We had a perfect example of values in action last week when a lone Senator stood up for his values. In this day and age of hyper-partisanship, it’s very hard to hear over the din, but Senator Mitt Romney made an impassioned speech to a very small audience that was then heard around the world. He thoughtfully and slowly explained his upcoming vote on one article of impeachment, and that he was voting in accordance with his values. As a deeply religious man, he was guided by what he had been taught, what he believed and what he felt he had to do. Regardless of one’s politics, staying true to one’s values is always the right thing to do.
I’m sure it was not an easy decision for him, given the likely ramifications both to his reputation and career, but for him, it became easy when to do otherwise would have been a violation of his values. I can respect those decisions all day long.
It takes courage to stand up to the crowd, conventional wisdom or peer pressure. And you know he must have had tremendous pressure to vote the other way. His colleagues did not want him to go against them or the president, but he wouldn’t waver. Regardless of whether you think his vote was right or wrong, he was able to stay true to himself. Knowing that he didn’t violate his values, he can sleep well at night.
Politicians seem to flip flop on a regular basis, so it is hard to know what they really stand for – until, like Senator Romney, they must make a hard decision. It’s encouraging to me that we still have politicians who are willing to stand up for what’s right and what’s true for them, not just want they think will get them elected or avoid a nasty tweet.
Leaders in business also need to stay true to their values. Turnover at companies who are not living their stated values are more than double those that do. Why would anyone want to work for a company that does not do what they say they will do? With employment at an all-time high, using one’s values to create a great culture is the one way to make a positive difference and show why people should want to stay at your company or with you as a leader. And it’s free! No one wants to follow a phony, disingenuous leader. Don’t be that person. Follow Senator Mitt Romney’s example – taking the hard road when it comes to your values – it always turns out to be the easy road in the end.