COMMENTARY 973.4: The Pressure to Cheat

What’s causing the growing hole in our moral ozone? Why are cheating and lying so common in schools, on the sports field, and in business and politics? Apparently it’s a thing called pressure. Kids are under pressure to get into college, athletes and coaches are under pressure to win, and, according to a survey by the American Management Association, the …

COMMENTARY 973.2: Digging and Filling Holes

Charlie, a road crew supervisor for highway landscapers, came upon a pair of workers from one of his crews seemingly hard at work. He watched one fellow dig a hole while his partner waited a few minutes and then filled the hole. After a few repetitions Charlie demanded an explanation. The hole-filler was offended: “We’ve been doing this job for …

COMMENTARY 972.3: Acts of Kindness and Two Sets of Proud Parents

I received an email with a story worth sharing. Only the names have been changed to preserve privacy. Doug is the proud and loving father of Emma, a high school junior who takes a leadership class responsible for putting on dances and other student events. All student body officers must take the class, but a number of other kids like …

COMMENTARY: The President’s Day Un-Celebration — Honoring Not Just the Great, But All U.S. Presidents

If you’re not going to school or work today, it’s because it’s a national holiday. The country used to celebrate the birthdays of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln separately, but in 1971 Richard Nixon and Congress, in order to create a perpetual three-day weekend, merged the two holidays into a brand new one called Presidents Day, to honor all U.S. …

Would Be leaders Duped Into Advancing the Terrorist Agenda.

It seems that the same propaganda and terror strategies used by ISIS to induce thousands of men and woman to join their cause has duped a handful of scared and shallow-thinking would-be American leaders to unwittingly join their jihad against western civilization. Provoked into broad anti-Muslim rhetoric, these new recruits advance the terrorists’ agenda by stoking fears (based on grossly …

Terrorists Do Us Harm by Killing People But They Win Only If They Kill Our Ideals. – by  Michael Josephson 

“America is great because America is good. If America ever stops being good she will stop being great.” – Alexis De Tocqueville ————– Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, if you are following the news I hope you share my dismay and concern about fear-mongering demagogic rhetoric which has been embraced by millions of Americans desperately seeking to feel safe. …

A LEADER MUST LEAD

A LEADER MUST LEAD When others count on you to lead, failure to decide is a choice – and it’s usually a bad one. Both action and inaction have consequences, but indecisiveness has the added consequence of eroding trust. – Michael Josephson. Of course it is wise to get as much information as you can before you make an impactful …

A LEADER MUST LEAD

When others count on you to lead, failure to decide is a choice – and it’s usually a bad one. “Both action and inaction have consequences, but indecisiveness has the added

What is Success?

Few questions have been asked more often by more people. The concept of success and the concept often thought to be its opposite, failure are central to the human quest for meaning and for happiness. Most of us very much want to be successful in our professions, successful in our various family roles and, of course, we would like to …

Accountability in the Workplace (943.2)

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time consulting with large companies concerned with strengthening their ethical culture. Although I’m sure the leaders I work with care about ethics and virtue for their own sake, I know the driving force to seek outside assistance is self-interest. The risk of reputation-damaging and resource-draining charges resulting from improper conduct is so high …

The passing of Ron Kinnamon – a great man and great friend

Personal Note: I just learned that a very dear friend, Ron Kinnamon, one of the original board members of the Josephson Institute and a founding father of CHARACTER COUNTS! passed away on July 30. Ron was not only a tremendous personal friend and friend of the Institute he was also one of the finest men I’ve had the fortune to …

SUCCESS AND FAILURE MADE SIMPLE by Michael Josephson

SUCCESS AND FAILURE MADE SIMPLE     What is Success?  Few questions have been asked more often by more people. The concept of success and the concept often thought to be its opposite, failure are central to the human quest for meaning and for happiness. Most of us very much want to be successful in our professions, successful in our …

The Glory of Sports and the Taint of Over-Competitive Coaches Who Cheat

Here is  an excerpt from a commentary by Michael Arace, a sports columnist in the The Columbus Dispatch • Sunday February 1, 2015: “Meet Michael Josephson, former law professor, whose odd work it is to lecture government bureaucracies, corporations, military leaders and nonprofit organizations about building a sustainable ethical culture. He also has dedicated the past 20 years building up …

COMMENTARY .2: How Much Are You Willing to Pay for Money?

Disdain for money is a common theme among moralists and philosophers. But money’s not the problem. It’s what people do to get it and what they do with it when they get it. In Fiddler on the Roof, a poor man sings of his daydreams of the wonderful life he’d have if he were a rich man. And surely it …

Historical Context for What is Going on in Ferguson and New York City: The Kerner Report

The summers of 1964-1967 were marked by civil disorders, rioting and looting in African-American neighborhoods of major cities including Los Angeles (Watts Riot of 1965), Chicago (Division Street Riots of 1966), Newark (1967 Newark riots) and Detroit (1967 Detroit Riots) In all, these disorders resulted in millions of dollars of damage[1] and the loss of 83 lives. In response, President Lyndon Johnson …

COMMENTARY 893.2: Tyranny of the Minority

According to a survey of parents, 93 percent want schools to teach basic values like honesty and respect. The problem is, schools are left to contend with the 7 percent who disagree. In any enterprise that seeks to avoid conflict and find consensus, that small minority may often dictate policy. Too often, aggressive objectors bully administrators into quick surrender with …

COMMENTARY 893.1: A Parable About Leadership

Listening to politicians’ nasty rhetoric, one might think that leadership has to be aggressive and confrontational, but consider this parable about leadership. A student assigned to write an essay about an effective leader wrote this story: “I’ve been taking a bus to school for years. Most passengers keep to themselves and no one ever talks to anyone else.

COMMENTARY 890.5: The Dangers of Absolutism

The world of ethics spreads from the borders of the absolutists, who think every moral question has a clear and single answer, to the coast of the relativists, who believe ethics is a matter of personal opinion or regional custom. In distinguishing right from wrong, absolutists don’t see much of a difference between mathematical calculation and moral reasoning. They’re extraordinarily …

COMMENTARY 886.2: The Paradoxical Commandments

In 1968, when Kent M. Keith was a 19-year-old sophomore at Harvard, he wrote the Paradoxical Commandments as part of a booklet for student leaders. He describes the Commandments as guidelines for finding personal meaning in the face of adversity: 1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Love them anyway. 2. If you do good, people will accuse you of …

Michael Josephson Named One of 100 Top Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business

Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TWA), global leaders in organizational trust, has recognized Josephson Institute founder Michael Josephson as one of 2014’s Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business. This year’s recipients hail from around the globe and include leaders from the public and private sectors as well as authors, consultants, researchers and academics. Each honoree, according to TAA-TWA, …

Memo From Michael: Nelson Mandela’s Inspiring Example

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” — Nelson Mandela, at Walter Sisulu’s 90th birthday celebration, Johannesburg, May 18, 2002 I am impressed and deeply moved by the universal wall-to-wall coverage of …

Memo From Michael: Secrets, Surveillance, Trust & Credibility – What’s a President to Do? Take this simple survey illuminating the complex issues involved in the apparent eavesdropping on heads of state of friendly countries.

Take the survey here. I have been disturbed about the shallowness of public discussions concerning the revelation that U.S. intelligence agencies have been and still are conducting extensive surveillance on the phones (and presumably other communications) of heads of state (and presumably other top government officials). I have heard well known and respected pundits and politicians base their opinions (often stated …