Monday, October 29, 2007

Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America

National Conference on Ethics
in America
(Part 5 of 5)

On the final day of the conference, opening remarks were made by Lieutenant General Franklin L. Hagenbeck, Superintendent of the United States Military Academy, who spoke about the responsibility of each person to exemplify character.

"If just a few individuals or sometimes even just one person crosses the ethical line, it may compromise the reputation of the entire organization or even, in the case of a military scandal, of the nation. Conversely, when individuals are dedicated to moral principles and live accordingly, an epiphany that can dramatically impact the entire organization is possible."

Senior Leader Sessions

The superintendent’s remarks were followed by two question and answer panels comprised of leaders from business, government, and the military. The senior leaders included:

  • Martin Abbott, Chief Operations Officer, Quigo
  • Brigadier General (Ret) Leo A. Brooks, Vice President Boeing
  • Terrence P. Finley, President, West Point Thoroughbreds, Inc.
  • Theodore Griesinger, Chairman of the Board, Maguire Group, Inc.
  • Deborah Churchill Luster, Entrepreneur
  • Lt. Colonel (Ret) Haldane R. Mayer, Jurist, U.S. Federal Court of Appeals
  • Colonel (Ret) John Rust, Former President, Rust Tractor Co.
  • Jane M. Siebels, Chairperson, Green Cay Assets
  • Frederick G. Smith, Vice President, Sinclair Broadcast Group
  • Roland Smith, CEO, Arby Restaurant Group, Inc.
  • James P. Sullivan, Jr., CEO, Sullivan Technologies, Inc.
  • Brigadier General (Ret) Wesley B. Taylor, Jr., President and CEO George C. Marshall Foundation

These sessions led to a spirited interchange between the panel and attendees which gleaned the highlights of the conference:

  • Organizations must not only demand accountability for negative behavior but reward positive behavior.
  • Character needs to be cultivated within an organization.
  • Ethics must be held to high standards within companies by boards of directors.
  • An open door policy where individuals can address concerns at the highest levels of an organization should be cultivated.
  • Perseverance in a culture of character is critical even if the competition is more profitable with behavior contrary to ethics. In the long term the positive reputation will bring rewards.
  • Social responsibility inspires and in time attains buy in by others.
  • Moral decisions must always rule the day.
  • Integrity and moral courage are ethical principles which must always be followed, whether popular or not.
  • Leadership goes beyond the title. An individual can be profoundly effective and motivational in whatever role they play for a company or society. During the second question and answer session, another lively interchange highlighted the following:
  • Leaders are the “keepers of the flame” in their organizations. They must make the right decisions and never allow mediocrity.
  • Ethical is always inseparable from respectful even with disciplines and terminations which must be done in a dignified manner.
  • Human beings are the most valuable resource within a company and therefore the term human resources must always be lived accordingly.
  • Guidance, motivation and inspiration are needed by mentors within an organization, whether this takes place formally or informally.
  • Always appeal to reason and if individuals are uncomfortable with an assignment they should be able to freely express their concerns and if possible relieved of the task.
  • Leaders are always being watched both on duty and off duty. They must always live by high moral standards.
  • Words are very powerful as motivators since they have the ability to affirm someone’s dignity. Words are a treasure that should be used sincerely, gracefully and frequently within an organization to recognize, appreciate and affirm the values of others.
  • The values of a company should be clear, understood and continually rewarded both privately and publicly.
  • Character within an enterprise is like the embryonic fluid. Character sustains the life of an organization.

Conference Conclusion

The National Conference on Ethics in America concluded with the panel representatives visiting groups of mentors and students to discuss the panel findings. Afterwards, student leaders from each group summarized their group's feedback for the entire assembly.

In the evening, all conference participants celebrated in an extraordinary banquet with a presentation by the conference’s keynote speaker, Martha Raddatz, author and ABC News Chief White House Correspondent. She complimented the sessions held throughout the week by accentuating the importance of a dedication to truth, even in the most seemingly ordinary events of life.

Hope for the Future

As I listened to the future leaders of our great nation speak of the significance of this event, I was filled with the hope that America will be in great hands if these students continue their dedication to be citizens of character.

I can think of no better way to conclude this series than with the words of Cicero:


Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America – Part 1 of 5 Click here to visit site
Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America – Part 2 of 5 Click here to visit site
Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America – Part 3 of 5 Click here to visit site
Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America – Part 4 of 5 Click here to visit site
Preparing Young Leaders: The Future of America – Part 5 of 5 Click here to visit site
National Conference on Ethics in America Click here to visit site

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