Justifying a wrong does not makes it right

A man who was troubled swore that, if his problems were solved, he would sell his house and give the profit to the poor. The time came when he realized that he must follow through. But now he was reluctant to give away so much money, so he thought of a way out. He put his house up for sale for one piece of silver. Included in the deal, however, was a cat. The price tag for the cat was 10000 pieces of silver. Someone bought the house and the cat. The man gave the single piece of silver to the poor and pocketed the 10000 pieces of silver for himself (from I dries Shah in The Tales of the Dervishes) 

In the preceding Sufi story, the man strived to creatively justify a wrong, when in fact, he did not keep his word. In the final analysis, there is a genuine loss of integrity, and, when he looks in the mirror, the man will find a tarnished reflection. 

In violating ethics, the act itself becomes a punishment and sets into motion subtle forces with consequences we cannot escape any more then we escape the law of gravity. 

In a corporate setting, when such a kind of creative violation takes place, the company loses its credibility, and this can have grave consequences. Missed sales targets can be dealt with, but violation of ethics and principles cannot. For this reason, we need to weed out the employees who violate the corporate integrity. Tom Peters, a well-known management consultant says, “There is no such thing as a minor lapse of integrity.” This is one thing that the corporation cannot compromise.

Leaders can encourage and promote training to enhance self-confidence, communication, and good relationships, stressing the importance of integrity. A leader needs to send out a loud and clear message that the corporation has a zero tolerance for employees who violate the integrity of the corporation.


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