The 16th President of the United States, the great Abraham Lincoln, said “Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
After some deep thought on Lincoln’s statement, I experienced some difficulty determining what might transcend the importance of character in our business and personal lives. Why you might ask?
Character refers to the mental and moral qualities distinctive to a human.
In my previous article, I talked about the importance of writing out a purpose statement and building a moral compass. Our character develops, molds, and forms from how we live our lives. Think of it as a big star spinning out of your moral compass galaxy.
How can we build better ethical cultures without character being a central component of the strategy? The truth serum says we cannot. Why?
Organizations that have ethical cultures generally exhibit high levels of employee satisfaction and productivity. Leaders communicate and operate through their values. In essence, culture encompasses the actions, attitudes, and values of the workforce.
While it is true that companies cannot exist without customers, they are lifeless without making employees their most valuable asset. Character is huge.
Stay with me. Our character grows like a big tree sprouting and expanding our core roots. We are what we value and exhibit conduct wise each day. All trees cast shadows and this is where reputation comes into play.
This can be a slippery slope for ambitious humans who knowingly or otherwise require validation in their lives. They place a higher value on their reputation rather than letting their values/conduct drive their paths.
Reputation is temporary and defined by what other humans say about you. Character lasts for eternity.
Do your best each day. No one can ask anymore or any less of us. Consult your moral compass and always be aware of character.
All the best/blessings, Mark