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Corps Values and Business Ethics

February 23, 2010 6 comments

Sixty five years ago today, one of the transcendent moments in American history occurred – the raising of the American flag over Mount Surabachi.”  Every Marine who has served this country since that day has the image of the second flag raising, immortalized by Joe Rosenthal’s photograph, seared into his or her memory. It is the most famous photo of World War II and that depiction was used to create the largest bronze statue ever made, the Marine Corps War Memorial, better known as the “Iwo Jima Memorial.”

When I was in Boot Camp, there was very little time wasted during the entire eleven weeks of training. Even when we were waiting for the next training session, we were either doing more physical training, cleaning our weapons, or studying our essential subjects. In the U.S. Marine Corps, the history of the corps is an essential subject. No Boot graduates as a Marine without knowing the history of this famous battle. I, along with every Marine before me and every Marine since me are connected by defining moments as this. Through those connections, Admiral Nimitz is speaking to us the words “uncommon valor was a common virtue.”

It’s no accident that valor and virtue are mentioned together. Marines are drilled from the beginning in code of conduct, leadership traits, leadership principles and values. These bind us together and create our character.

Given the recent moral and ethical collapses in business, which had a “Shock and Awe” effect on our financial markets and economy, I think more business leaders and politicians could use the same character building. Enron, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and others are examples of what happens when morals and values are sacrificed for financial gain. Even after the bailout, excessive bonus payouts prove that some people still do not get it.

This country has never been perfect and never will be. That is an impossible outcome. It is a great country though and has the potential to be even better.  This blog is dedicated to discussing the Corps Values that can make a difference in our business culture and effect positive change in our lives.

I look forward to this journey and hope my readers get as much out of this as I have.  Semper Fi!

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