#042 – Integriosity – RENEW—Keep First Things First—Righteousness—More than “Do the Right Thing”

ESSENCE: Faithfully “doing right” requires considering more than just WHAT you do. It requires also considering HOW you do it and WHY you are doing it. Faithfully “doing right” requires doing the right thing, in the right way and for the right reasons.

The goal of faith-driven leaders should be for their organizations to faithfully “do right”, and we believe faithfully “doing right” is much more than the WHAT of “doing the right thing”–it also requires a faithful HOW and a faithful WHY.

Faithfully “Doing Right” in an Organization Is More than “Doing the Right Thing”

It is not uncommon for an organizational leader to call people to “do the right thing”.  After all, the alternative is pretty unappealing–“do the wrong thing”.  Treat our customers poorly? Break the law?  Violate our contracts?  The Bible is pretty clear that doing the right thing is important: “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” (James 4:17 ESV)

But we believe faithfully “doing right” requires considering more than just WHAT you do.  It requires also considering HOW you do it and WHY you are doing it.  For example:

  • HOW:  An employee can do the right thing (meet a sales target, increase profit, secure a customer) in a way that would not look like faithfully “doing right”.  Righteous targets and goals can be achieved through means that are unethical or even illegal, such as through deception or bribes.  They can also be achieved in ways that are uncaring or even exploitive or hurtful to other people (whether customers, fellow employees, vendors or suppliers), communities or creation.  HOW matters!
  • WHY:  It is also possible to do the right thing, in the right way for all the wrong reasons.  Rick Warren wrote “Integrity is uncorrupted motivation. It means you do the right thing, and you do it for the right reason.”  Doing the right thing” in an organization ultimately means furthering the ultimate purpose of the organization.  In “business as usual”, the purpose of the organization is to maximize profit, which means that, at the end of the day, “doing the right thing” means furthering Profit as Purpose. Achieving sales goals by treating salespeople well is doing the right thing in the right way, but if the salespeople are treated well solely to meet the target, then they were not treated well for the right reasons.  They were manipulated and used as tools toward the goal (which might be the organization’s goal or a personal goal of leaders, such as earning a bonus).  As we explored in the last post, faithfully “doing right” means living out our God-given purpose by living generously through loving others and stewarding creation.   In his book For Goodness Sake, Chris Houston says “Do the right thing for its own sake and not because rational economics says we might have something to gain from doing so.WHY matters for humans and organizations!

`{`Jesus`}` always did the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason. (Kenneth Boa and John Alan Turner)

We believe doing the right thing, in the right way and for the right reasons is actually following in the Way of Jesus.  In their book The 52 Greatest Stories of the Bible, Kenneth Boa and John Alan Turner observe in talking about Jesus “He always did the right thing in the right way at the right time for the right reason. He was the most righteous human being of all time.

You will note that Boa and Turner add a fourth dimension of “doing right”–WHEN–“at the right time”.  In fact, a misguided WHEN is at the core of the Side Road of Interimizing.  We think it is sufficient to remember the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: The time is always right to do the right thing.


SPOILER ALERT:  In the first step of the Integriosity journey–RENEW–we will explain several key Mind-Shifts of faithfully “doing right” that involve “Keeping First Things First” in the areas of WHAT, WHO, WHY, HOW and WHEN.

PERSONAL NOTE (from PM):  The importance and rarity of an organization emphasizing “for the right reasons” was highlighted for me at a breakfast several years ago.  I was meeting with a friend who was committed to doing his job faithfully.  He also worked for a corporation led by a faith-driven leader.  My friend shared that the business was unlike any he had worked for in the past because the CEO emphasized not only “do the right thing” but also “in the right way” (and he had worked for businesses in which “in the right way” was not a priority).  After I shared my belief about the importance of a trifecta–adding “for the right reasons”–I could see a lightbulb go off in his head.  Exploring WHY had never occurred to him, but it became obvious.  He had always assumed that “Profit as Purpose” was always the WHY for business.

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