The Integrity Zone
Krogh opened the 2014 Serengeti Summit with a keynote speech focusing on integrity, discussing the lessons he learned from his time serving as an official in the Richard Nixon administration.
Krogh began by highlighting the importance of the code of ethics for government service, as well as his commitment to the rule of law, ethics and the constitution when he became a lawyer. Krogh noted several initiatives that he worked on during his time on Nixon’s administration, but he focused on the Special Investigations Unit that he was responsible for, which later became famous as the “White House Plumbers.” Members included G. Gordon Liddy, David Young, E. Edward Hunt and Krogh.
The “Plumbers” were tasked with investigating top-secret leaks of documents and information, such as the Pentagon Papers. Krogh noted that his loyalty to Nixon and the office, as well as groupthink, contributed to him not voicing his concerns or questioning several acts. Krogh offered that each and every staff in the White House faces national security threats, and that the Nixon administration believed these leaks were legitimate threats to U.S. security.
Krogh pointed to this era in his career and focused on the personal lesson that he now encourages all to follow: without personal and organizational integrity, an institution – be it a presidential administration, business, law firm, sports team or family – is vulnerable to attack and failure. Krogh went on to say that “one must not check one’s personal integrity at the door of any group one joins.”
Krogh has created “The Integrity Zone” and said there are three key questions one should ask when making decisions: Is it whole and complete?; Is it right?; and Is it good? Answering these questions requires a different set of personal qualities and variable analysis. Krogh went on to demonstrate another view to these questions, noting that the essential qualities to guide your decision making are: intellectual analysis; moral analysis; and spiritual analysis.
After pleading guilty and serving time in prison, Krogh was reinstated to the bar in 1980. He worked in private practice for many years following his reinstatement, authored Integrity: Good People, Bad Choices and Life Lessons from the White House, and currently serves as Senior Fellow on Ethics and Leadership at the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, as well as Counselor to the Director at the School for Ethics and Global Leadership.