Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The One Leadership Question You Can't Ignore

My Three Sons is a tv show I have been a fan of for years. It chronicles the adventures that a single father, Steve, encounters while raising two biological and one adopted son. In one particular episode, the oldest son Robbie is "going steady" with two girls. When Steve finds out, he confronts Robbie.

"How can you do this?" He asks.

"Easy, Dad. One's in high school and one's in college. They will never run into each other."

"No, Rob. I mean, how can you morally do this?"

How often do you hear that question asked? I'm afraid if it were voiced too many times, most of the entertainment on both the big and small screens would vanish. Reality shows would hold no value in the absence of immorality, while many prime time shows that thrive on sexual corruption would cease to exist.

While asking that question will kill silver screen entertainment in one swipe, it's a necessary proposal if you want to lead and be successful doing so. Who wants to follow someone they can't trust? At the heart of immorality is skepticism and suspicion, qualities that make for great entertainment, but poor leadership.

By the end of the thirty minute show, Rob found out you can't go steady with more than one girl and not get caught, just as in real life you can't juggle an unethical lifestyle without it eventually being exposed.

Are you willing to sacrifice everything with one deception? When you are tempted to engage in the slightest indiscretion, stop and ask, "How can I morally do this?" Not to brainstorm the mechanics of following through, but as a voice of reason to remember the end result. For the leader engaging in a corrupt enterprise, it will have a devastating ending. Are you prepared for that?

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