Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mother's Day Mom


Remarks by drkenney in Cleveland, Ohio, November 12, 2007

A vacuum can be a dangerous thing, and a moral vacuum is extremely dangerous to the financial stability of our country. The Character First! program is the company’s way to communicate to us that the company recognizes and values employees with sound morals and ethics.

Too many companies have not addressed the topic of morals & ethics in business and the effects can be seen in the newspaper regularly. In times past, businesses have assumed that employees came to work with sound morals and ethics instilled. They have failed to recognize that the decline of the moral fabric of the family has a direct impact on its operation. Universities have recognized the symptoms of this challenge and responded with courses in business ethics. Michael D. Michalisin, Associate Professor of Management, at SIU Carbondale reported in July 2007: "Right now, 40 percent of the top 50 business schools require a course in business ethics or social responsibility. You can see how important it is."
[1] Also, Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) requires business ethics as a core component of accredited business curricula.[2] In spite of such efforts to regulate against the lack of business ethics, such as Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, the costs for those who commit unethical acts in business is nearly impossible to regulate. Regulation can attempt to minimize the symptoms but the problem is far deeper than we have time to discuss here. So I applaud the company’s effort to promote the importance of sound ethical business practices rather than remaining silent and a vacuum remain to be filled by some other force.

We all struggle with various character attributes from time to time including "Determination". How do we keep going when it is easier to quit? How do we keep give our best effort when those around us are not giving it their all? We need to realize that the way we conduct ourselves “on the job” is just as a reflection about who we are as “off the job”. A Senior Vice President in a Fortune 500 company with over 50,000 employee once told a department I worked in: "Do not think you are only one in 50,000 employees and do not have an impact. The way you conduct yourself on the job follows you. Your name & reputation is one thing that is always yours. If a person acts act unethically for the company, then he or she will be viewed as unethical regardless of where they later work in the future." This is true. Some think the way they conduct themselves on the job is not the way they really are. The truth of the matter is—the way we conduct ourselves on & off the job is the way we really are.

We often think about role models when discussing character. On this Veteran’s Day, there are countless examples that could be given to inspire us to determination. However, many of us will never be called upon to fight in a war. We need to realize that determination is an important characteristic we need to strive for whether we manage a department, business, or home. Who is your role model that inspires you for determination?

I’ll share with you one of mine, my mother. My mother was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in the winter of 1983. She has worked full-time for the Department of the Interior until her retirement this past September. She would have to get up, get dressed, and drive 17 miles to work, work full time there, and then come home to housework. This is formable for anyone to do but add the challenges of multiple sclerosis on top of that. Plus, she is the wife of a preacher; which requires additional demands on her life. She is working more for the church now in order to remain active. Throughout the past 25 years, she been paralyzed (even confined to a wheelchair at times), lost her eyesight at one point to have it slowly return, and she cannot do a lot of the things we regularly take for granted such as running. How does she continue to "Keep on keeping on"? Sheer determination!

I realize that I am speaking to a group of people who all ready manifest the characteristic of determination and probably do so better than I. For those times when we struggle, maybe these words will come to your remembrance and help:

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you will win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
Fight for a few underdogs anyway.

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
Help people anyway.

Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
Give the world the best you have anyway.

In closing, I would like to read you a quote in the Character Bulletin, “The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one often comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.”—Henry Ward Beecher.

Thank you.

Work Cited:

[2] Ibid.
[4] As quoted in “Determination—Purposing to Accomplish Right Goals At The Right Time, Regardless of the Opposition,” Character First! Bulletin, Oklahoma, OK: Character First!, Series 3, No. 43, 2007.

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