and thunders so that I cannot hear what you say to the contrary.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson
Character • "Character is destiny." - Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher • "Within the character of the citizen lies the welfare of the nation" - Cicero, Roman Philosopher
Character • In his book The Death of Character , James Hunter, a noted sociologist from the University of Virginia, concludes that while Americans are innately as capable of developing character as they ever were in the past, there are now few cultural or institutional guidelines in our society that call for its cultivation or maintenance . The reason, he suggests, is because there is no consensus of moral authority. • Do you agree with this?
Character • Compartmentalization: Many people believe that what individuals do in their private lives is their own business as long as it does not adversely impact the performance of their duties to the organization and they are able to “deliver the goods” professionally. Under this way of thinking even serious moral failures may be excused. Some refer to this kind of thinking as “compartmentalization.” (e.g. Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky situation) • Do you agree with this?
Character • Character vs. Reputation : It has been said that an individual’s character can be illustrated by a barrel of apples. The apples seen on top by all represent one’s reputation, and the apples that lie hidden underneath are his character.
Reputation • Eli Lily introduced a drug, fialuridine, intended to treat hepatitis B. However, 15 patients who submitted to trials of the drug suffered liver toxicity and 6 died. Rather than follow the company’s long-standing “no comment” policy, the new Chairman and CEO, Randall Tobias openly acknowledged the failure. His view was that communication stands at the top of the list in the elements of good leadership. In addition, he believed that if a company leaves a communications void, others will fill it with misinformation. ( Put the Moose on the Table:Lessons in Leadership from a CEO’s Journey Through Business and Life , Randall and Todd Tobias, Indiana University Press)
Reputation • A railroad executive burst into Arthur Andersen’s office one day in 1914, demanding that the firm’s founder approve the railroad’s books. Accountants had discovered that the railroad was inflating its profits by failing to properly record expenses. Andersen refused, saying that there wasn’t enough money in the city of Chicago to make him approve the fraudulent accounting. Andersen’s independence cost him the client, but it gained him something far more valuable, a reputation for integrity that gave investors confidence in Arthur Andersen audits, a reputation that helped the firm become one of the top 5 accounting firms in the U.S. After nearly 90 years in business, Andersen imploded in 2002 after acknowledging that its auditors had shredded documents relating to its audits of Enron.
Reputation • Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, warns his executives once a year not to do
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