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Ethics and solitude: lessons from Lance Armstrong

Published: January 21, 2013
Author: Paul Jesep

Lance Armstrong’s recent confession admitting to significant ethical lapses due to drug use highlights a fundamental spiritual component in every professional’s life. Neglecting spirituality comes with serious consequences. In this context, spiritual does not mean religious, but rather a sense of self and how it contributes to an organization’s corporate culture. It doesn’t matter if the person embraces a faith tradition or considers him- or herself humanist. Understanding ethics separate from motivations making each professional human, limits the effectiveness of any rule, policy, or internal protocol.

So long as professionals aren’t encouraged to reflect on the personal, not merely professional nature of ethics in their daily lives then businesses can expect scandal. No matter the safeguards in place another problem, which may negatively impact profits, morale, productivity, or employee turnover, is just around the corner.
What drives people to do unethical things? It’s easy to talk about Armstrong’s ego. A healthy ego that slips into a super-ego is a form of delusion and insecurity. Like it or not, however, there is the potential for everyone to be just like him on a smaller level when career or society’s perceptions of success are permitted to define an individual’s personhood. Solitude is one of several ways every busy professional has at his or her disposal to stay grounded…

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Ethics and solitude: lessons from Lance Armstrong