The newspapers are rife with stories of rich, successful people who end up in jails. It doesn’t seem to make sense for anyone in their positions to put everything they’ve earned at risk. So why do they?
Nobody wakes up one day and decides to throw away all their principles. The problem is that the process of losing our compass happens in infinitesimally small degrees. The story goes that if a frog is put in a pan of scalding water it will immediately jump out. But if it is put in tepid water that is gradually heated, it doesn’t realize what is happening and gets boiled. The first transgressions leaders can make are so minor that most people wouldn’t even see them as issues but… the slippery slide has started and a body in motion tends to remain in motion.
Rather than jumping to criticize those unfortunate men and women who have fallen prey to this phenomenon, we can learn from their mistakes and ask ourselves where in our lives have we started down the slippery slide. Because the slide doesn’t just show up in financial irregularities. It shows up anytime short term pressures force us into compromising on the things that are really important to us. It could be the first time we shout disrespectfully at a subordinate, or the first time we miss our child’s birthday, or the first time we stop exercising regularly, or the first time we take an overly conservative target because our new boss doesn’t know any better.
Is there any place in your life where you’re being tempted onto the slide?