Today is a great day for talking about taking the moral high road. Why, because good people are losing their jobs for doing the right thing.
As a leader, I have faced many situations where I was asked to compromise either my personal values or the “corporate” values. Truly having values means that sometimes you need to decide what is more important. When is doing the right thing more important? From my perspective, true leaders may put themselves in harms way and take the risk of not being popular or even losing a job, to stand true to their values. I fondly refer to this character trait as the mirror effect. Can you look at yourself in the mirror and know you have done the right thing?
Many people have personal gain at the top of their values. Are they wrong, perhaps not, but there may not be alignment with that personal value and what needs to be done corporately. The lines can become blurry when ambition gets in the way of conscious and somehow you get stuck in the middle. As I have learned in my career, doing the right thing can hurt, but it remains the right thing. Be sure that your personal values remain aligned with the corporate values. When corporate values become words on a wall and not a part of the culture of the company, you may have a tough decision to make.
As organizations change and leaders change, ask yourself the question, “Am I still aligned?”. Can I live up to both my personal values and the corporate values in the company as it is today. If you are in a position of influence and/or authority, ask yourself, “Are we living our values?” Having strong core values will provide you with context needed to filter the most challenging decisions. When in doubt, take the moral high road!