprint upon her advisor and the school. As a matter of fact a few years after her departure from High School, I visited her school to present a community project I was working on. I happend to land in the principal’s office (funny how things are cyclical), which happened to be her student government advisor at that time. As we reminisced of my daughter’s days as Student Body President, I noticed her student body group picture on his wall. After making a reference to the picture the principal voiced his heart-felt sincerity stating, “They were the best student council group I was privileged to oversee. I miss that group.”

Do you want to build confidence in your child? If so, tell them “who they are” before someone else does. 

What gifts are you discerning in your kids? Once you understand their cluster of “gifts and talents”, how are you grooming them for success?

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Learn – Live – Love – Lead

Early in 2011, I began contemplating upon our organization’s fundamental pillars… What would Latino Townhall become? What would be our defining pillars? Eventually, I would sum up the character of Latino Townhall by the following four words: Learn – Live – Love – Lead. Here’s why?


We all need to learn, especially the emerging Latino community, since a growing number of immigrants come from other countries where education is limited, or inaccessible in many rural areas. The Latino community’s existence and perpetuity depends upon adopting a learning posture for life. According to statistics, Latinos who attend higher education to acquire a four-year degree actually graduate at a dismal ratio of less than 1 out of every 10 students. This is an embarrassing statistic; we can do better. Latino Townhall is a learning community using the varied tools education has to offer, such as mentoring, leadership development, and coaching to help our community prosper. It’s crucial to use these tools and others to support a community in need of development. Learning equates to prosperity; those who take time to learn are better off than those who cut their eduction short. Learning is one of the central features of our organization.


Learning adds value to our lives, and to those we share life with. As a matter of fact, the quality of life stems from the acquisition of knowledge and the application of wisdom in everyday life. Actually, the ultimate goal of learning is the pursuit of truth. As a matter of fact the quality of your life depends on the truth you follow. Misguided multiculturalism, especially in our post-modern world, seek equality as a virtue but in reality, not all cultures are the same. There are those who are living life to the fullest, and those who do not. Life is all about choice based on truth.


Latinos have a deep love for helping their own community. Latinos are civic minded; and care deeply about their follow man. They hate injustice since they’ve experienced or witnessed it in their own Latin American homeland. When they see an act of injustice in America they emerge with passion to right a wrong. Love is a major feature of the Christian-Judeo faith. Since Latino Townhall has a faith-based lean, love must be its central theme, which must be taught, cherished and practiced in daily life.


In the present moment, and most certainly in the immediate future, Latinos have no other option but to lead. The 2010 Census revealed Latinos are the largest minority group in the nation boasting 50 million strong and growing. Their projected growth in the next ten to twenty years is even more staggering. With these explosive numbers, they have no other option but to lead a nation, or to siphon its resources by its dependence upon entitlements. Leadership is our mantle; it’s our destiny. Latinos are called to be leaders, not followers, contributors not takers, influencers not inferiors. Latino Townhall is dedicated to raising up a generation of Latino leaders by concentrating on the young and the immigrant alike.

NOTE: “Learn – Live – Love – Lead”, in this particular sequence, was claimed by Latino Townhall on Facebook on March 3rd 2011, and it was used previously on a Power Point presentation to 130 Latino youth February 2011.

The Anatomy of an “A” Team

An “A” Team is a concept many of us should be familiar with by now since it has been used many times in sporting analogies, staff meetings and other cultural settings. As a matter of fact, the recent Hollywood movie bearing the same title has illuminated the theme once again. One thing is for sure, when someone speaks about an “A” Team, they are talking about the “best of the best” working together on a single team. An “A” Team must have more than the obvious working for them, such as possessing great talent, having a high degree of discipline, and more importantly working together in unity.

On my drive home one evening, the letter “A” came to the forefront of my mind. I did not know “why” at the moment but I began to examine its construction very closely; studying its shape, angles and connection points. Soon three distinct features emerged before me. First and foremost, the letter “A” has two anchor points acting as the foundation. Second, the letter “A” has a horizontal beam in the middle supporting both sides. Finally, the letter “A” is connected at the top culminating at a fine point. Each part contributes to the shape, look and feel of the letter “A”. After this brief revelation three essential features working for it:

  • An “A” Team is solidly anchored upon at least two enduring principles (Convictions).

  • An “A” Team has a strong support system (Community).

  • An “A” Team is connected from top to bottom (Communication).

Let me elaborate on each point more clearly. (Note: I will use the words team and organization interchangeably):

1. An “A” Team is solidly anchored upon at least two enduring principles

First, allow me to define an “anchor point”. An anchor point is a foundational and enduring principle that your team is founded upon or known for; values, virtues, and creeds that grounds the team firmly. Anchor points should give us “purpose” and “meaning” for existing; the things that really matter at the end of the day. Anchor points bind a team together. Your team would not exist without anchor points. If you were to choose two anchor points that define your team, what would they be? Here’s an anchor list I created for you to work with, you may have more thoughts:

Integrity: truth and transparency.
Branding: image and value.
Organizational: service reliability and product integrity.
Work ethic: working hard with a sense of pride.
Compassion: creating a family culture; nurturing and caring for each other.
Trust: building a culture of interdependence, honesty and openness.

If your team members were asked to list two things about your organization, what would they come up with? Would all them pretty much say the same thing or would it pretty much look like a laundry list of complaints? What two anchor points make your team or organization sustainable through stressful events and great challenge?

2. An “A” Team has a strong support system

An “A” Team has a strong support system by adopting mentoring programs where everyone is seen as a key player, producer and emerging leader. A strong support system is based on “trust”, nothing more – nothing less. Team members with strong support systems intact – respect, honor and support one another. An “A” Team built around a supportive environment provides training and mentoring, speaks the truth with grace; they look after each other, and they hold each other accountable. Teams with strong support systems are stronger, better, possess high morale, and produce excellence throughout the organization. Is there room to say more?

3. An “A” Team is connected from top to bottom

A team that is disconnected experiences much conflict but so do teams who are highly connected. Conflict is inevitable and common, especially when talented people are expected to play or work together on the same team. So what’s the remedy? A team must build strong ties from top to bottom by creating and maintaining strong communication systems. Communication helps with the flow of work, production and removes ambiguity. A team who cannot communicate is a team doomed to fail. Effective communication:
– Brings clarity to vision and mission.
Challenges teams members to conform to a code of excellence.
Confronts weakness and mediocrity.

All communication starts at the top, however, even those at the top must be able to hear what’s happening at the ground floor, meaning those who are actually putting “feet” and “might” into producing results. Those working the “shop” floor per say must hear frequently from the top brass, as well as provide vital information by providing constructive feedback. How does this happen? Each team member must purposefully, systematically and creatively communicate. There are times when you need to meet with your executive team, and that’s fine, but not at the expense of neglecting others! A team leader must remember to also gather the middle managers; hear them out and inject your wisdom into their daily strategy. Finally and most critically, you must gather the whole team from top to bottom to share vision and remind each player of the mission and purpose of the organization. It would behoove team leaders to take a walk at least once a week to visit and chat with team members; to watch them in their arena of action, and to appreciate and honor them in front of others. A team that communicates effectively and feels connected to the “top” is a team that feels invincible.

What other dynamics are involved with “A” Teams?