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9 Keys to Successful Leadership by James Merritt

9 Keys to Successful Leadership by James Merritt

Author:James Merritt
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9780736965651
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers


Chapter Six

The Key to a Winning Organization

“Goodness is the only investment that never fails.”

HENRY DAVID THOREAU

My wife, Teresa, probably doesn’t remember it, but I will never forget it. Several years ago she was talking about me to my in-laws (I call them my “in-loves” for they are like my parents). My precious mother-in-law had remarked how she was glad that we had married each other, and Teresa looked at me with that inimitable smile of hers and said, “Momma, I married a really good man.” I thought to myself, And what size diamond do you want to go with that new ring?

Anyone with a moral compass pointing true north wants to be known as a “good person.” I mean, does anyone really want to be known as a bad one?

I still laugh when I remember Teresa coming home one time from the grocery store with this horrified look on her face. I asked her what was wrong. She said that she and our oldest son, James (who was about five years old at the time), had been standing at the checkout behind a man who had put a six-pack of beer on the counter. James innocently asked Teresa what it was. My wife smiled and simply said, “Beer.” Without warning and loud enough for this man (and half the store) to hear, James pointed to him and said, “Beer? He must be a really bad man!”

Like you, I want to be a good man, and I want to live a good life. That statement, however, begs a question: What is goodness and what is the good life?

The French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau once said, “Happiness is a good bank account, a good cook, and a good digestion.” Many people today would eagerly adopt Rousseau’s definition of the good life. Some say that the good life is physical. They believe it just doesn’t get any better than a hot tub, back rub, and drink at a pub. Others say the good life is material. They think that if you’ve got the mansion, the Mercedes, and the money, then you are living the good life.

I beg to differ. The good life is moral, ethical, and spiritual. Contrary to many opinions, goodness is not feeling good, looking good, or having the goods; it is being good and doing good. I define goodness this way: Goodness motivates a person to attempt to do what is best for others regardless of the cost. It’s what some might call character or integrity.

God, for Goodness’ Sake

Contrary to much popular thinking, I don’t believe that goodness can possibly exist or be known apart from God. If any meaningful standard determines whether something is good, it must be a universal standard; otherwise, goodness is a matter of opinion. David, the great songwriter and king, once wrote, “I said to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’ ” (Psalm 16:2). Indeed, apart from God there can truly be no good thing.

After all, Hitler thought the annihilation of the Jewish race was a good thing.



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