Good Character Is Overrated!
When the economy was booming and everything was going great, my company was breaking every sales record imaginable.
Even then I would fire someone for what I considered bad character. People who would lie to my customers. People who would gossip and disrupt the culture of the company.
For that matter I would take offense to most any kind of negativity, not thinking about the fact that somebody might have pee’d in Joe’s cornflakes that morning before he came to work and he showed up with a bad attitude and in a bad mood because of it.
Back then I would just write it off as bad character, not realizing that it could have been many things.
In January of 2007 everyone in the company was making tons of money, we were expanding all over the southeast and we had dollars to burn. Everybody was excited, they were all happy and good character was abundant.
By the time the third quarter of that year arrived I realized a 20% decline in revenue from July to August. Our revenue dropped every month for 16 consecutive months.
I had to drastically reduce my staff and quickly. I began to see a change in most of the people around me and understandably so.
Only then did I begin to know anything about the character of the people who I had spent so much time with.
I had an opportunity to truly understand what character is. I also had the opportunity to test and to analyze my own.
I quickly went from a hero to a scumbag to some people.
I became a target of blame and a dumb-ass to others.
I saw ugliness that made me want to puke on my bed sheets. (When I could have just used the toilet)
BUT, I also observed people who thought inwardly with intelligence and without blame.
I witnessed acts of kindness and loyalty that was unprecedented.
Those circumstances also allowed me the privilege to respect the character of some people who I would not have had the opportunity to have understood before.
The appearance of good character is so easy when things are going in our favor.
The judge of Good Character (or any kind) was overrated for me until I learned some of the circumstances that allows it to be revealed.
By Paul Shuler