“[Because power corrupts] Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

— John Adams, American Founding Father and second U.S. president

Men like John Adams understood that when the fallen nature of man meets the corrupting influence of power, terrible things can happen. For a people to be “self-governing,” they must learn to govern themselves. That’s why character and moral courage are such important attributes for men and women in positions of authority.

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2 thoughts on ““[Because power corrupts] Society’s demands for moral authority and character increase as the importance of the position increases.”

  1. I was again preparing for an MBA class and took to reading “Healthsouth: the Wagon to Disaster.” If you haven’t read or heard about it, it’s a book by the CFO of Healthsouth and the major acounting error that took shareholders for millions.

    I couldnt help but think about something you said a couple years ago about re-enforcing character, not results. As the story goes you told us about how you paid your children based on good grades, a common trend among parents, when you realized you weren’t rewarding the hardwork, time, and effort it took to get those good grades but just the end result, the “A”.

    So while reading the book, I thought to myself, “Haven’t we done the same thing with our businesses?” All we as investors care about is that our stock prices rise and our dividends are paid. What are we telling the CEOs and CFOs? Is it any wonder why the Enrons, World Coms, and Healthsouths comitted these acts?

    Anyway, I hope this makes sense. My point is I wanted you to know how vauable your character training was and how it is still impacting me today. Be safe.

    • You are absolutely on point. We have put achievements over character in just about every arena and are reaping what we have been sowing. If you put achievements first, you actually encourage bad character, because some people will violate ethical principles in order to “make the grade,” “win the game,” “close the sale,” “get the conviction,” etc.

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