Show Me the Values
Every speech, every one-on-one, every group meeting, every chance encounter in the hallway, and every critical incident present leadership moments--opportunities to teach an important lesson or demonstrate commitment to fundamental values. Some moments are just more momentous than others.
When such moments present themselves the crucial question for leaders is," What is the lesson you are trying to teach, and what are the values you want to reinforce?" Taking a decision or action without being clear about the enduring principles at the core of the matter is likely to result in aimless, or even foolhardy, execution. To have the courage of our convictions, we first need to be clear about the convictions.
The AIG bonus brouhaha presents President Obama with the opportunity to enroll the American people in a national seminar on the norms that should guide our financial institutions in the 21st century. This is the time to educate, the time to shed some much needed light on a "show me the money" culture that has gotten us to this place. President Obama will do the country a great service by engaging us in a reexamination of the values that created this culture and a search for a new set of shared values that can lead us into a more secure, prosperous, ethical, and meaningful future.
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