These days you don’t need to look very far to find news items that validate Sir John’s advice to “Put First Things First.” As we pointed out in the last post, he noted that, “All of us have been taught that crime does not pay and, of course, it’s true. Crime of any kind is a sin and leads to failure. The virtues provide the underpinning for success in life, both in business and spiritually.”
Few cases demonstrate the importance of the virtues in business better than the fall of disgraced financier, Bernie Madoff:
Bernard Madoff, the self-confessed author of the biggest financial swindle in history, was sentenced to the maximum 150 years behind bars for what his judge called an “extraordinarily evil” fraud that shook the nation’s faith in its financial and legal systems and took “a staggering toll” on rich and poor alike.
The landmark sentence, one of the stiffest ever given for a white-collar crime, came just six months after Mr. Madoff, a pioneer on Wall Street, allegedly told his sons that his entire business was a massive Ponzi scheme. The penalty sparked a burst of applause in a courtroom packed with victims of the fraud.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing have several more posts on this idea of “putting first things first.” We’ll be looking not only at how attention to the virtues can help you steer clear of failure, but also how the virtues can enrich and elevate your professional endeavors to new levels of success.