Saturday, 4 January 2020

Obituary Decisions

Every year presents us new challenges.  As leaders you will be required to make some difficult decisions that will push your moral or ethical standards to the limit.  And if your standards are not clearly established you may find that your ‘limit’ is flexible based on the situation.

My recommendations for these instances are twofold:

1.    Make your standards fixed.  Situational ethics or morals mean that those who depend upon your leadership never know with certainty what to expect.
2.   If you ever find yourself in a dilemma over which way to go on a decision, ask yourself ‘…what would I want to read in my obituary…’ as to how I responded under pressure.  Did I hold to the standards that I set or did I cave?

Clearly the easier decision, in the short term, is to turn the blind eye and move on.  But this only leads to more trouble down the road.  The right decision, the tougher decision, is one that you will be able to defend to the grave.

What you will find is that having made the tough call, it actually becomes easier over time.  Others know that you hold yourself to the same high standards you expect them to adhere to and they respond accordingly.  There will be no misunderstanding.  No one will be able to say ‘…but last time…’ when recalling a similar situation.

I am reminded of a quotation from a highly respected college basketball coach who said:

        ‘…reputation is what others think about you; character is what you really are…’
I know what I want in my obituary.  Hopefully you do too.

A side note.  In my blog dated November 9th, 2019, I wrote about the different responses to failure in Boeing and McDonald’s. 
It was recently announced that Boeing has fired their CEO for the culture that he created that allowed their Max 8 planes to be delivered with a potentially fatal software flaw.
It took the Board too long to act, but at least they finally did.