Published in The Tennessean
Our free market economic system has built the wealthiest country in the world. We have literally millions of business leaders – the “good guys” – that work diligently and ethically every day with customers, employees and business partners to deliver quality goods and services. These “good guys” working in our capitalist system are the unsung heroes that are responsible for our phenomenal long term economic success.
The United States is, arguably, the most ethical country on the planet; however we are not immune to the destruction that can be brought about by a handful of “bad guys.” We were recently victimized by a small group of high profile business leaders that have done some really bad things. Several years from now, we will find that the bad guys who actually committed these crimes will go to jail, and many for really lengthy sentences.
Let us not condemn a great system based on the conduct of a few bad individuals. There are millions of business leaders in America and only a tiny fraction ever walk down the path of dishonesty and illegality. In the long term, the “good guys” build our economy and the “bad guys” get caught and are forced to pay the consequences of their actions.
With a handful of exceptions, our business leaders – “the good guys” — are focused on building their businesses ethically and honestly. They practice and demonstrate, through their actions, the right path to achieving business success:
• They take a long-term view of the business.
• They practice “servant leadership”—always placing other’s needs above their own.
• They practice the “Golden Rule”—Treat others as you yourself would want to be treated.
• They recognize that they will win with teamwork and strong business partnerships.
• They hold themselves and those around them to the highest levels of ethical and moral conduct.
• They pride themselves on being persons of high integrity.
Our system thrives on leaders who push the envelope through innovation and creativity to build our nation’s businesses within ethical and legal boundaries. Our business leaders make decisions all the time, hoping that the good decisions outnumber the bad decisions. We would all lose if we try to restrict the risk taking, entrepreneurial spirit that has built our fabulously successful economic system.
Free market capitalism creates wealth and is the system that must be nurtured, preserved and encouraged. The overwhelming majority of our business leaders are hard working, honest, ethical human beings trying to do the best job they can. These truly are the “good guys.”
It is OK to criticize the “bad guys” because, quite frankly, they deserve it. More importantly, we must celebrate the successes of the “good guys” for they are the ones who have built this great country of ours, and who will insure America’s place as the most successful economic “machine” in the history of the world.