The Problem With A Lack Of Character

So often there is such an emphasis on results that it doesn’t matter how you get them. Moving up is more important than the way you move up. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are, just what kind of player you are. It doesn’t matter if you follow the rules or break them, just as long as you come out on top. After all, that’s what everyone will remember at the end of the day. That’s why we have to have steroid testing in the NFL. That’s why medals are forfeited in the Olympics. Competitors have to ask themselves: Since everyone is doing it, if I want to have a legitimate chance, I have to do it too, right? There’s a total lack of character.

On these matters I always come back to this:

What you do is not as important as how you do it. Those are the words that keep coming back to me when I am tempted to choose what is expedient over what is right. People who bend the rules to get ahead usually get caught in the long run. But even if they don’t get caught, they will always know how they made it to the top. And at some deep-down level, they’ll know that they’re frauds and that maybe they didn’t have what it took to accomplish such achievements on a level playing field.

The other problem is that, at some point, somebody who does care how the game is played-a boss, a board of directors-may well find out. For me as an employer, how you do your job has always been more important than what you do. Can you be counted on to do things the right way? Do you have the appropriate habits to get you through a tough situation, or are you the type to cut corners and hope things turn out all right? Your character will determine the answer.

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