Mohanda Gandhi wrote the following words in the book, The Roots of Violence.  I like this. What about you?

Wealth without work,
Pleasure without conscience,
Knowledge without character,
Commerce without morality,
Science without humanity,
Worship without sacrifice,
Politics without principles.

I’ve had some great questions about how to distinguish character, integrity and values.

Values are simply what we consider important.  We do what we value. We are all value driven. The question is whether or not our values are good ones or bad ones.

Integrity is one of the core positive character qualities.  The word integrity comes from the Latin word ‘integritas’, meaning wholeness, coherence, rightness, or purity. Integrity has been defined as consistency between word and deed or “the perceived degree of congruence between the values expressed by words and those expressed through action.”1

Character originates from the Greek word charassein, which means to scratch or engrave.
Referring to a person’s character is a way of recognizing that person’s idiosyncratic attributes
or features.  Character can be good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.

Definitions of character vary. Hillman defines character as an “invisible source of personal
consistency” and “deep structures of personality that are particularly resistant to change.2
Other definitions differ: from explaining character as an individual set of attributes that deal
with “doing the right thing despite outside pressure to the contrary,”3

Fundamentally good character is the positive, healthy internal habits that you develop that results in ultimate, authentic success. Good habits = success. Bad habits = failure.

The character crisis we are having now is based on the reality that we have lost the straight lines needed to form healthy habits that become our foundational character.

Things to read…

1. Woden, S. (2003). The role of integrity as a mediator in strategic leadership: a recipe for reputational capital. Journal of Business Ethics, 46(1), 31., op cit.

2. Spears, L.C. (2000). On character and servant-leadership: ten characteristics of effective, caring leaders.  Concepts & Connections, 8(3).

3, Barlowe, C.B., Jordan, M. and Hendrix, W.H. (2003).  Character assessment: an examination of leadership levels. Journal of Business and Psychology, 17 (4), 563-584.

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Are we facing MOSTLY an economic crisis or a character crisis right now? I wonder! Undoubtedly the economy is a mess. But wasn’t it the greed, arrogance and self-absorption on wall street along with the get-rich-quick mindset, greed and selfishness on main street that got us here. And, as people are responding now, don’t we see fundamentally a response that flows from character or lack of it? Think about it… fear, blaming others, denial, worry, dishonesty, inappropriate anger (I think there is plenty of good anger needed right now)? And the biggest issue to me.. how do we start to make adjustments based on good character.. taking responsibility, kicking in the work ethic, caring for others in need, being generous, providing positive solutions, etc. What do you think?