This morning, the headlines highlight more updates concerning the 13 ethics violations against a long-serving congressman from New York. Allegedly, there’s a plea deal in the works. On the same news page, there’s word that Citi Corp has been fined $75 million for misleading investors concerning their exposure to sub prime mortgages. Sadly, the list of ethical issues in government and business grows longer each day. This is because many leaders embrace situational ethics. Situational ethics means that they adapt or change their level of ethical behavior in order to fit the situation. They may have one set of ethics at church, another at home with their family, a third when they’re with friends, and a totally different level of ethics when they’re on the job. Situational ethics is corrupt behavior that leads to the compromising of character and the rationalization of wrong doing. The elimination of situational ethics will be one of the 70 strategies I tackle in, How to Lead by THE BOOK.
Here is the bottom line that every high-integrity leader understands: Ethics are ethics. You either have them or you don’t. You cannot turn them on and off in order to fit the situation or accommodate what’s best for you at the moment. In fact, according to Luke 12:48, leaders will be held to a higher standard and subject to stricter punishment for failing to do what they know is right because, “to whom much is given, much is required.”
John Maxwell wrote a terrific little book on this subject: There is No Such Thing as Business Ethics. I recommend it for your library.
After giving a speech last night with a heavy accountability theme to a group of cement contractors, another public speaker came up and told me: “Man, you have guts. You said some very politically incorrect things that could be offensive to some people. You might really ruffle some feathers and even get bad speaker evaluations.” I felt sorry for this troubled soul who was so afraid of offending someone that he might sugarcoat or withhold the truth. I can promise you that in, How to Lead by THE BOOK, you won’t find compromises or choruses of Kumbaya! Some of the solutions I provide in the 70 strategies will rub harshly against today’s politically correct grain. Frankly, my guess is that some of the hyper-sensitive folks won’t even be able to make it through the introduction without having their PC sensitivities offended. Actually, I would hope for nothing less.