Spilled M&Ms© 6 – Character: “Trust, but Verify”

I’ve been working on this post for a long time, but, unfortunately, it still fits better into a ‘longform’ post rather than being split into smaller pieces.  Please read on, but with patience.

Our human nature of Selective as well as Delayed Character Revelation impacts virtually all of our day-to-day circumstances.

Why do we pay so little attention to discovering real character?  I suspect it is because at heart we truly want to believe what we see is what we think we will continue getting.  It’s a form of Trust, but Verify but without the verification.  (“Trust but verify” was used by President Ronald Regan during the Cold War in dealing with the Russians, who understood it implicitly since it came from a Russian proverb cautioning Russians on how to deal with themselves.)

Believing that what you see is what you will always get is at best short-term thinking, which only delays the discovery that you have to pay the piper later.

It’s like the ice hockey player who skates looking down at the puck, only to find himself lodged underneath the Zamboni under the bleachers rather than in front of the goal.

Or the American fascination with short-term financial results rather than long-term health, stability, and sustainability.  We are far more surprised with what we eventually discover than we should be.

Having previously posted about the effect of failures of character at high levels in the corporate world (from the book Derailed, with application to the rest of us), one can ask, “How does this aspect of character play out in a new job, a new career with a new employer?”  At least from my perspective, it is putting “Trust, but Verify” into practice.

For the good order, let me break this post into three sections: a New Employee in an entry-level position without supervisory responsibilities; a Management or Supervisory role (company longevity and performance in hand); and an Executive role (either with organization longevity or hired in from outside, both with proven performance).

more on page 2…


About Jim Edmonds

I am a husband, father, mentor, who once was a chemist turned physicist turned marketer turned executive turned missionary turned professor. And survived it all.
This entry was posted in 10: Integrity, 12: Character and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Spilled M&Ms© 6 – Character: “Trust, but Verify”

  1. Jennifer Olson says:

    I think it all comes down to the “Who”. Who is the “who” capable of determining whether or not one’s character, integrity and/or behavior is good/acceptable/right when currently we live in a culture of Relativism (e.g. believing what’s good/acceptable/right for you isn’t necessarily what’s good/acceptable/right for me)?
    In a Relativistic Culture, discerning good/acceptable/right from bad/unacceptable/wrong is quite difficult and ironically unacceptable. Thus, anything goes and we have the “Don’t fix the character issue; just wait for people to forget” principle. Consequently, no one’s behavior is addressed and nothing changes.
    However, if we accept absolute truths do exist, regardless of situational circumstances, then discerning right from wrong becomes clear. Admittedly one’s situational circumstances give us understanding and hopefully compassion of their chosen displayed behavior. But, this does not disqualify one’s actions nor negate his/her responsibility of owning the poor choice of displayed behavior.
    I’m thankful for people in my life who graciously cause me to see my bad/unacceptable/wrong behavior and love me enough to hold me responsible for it; which evokes my desire to change a behavior and establish growth in character and integrity. I’m always profoundly humbled and extremely grateful for the love shown to me when I claim ownership of my failures and short-comings. Hopefully, I’m not the same person today as I was yesterday. Who would want to be?


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