A smaller topic I found in the news last week was about how former officials of a company called Peanut Corp are finally being charged after the company “participated in a scheme to ship salmonella-contaminated peanuts and peanut products, misleading customers” (from Reuters). In short, a company was continuing to ship out carts of food that they knew had salmonella (a type of bacteria that can cause harm or even death in humans). Apparently, the company’s top officials were complaining about lost profits from the salmonella outbreak when the deadly disease was sickening close to 600 people across Canada and the United States!
Really? That is all these so-called “leaders” could think about while people were getting sick off their products? Profits???!!!
This topic being in the news brings me to bring up a bigger issue, which is the importance of morality in huge leadership roles. The higher a person gets on the corporate ladder, the more people their decisions will effect, and the more people they hurt if they choose to do the wrong thing. Despite the gravity of the possible consequences of their decisions, top CEOs and company officials continue to try to get away with immoral behavior and cover up their misdeeds. Yet, as we see with the Peanut Corps example, they often get caught anyways, and bring down a lot of people with them.
Now, the point of this discussion is not to discourage you from becoming someone in a position where your decisions carry a lot of weight, but to rather see the virtue of making moral decisions. I want to challenge you to be the opposite of the Peanut Corps officials. Imagine having to make the decision of pulling a majority of your company’s product out of the market and causing a huge decrease in profits. No doubt, a great many people would be upset with you at the beginning. But think about the long-term positive effects. Had the Peanut Corps officials done the right thing (and the hard thing) and pulled the salmonella-tainted products off the shelves of stores, they would have saved a great many people’s health. They would have saved their company. They would have saved their reputations, and they would have saved the jobs and livelihoods of all the people working beneath them.
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