Integrity is the foundation for ethical action, without which there is no basis for building meaningful relationships!


Balance Your Actions with Ethics using a Value System

Any form of action, including Leadership and Management, cannot be Divorced from Ethics. Whereas ethics is the study of good and evil, we prefer to use giving and taking as the basis for ethical balance. Definitions of good and evil have always depended on the circumstances, and they change over time. Giving and taking has always reflected irrefutable facts regardless of circumstance or time. Ethical balance therefore is represented here as the tradeoff between Giving and Taking. The Second Principle of Purposeful Actions demands ethical balance.

The Value System for Purposeful Action consists of two opposing sets of Core Values — Giving and Taking.


In the metaphor of the Brook, the Second Principle is represented by the oars of the navigator. The oars represent the two sets of core values which determine the ethical balance of of each action. One oar represents the positive core values of giving. The other represents the negative core values of taking.

As you can see, this sketch of the navigator covers the first two Principles of Purposeful Action. The sketch of the Third Principle will add the reflection of the navigator, representing the desires that motivate action. And, the sketch of the Fourth Principle will add other navigators, emphasizing the need to relate with our environment and with other travelers.

The Five Positive Core Values – The Values of Giving:

  • Integrity – Truth, trustworthiness and dependability.
  • Commitment – Dedication, focus, caring, consideration and love.
  • Persistence – Staying the course, faithfulness and “stick-with-it-ness.”
  • Teamwork – Universality and commonality of all individuals and organizations.
  • Communication – Sharing, empathy and being open and forthright.

The Five Negative Core Values – The Values of Taking:

  • Lust – Intense desire for physical or material gratification – sex, drugs, food, alcohol.
  • Anger – Rage and uncontrolled urges for revenge and destruction.
  • Greed – Desire to take all one can, with no satisfaction in sight.
  • Attachment – Possessiveness and focus on ownership by “me” and “mine.”
  • Arrogance – Feeling self is most important, and all others must serve ones wants.

Why bother with Ethics, or a Value System?

The answer is not obvious. Your ethical balance dictates your values, which, in turn, influence your actions. Today, business schools teach management, which is a special case of action, without directly addressing values or ethics. To some this might mean that management is about achieving goals and reaping (personal) rewards. So the answer might be that management is divorced from ethics and values.

Deeper thought into this question suggests the contrary. Values reflect ethical balance. With a foundation built on positive values, action will be purposeful and the result will be of service to others. If actions are driven by negative values, the result will be harmful to others and eventually will be disastrous to the individuals or organizations. Positive values begin with Truth.

Values drive behavior and actions by influencing the choices made. Therefore, to improve the quality of your actions (and your life – since life is the flow of actions), it is important to understand your ethical balance, and then to improve it. This can be done though a system of core values that govern your actions. The core values of individuals as well as organizations influence their actions.

So, in order to be ethical, actions cannot be divorced from values. Nothing worthwhile is achieved without purposeful effort and actions except by accident. Any individual or organization with an objective must understand the anatomy of right action to effectively navigate to success. Right actions begin with Truth.

Why is the Value System for Purposeful Action Based upon Giving and Taking?

Again, the answer is not simple.

cover_ebookDefinitions of good and evil have always depended on the circumstances and have changed over time. Giving and taking has always reflected irrefutable facts.

Beliefs and values change over time, place and situations. Therefore, a value system that remains relatively consistent over time and place has great appeal. Values are derived from a variety of factors including cultural, social and religious practices, laws, regulations and norms that might serve as means of influence and control. Value systems based upon one or more of these factors tend to change with time, place and setting. As a result, values that lead to a right or good action at one time or place might be considered wrong or evil action at another.

For example, the kidnapping and enslavement of humans was legal, acceptable and even considered honorable by American slave-owners two centuries ago. Today, besides being illegal, slavery is unacceptable. Another example is the treatment of native Americans then and now.

A Value System Should Endure over Time and Space

A value system based upon giving and taking finds the treatment of slaves and native Americans as actions of taking, then as well as now. The concept of giving and taking provides the basis for a value system that endures over time and place. This concept is compatible with the rights based, duty based, and utilitarian ethical theories of the European philosophers. These are the reasons why The Second Principle of Purposeful Action uses a value system based upon giving and taking.


Masters of the Game provides illustrations and examples on the application of the Value System for Purposeful Action. The book shows how you can apply a system of core values, based on giving, to all your actions. This will help you achieve success as well as fulfillment in your career and life.

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