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The Morally Flexible Wins

Got a little something to chew on for your Friday reflections—it might not sit well, but give it a thought.

We all love to bash corrupt and shady leaders while secretly wishing we had their "success," right? But what if we flipped the script?

Those crooks, frauds, and shady characters get ahead because they're morally flexible. Sounds crazy, but hear me out. If your moral compass is set in stone, you lose sleep over selling stuff to folks who can't afford it. Lying, paying your employees late, or letting people go keeps you tossing and turning. Even setting prices makes you question if it's fair to your clients. Or, you worry about whether or not you are competent to do the job or worth the money they pay you. I remember thinking about my VP boss' salary and saying "We need to give her more work because we cannot justify her salary with five emails and a PPT she produces a week." This is how morally rigid people think. 

Morally flexible people don't lose sleep over any of these and that's to their advantage whether we like to admit it or not. They don't care whom they screw over for that fancy title, promotion, or money. They couldn't give a toss about employee welfare or doing illegal stuff. Unpaid suppliers? They don't care. If their conscience pings, they will find ways to justify their actions and behaviours. 

I used to ask when I saw people especially leaders doing the wrong things "How do they sleep at night?" Well, I think I got the answer to this, they sleep very well. You are the one who isn't. You are the one who is obsessing over how Alan is going to feel about your feedback to him or the decision to fire him. 

Why do you think the concentration of narcissists is so high in senior leadership roles? It is not for the morally rigid. A few survive but almost all of them struggle

They will struggle because they like to keep their promise when they make one. They will struggle because they like to deliver what they were hired for, be useful to others, do the right thing or provide value to their clients. 

Crooks thrive because they are morally flexible, while you are not. They succeed by bending rules to fit their agenda, whereas you adhere to rules. They flourish because they are not restrained by morality; they will sell you products they know won't deliver results. If you don't believe me, just look at social media and nearly everything being marketed to you! These individuals are making money while you sit on your sofa, broke, depressed, and bitter about the world while purchasing their products. Self-help materials are no exception, and if you doubt me, consider this: Mel Robbins made a fortune selling you the idea of high-fiving yourself in the bathroom mirror. Do you think she loses sleep over that? Nah, she is probably thinking about how else she can exploit you next.

Doing the right thing could and probably will put you at a disadvantage; it might cost you the money you could have earned or the promotion you could have received. Does that mean that you are the good guy and they are the bad guys? Depends on how far you both go. 

Exciting news! My second book, "Blind Leading the Disengaged - From Kindergarten to Employee Experience," is dropping in April! It's a treasure trove of solutions and cool ideas to shake up your people management game. But before we get there, let's chat about where we're at now—The Corporate Kindergarten, as I spilt the beans in my first book. Check it out, and let's transform your workplace from a daycare to an awesome employee experience hub!:

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