A successful account manager speaks to a prospect. The prospect is on the fence, not quite ready to buy. The deal is worth millions. One simple stretch of the truth on the part of the account manager can seal the deal. Within seconds (and without even thinking) the account manager speaks the untruth, the contract is signed. It’ll be months before the client figures out the truth, and besides, it was only a small lie.
How often do we rationalize little lies to get ahead? What seems insignificant begins to eat at our passion and fulfillment at work.
What we think is helping us, actually keeps us from building trust.
A father arrives home from work to find his teenage son in the basement with friends. The kids are discussing a minor traffic accident that happened earlier in the day. The son bumped another car in a parking lot, no one saw it. The son drove away; after all, it was only minor damage, only a small lie.
The father hears of this and is immediately aghast at his son’s behavior. He couldn’t believe the boy would drive away without even leaving a note to the car owner. He reprimands his son, tells him this is not honorable, and begins the process of helping his son find the car owner so that he can make things right.
The Dual Morality:
The account manager and the father are the same man with two sets of values: one set he uses at work, the other he uses at home. The account manager deceives the potential client, the father reprimands the son for being dishonest.
It is nearly impossible to succeed in the world, to find peace, to reach your potential if you live a life of dual morality. Self-awareness happens when you recognize who you are, who you want to be, and where you fall short. When you become accountable for all of your actions, not just the one’s people can see.
Make your choices at work the same way you would make them in your personal life. If more people would behave in this manner, there would be far less deceptive advertising, angry clients, and confused children. Character isn’t something that can be part time. Real success requires real character, not dual morality.
Cynthia Corsetti is an Executive Coach and Speaker. If you’d like to learn more on how her C.A.R.E. to Engage system can help you create an engaged workforce in your organization, you can email her at: [email protected]
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Cynthia, I am a military retiree and noe college student. One of my courses, Social and Ethical issues in Business started off with this very subject – dual morality, and does it exist or is just how people rationalize their choices for violating their common system of values? From long personal experience, I completely found myself in agreement with your comments above. It’s so refreshing to read material like this!
Thank you very much for reading and thank you for the kind words. I’m sure your time in the military made you even more keenly aware of how dual morality affects choices. Good luck as you proceed in your studies and your life after the military and thank you also for your service.