The Pitfalls Of Exchanging Your Principles

It has become an all too common theme. Corporate principals are compromised at every turn:

A bank rigs LIBOR rates. Principle is laid waste for profit. An auto manufacturer programs deceit into their emissions control software. Principle is exchanged for ambition in the race to be number one. A politician sacrifices a long held principal under pressure to pass party legislation. Principle is exchanged for power.

What is common here is that all of these corporations are made up of people. People just like you and me. Our principles are challenged every day.  A customer wants me to fudge project pricing at the expense of a manufacturer who trusts me. A teenage son persistently presses for permission to stay out two hours beyond curfew.

We also live in a new world with a larger public. We want the leverage all that this worldwide exposure can bring, but need to be aware that ill considered actions and comments can also be our very public undoing. Additionally, don’t forget that what is said in this new domain is permanent.


So how can you avoid being caught up in these maelstroms? Here are a few Pitfall Prevention Pointers:


  1. Know who you are, and who you aren’t. I am reminded of the old saying: “If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything.” Take some time to think your position through on important professional and life issues. Build a personal foundation on absolute truths that you trust absolutely. This will enable you to make better decisions, and to stand by them when challenged.
  2. Go with your gut. Be prepared for “Fight or Flight” if you sense a mismatch between you and others on fundamental principles mentioned above. Don’t allow yourself to be coerced into going along if your gut is churning!
  3. Keep good counsel. Surround yourself with wise people who are familiar with your world. They can be your champions, and can help you with impartial perspective.


A qualified and courageous coach can be one such resource. We are trained to listen, probe, and prompt you to develop, decide, and do. We can help you to establish and stand on your own solid principles. That would be an empowering exchange.


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