Bad Behavior: At Whose Cost?

Bad behaviourRolls Royce is a premium brand, known for representing a quality trustworthy product and user experience. As far as I know, Rolls Royce has always represented that great character and never wavered from its start. “Being good” clearly is working for them.

Yet, while Rolls Royce is admired for what they stand for, at the same time, some people may feel that this brand’s elite premium status is a symbol of an apparently unattainable always-out-of-reach illusion of a luxury that the average person can never honorably afford to indulge in.

For something to be aspirational, there needs to be some belief that it is attainable or achievable, right?

Fallen Angels

Then there is this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame for which not one ball player was voted in this year, for the first time ever, reportedly due to Rule #5’s character clause and the question of drug-enhanced performance. One response has been that the ‘character clause’ should be dropped.

And then there is the now-former 7-time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong, who is finally going to make some admission of guilt in doping during his racing career after years of adamant denials.  Apparently a confession is more honorable than an apology.

Is Valuing Virtue Out?

Not just in sports but also in politics and business, for some time now, it is sad to see that having a less-than-virtuous character may be acceptable (or overlook-able) if outstanding performance can be achieved without it. The short term is blinding people from even thinking about the long term.

It can seem that having “good” character is a “nice to have” not a “need to have” to make it in the world these days.  Sure, good character makes great performance even better. However, what if great performance without good character is exciting enough or worse, that it is actually more believable?

So what does this all mean?  Who is really winning and losing out here? Can being virtuous in character really interfere with or potentially even prevent someone from achieving success?  Is it better to achieve compromised success rather than no success at all?  Are there really only two options here?  Is life really only about winning no matter what?

Their Behavior, But Our Loss?

Just to be clear on a definition: ‘opportunity cost’ means that by pursuing one choice you forgo what could have been achieved had some other decision been made instead.

It might not be evident, but there is an opportunity cost to us, the public, each time record-book performance is achieved by compromised-character players.  It is this:  We will never know what un-compromised gameplay would have looked like.

Where Have the True Role Models Gone?

Not only will those who played honorably never be able to celebrate achievements that rightfully belonged to them, but we, the public, will never really know which true heroes we might now be honoring and emulating instead.

And, in turn, we will never really know which true role models could have been influencing us today by having demonstrated that honorable performance is both believable and attainable.  And, that’s a big loss in my book.

So what do you think?  Do you feel character is worth sacrificing for success if you believed success could not be achieved in any other way?


Photo Credit: title=”Bad behaviour” by Doogsta, on Flickr

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