President Eisenhower once said that “The supreme quality of a leader is unquestionable integrity.” Being highly ethical in everything you do is critical because your team will reflect the examples you set.
—GORDON ENGLAND, FORMER DEPUTY SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, DEPUTY SECRETARY OF HOMELAND SECURITY, AND SECRETARY OF THE NAVY
The author of this story is unknown. He or she tells of a group of alumni from a leading university that held a reunion at the house of their former professor. By now they were all well into their lofty careers, so the conversation soon lapsed into complaints about work, stress, and bad leaders.
The professor listened patiently and then finally shook his head and went to the kitchen to make coffee. He returned several minutes later with a pot and a large tray filled with an assortment of cups. The mix on the tray included paper, plastic, porcelain, metal, glass, crystal, and bone china. Some cups were plain and ordinary, and others were decorative and exquisite.
The former students hovered around the tray to select a cup from the assortment. The first one picked exquisite bone china. The second person picked expensive crystal, the third one picked decorative porcelain, and so on. Those who picked last appeared disappointed at being left with only plastic or paper.
The professor poured each person some coffee from the pot. He then smiled and asked the alumnus who had picked first why he had chosen that particular cup. The former student, ...