2018-01-02 Issue 28 Fundamental Behavior 1 Do The Right Thing, Always
Happy New Year! I am delighted to have this opportunity to pick up where Alex left off last December and share my thoughts with you as we begin Round 2 of discussions on the NCA Group Fundamental Behaviors.
The economy was still in recession in 1995 when I came out of law school, but I was fortunate to get a good job with a reputable law firm. I was very grateful to have that job and I very much wanted to prove myself to the partners. The Internet was new at the time and one of the partners represented a gambling interest out west. The client wanted to start an Internet casino. Gambling was, and still generally is, illegal in Georgia, but the laws around Internet transactions had not been written yet. The partner asked me (sitting at a computer in Atlanta) to set up a personal Internet gambling account with the casino in Nevada and do some gambling online. His strategy was to use this as a model to set the standard going forward.
As I said, I very much wanted to impress the partner and prove myself worthy. But the fact that he had not opened this account in his own name was not lost on me. I struggled with the desire to be a ‘team player’ and the ethical issues associated with such a move. It was not the right thing to do at the time, so I declined to follow the partner’s orders. While we never worked together again, my little rebellion actually helped strengthen my reputation among the better lawyers at the firm and I ended up getting better projects because of it. After that, I felt a great sense of relief, empowerment, and FREEDOM of choice to always try to do the right thing.
Of course, I do not always succeed in doing the right thing. I am merely human. Everyday pressures, stress, and laziness are constantly pushing all of us to take short cuts, to skip steps, and to sometimes do the less difficult thing instead of the ‘right’ thing. So, if I think of this Fundamental Behavior as a ‘rule’ or even an ‘instruction,’ it can be very challenging to follow.
I would like for you to think about this Fundamental Behavior #1, however, not so much as a rule, but as PERMISSION. Through this perspective, there is less pressure to be perfect, and more FREEDOM to follow your better judgment.
Of course we will make mistakes. It is not always easy to see what the ‘right thing’ to do is, and sometimes it is even harder to do it. But you do have permission, and that is something. The result is worth it, because it leads to being part of something that you can be proud of, and that makes all the difference.
Mark Twain said, ‘Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.’ Consider this your permission to astonish!
Jim Reed President,
YKK Corporation of America