15 June 2007

Have a strong moral code with no shades of grey

How many examples do we see of high profile people who are shining stars today becoming corporate disgraces tomorrow? It really is quite disheartening when business leaders featured on the front of a dozen major magazines are shown a few years later being dragged into court and often prison. Why does this happen? How can they have fallen? What corrupted them?

In reality the answer is most likely that they were always corruptible, its just that there were never enough people looking closely enough to catch them out. A friend of mine was once listed as one of the top 500 wealthiest people in Australia – he said from that day on every Government organization went through every business dealing he ever had with a fine tooth comb. He had nothing to worry about, he is a very honest man, but he said it was disconcerting to say the least.

We all need to have a strong moral code – be very clear about what is right and what is wrong. There should be no shades of grey because often, these are places where we can all falter. What is your moral code? Do you have situations that you have to deal with which could be considered grey? Of course there are differences between moral, ethical and legal codes, but in reality they are closely linked. Once you cross a line, it is a lot easier to keep crossing it and most offenders do.

My philosophy is simple – I will not do anything, ever, that can come back and haunt me. I don’t want to ever leave my office with a towel over my head scurrying away from a host of reporters. Apart from the devastating impact it has on your fashion sense, it ruins lives, often the innocent parties.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY? What is your moral code? Do you have areas of grey that need to be clarified once and for all? If you do, clarify them today – even if the ramifications are scary.

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