Bill Bernbach

More and more I have come to the conclusion that a principle isn’t a principle until it costs you money.

Bowen H. McCoy

Isn’t stress the real test of personal and corporate values? The instant decisions executives make under pressure reveal the most about personal and corporate character.

Clayton Christensen

The capabilities of business units reside in their processes and their values, and by their very nature, processes and values are inflexible and meant not to change.

Daniel D. Elash, Ph.D.

The gap between what a company says it stands for and what actually drives daily decisions creates a significant source of lost potential for any organization. All organizations pursue a purpose. Yet, lofty mission statements are often subverted by the decisions made for short-term crisis management. Value statements are often discredited by how people are treated day to day. Strategies are often abandoned as unexpected events threaten the numbers attached to budgets, bonuses, or personal … [ Read more ]

Dov Seidman

People think that being values-based is about being nice. It’s really about being principled. You have to be firm, consistent, and even ruthless about your principles, and very few companies are.

Howard Gardner

If you are not prepared to resign or be fired for what you believe in, then you are not a worker, let alone a professional. You are a slave.

Jerome Kohlberg, Jr.

All around us there is a breakdown of values […] It is not just the […] overpowering greed that pervades our business life. It is the fact that we are not willing to sacrifice for the ethics and values we profess. For an ethic is not an ethic, and a value not a value without some sacrifice to it. Something given up, something not taken, something not gained.

Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.

The clash between principles and pragmatism is one of the hardest tests of a leader’s character. Of course we want our leaders to be both principled and pragmatic. Principles alone qualify men and women to be preachers or saints. Pure pragmatists can open their tool kits and get down to work, but their amorality makes them dangerous. As many leaders know, sometimes the worst conflict is between two strongly held principles. Navigating that can be … [ Read more ]

Lou Gerstner

If the practices and processes inside a company don’t drive the execution of values, then people don’t get it. The question is, do you create a culture of behavior and action that really demonstrates those values and a reward system for those who adhere to them?

Mary Crossan, Jeffrey Gandz, and Gerard Seijts

When loyalty conflicts with honesty, when fairness conflicts with pragmatism, or when social responsibility conflicts with obligation to shareholders, people become conflicted. And when their actions are inconsistent with their values, they either experience guilt, anger and embarrassment. People try to minimize such cognitive dissonance by rationalizing or even denying their behavior, discounting the consequences of it or simply blaming others.