I was recently involved in an ethics discussion. The details don’t really matter for the purposes of the story, but the outcome does.
The problem was unexpected. There were many questions asked by those involved in weighing in on the solution. Was the problem deliberate? Were we exaggerating on the significance of the problem? Did we have the right people in the room to decide what to do? What was the easiest way through? What were the legal implications? What were the costs? What kind of communication was required? What kind of course correction or retraining was required? What was the potential visibility? What were the reputational issues?
Ultimately, what was the moral high ground?
The course of action selected wasn’t the easiest. Everyone involved had work to do. Everyone acknowledged a lesson was learned.
The participants didn’t have to take to the high ground, but they did. What made me feel good was that no one seemed put out by doing the right thing. Rather, they seemed excited about having the opportunity to do the right thing.
One person said, “The greater the height, the better the view.”
I love this expression so much that I wrote it down to ponder it more thoroughly.
I have spent a lot of time recently climbing to get a better view. As someone attempting to be an “end-to-ender” on the Bruce Trail, I can say there’s a lot of satisfaction gained from getting to see the view at the top. So much so that I hunger for finding the next great height, sustaining me through many long and at times grueling walks.
Mentally, what I want in life is operating from the high view. In business, we sometimes call this the 30,000 foot level; the ability to see far and wide, the future. From up here, the value is being able to see the bigger picture. At heights, it is easier for your moral compass to guide you.
Imagine how different our lives would be if our moral compass was able to operate optimally because we could see the future and direction more clearly. It would be a world without dirty politics. There would be greater clarity on what to do in financial uncertainty. We would have a world where personal and social responsibility work in harmony. We would have happiness and engagement.
It would be a world where HR would be a part of strategy and not on the clean-up crew.
And life would be grand.