Internal Compass, External Orientation

Adherence to systems of ethics demands an internal compass oriented on an external fixed point. This is very important; because without some external orientation for the internal compass, many people will rationalize almost any behavior.

We begin using words like honor, and duty. We examine a person’s behavior based on honesty, and truthfulness. Perhaps most importantly, we do not allow a person to “re-define” themselves or their behavior out of violating those ethics they accepted. In short, we know very well what the meaning of “is” is. 

Ultimately, that’s what honor codes and professional ethics do for the individual and the community: they provide a “north star” to orient ethical decision making.  Each person experiences life slightly differently, and if left open to each person’s private interpretation, ethical decisions can vary greatly from person to person.  The ethical leader uses an informed conscience and an external measure to be certain he’s on the right course.

8 thoughts on “Internal Compass, External Orientation

    1. Hi Tom! Send me an email about which book you want and I’ll make the arrangements. Thanks!

      1. Your first one of course! Curious if you had leadership comments about the IG experience? I have had a few myself between then and retirement — as in massive failures of basic leadership bordering on criminal acts requiring divine intervention. I could write my own book about the AEF Center and that byzantine, medieval mess. If not for them my lost assignment would have been Petersen.


        1. The first book is “For God and Country”…”Leading Leaders” is my third book. Which one did you mean?

          1. First one — I have to see if the author is any good before I buy the rest of the series

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