Shep Englander — Federation Journal
Fundamental 1: Do the Right Thing, ALWAYS
FUNDAMENTAL 1: DO THE RIGHT THING, ALWAYS. Demonstrate an unwavering commitment to doing the right thing in every action you take and in every decision you make, especially when no one’s looking. Always tell the truth, no matter the consequences. If you make a mistake, own up to it, apologize, and make it right. Be impeccable with your word.
This Fundamental feels intimidating (even though none of us would recommend doing the wrong thing). This is because it sounds like we need to be perfect. Actually, doing the right thing just means making our best effort and being honest about what people can rely on us for.
Often doing the right thing requires balancing different factors (see Fundamental #22, “Be in the Gray Zone”). It makes sense that this is the first Fundamental because all of the others tell us “how” to do the right thing.
In a complex situation it may not be clear what the right thing is. That’s when we can take advantage of an amazing resource—each other. We have a remarkable team of committed, talented, smart colleagues. We will end up with better decisions and more confidence if we flag difficult decisions and then brainstorm with colleagues.
Benefits of practicing this Fundamental include less guilt and not having to stress your memory (since it’s easier to remember the truth).