By Doug Lennick and Fred Kiel
Wharton School Publishing, $25.95
We turn our attention now to the fine people at Dictionary.com, who tell us that the meanings of the word moral are "of or concerned with the judgment of the goodness or badness of human action and character; teaching or exhibiting goodness or correctness of character and behavior; conforming to standards of what is right or just in behavior; arising from conscience or the sense of right and wrong."
Although the accompanying term "intelligence" is not found in any of the above definitions, we take in on faith that intelligent, successful people and businesses are typically built on sound moral principles. If not, they don't last—the people or the businesses. We can fool some of us for a short period (Enron, et al.) but not for long.
Though this line of thinking is a canard for certain cynics, the fact that most sound business practices are built on good principles, values, and beliefs is what keeps business (mostly) out of the jungle. Authors Lennick and Kiel attempt to show us how the top-performing organizations, over the long run, have leaders with well-developed senses of truth, fairness and justice, even in a business world that often rewards aberrant behavior—at least, in the short term.
So, before you turn to chapter 1, go right to page 227, where the Moral Competency Inventory (MCI) starts, and take the test. You might be surprised at what you learn, about yourself, about your company and, perhaps most importantly, about how your beliefs square with this complex and ambiguous world we live in. —S.C.