November 2, 2010 3 Comments
Courage is the willingness to act according to one’s convictions.
It is not lack of fear – it is refusal to be paralyzed by fear.
It is not recklessness – it includes a clear-eyed view of the risks, and a readiness to go forward anyway.
It is not exclusively male nor female – macho guys can be enslaved to peer pressure, while feminine gals can stand as strong as a lion.
Courage says, “I’m going to do this because it is the right thing to do.” Would that we had more courage in business leaders!
What would it look like?
I think that, fundamentally, it would look like a thorough and practical commitment to the Golden Rule, instead of the Gold-in Rule.
Golden Rule – treat others the way you’d wish to be treated
Gold-in Rule – do what’s necessary to maximize my gold
Here’s the Courageous Choice in business: Do I do what’s right? Or do I do what is expedient to try to ensure maximum short-term (income/profitability/bonus/stock price/etc.)?
The courageous business leader looks at the long-term, looks at the good of clients/customers/employees/stakeholders, looks at the Golden Rule, and chooses to do what’s right despite unpopular consequences.
The cowardly leader looks at the short-term, at his/her own wallet, at the not-so-best-practices of other companies that get away with stuff, and decides to lie, misrepresent, cheat, engage in false marketing, and do what he wouldn’t want done to him in order to maximize immediate income.
In last week’s #LeadershipChat, we began to touch on business ethics. I don’t think you need an expensive MBA class to learn that. Fundamentally, you need the Golden Rule and courage, and the clear vision that comes with a clean conscience. Start with that, then worry about nuanced choices later.
And, in my opinion, those leaders and businesses that apply the Golden Rule will, over time, have plenty of Gold-in to follow. Because there’s ROI to earning rich dividends of trust. Do they teach that in business schools anymore…?
What do you think? Utopian ideals? Or is this actually attainable?
Read what my co-moderator Lisa Petrilli wrote this week about courage. Then join us Tuesday night (8 pm ET) for #LeadershipChat on Twitter (hint: one very easy way to participate is by using a client like Tweetchat. Just log in, read the stream of thoughts that are being shared, and feel free to chime in with your reactions and questions.)