“If this would have been a real emergency…  That’s what we hear on our television when the broadcasting system is checking the emergency preparedness announcements. When we are faced with a test in life and in business, we don’t get any warning notification. Sometimes our principles are tested and it’s our opportunity to show by our actions if we are what we say we are and what others believe us to be. That we are, in fact, “the real deal.”

I recently had an opportunity for a big (really big!) new client if only

If only I would accept the BBB Business Ethics Award on behalf of my firm one week and then accept a client who wanted to do something illegal the next week.

If only I would sacrifice my personal integrity and peace of mind.

If only I would put my professional reputation and that of my firm at risk.

For what? Money? No way!

It’s possible that no one would ever know – except the client and me – but that wasn’t the point. The point was, he wanted to do something that was not just wrong, it was against the law. He had obviously come to the wrong firm, because we simply won’t do that.

Sometimes new clients who come to us are doing things that are wrong just because they don’t know it’s wrong. That’s a whole different thing! We are there to help straighten things out. I talked about that in my video interview with the Better Business Bureau as part of their judging for the Business Ethics Awards. Watch the video that they played at the awards event for the full comment. Also don’t miss the comment about IRS guidelines that ASU Professor Marianne Jennings, who was the keynote speaker, told me that she enjoyed so much.

Character is what you do when no one is looking. It’s doing what’s right because it is right. It isn’t always the most convenient thing or the most profitable thing – at least in the short run. But living a life based on strong and enduring principles, on character and integrity, will always insure that your peace of mind, your personal and professional reputation, and your ability to face yourself in the mirror without shame, are protected.  It’s never wrong to do the right thing.

May you and I always pass the test.

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One Response to This is a Test…This is Just a Test!
  1. Congratulations Carolyn. Congratulations both for receiving the BBB award (Professor Jennings was one of the toughest but probably my favorite instructor in B-school though I wouldn’t never publicly admit that until now) and for proving to yourself that you are true to your integrity. I’m sure this was a difficult decision, made easier only by knowing that you choose to do the right thing.


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