What We Can Learn From The Greeks

Our economic situation has made it crystal clear that what happens to one of us, impacts the rest of the industrialized world as well. My hope is that we’re learning and applying that learning so we can avoid repeating the mistakes that have already been made.

Witness what is happening with the Greek economy. Michael Lewis writes in “Beware of Greeks Bearing Bonds” that “the Greek state was not just corrupt but also corrupting….this total absence of faith in one another is self-reinforcing. The epidemic of lying and cheating and stealing makes any sort of civic life impossible; the collapse of civic life only encourages more lying, cheating, and stealing. Lacking faith in one another, they fall back on themselves and their families. The structure of the Greek economy is collectivist, but the country, in spirit, is the opposite of a collective. Its real structure is every man for himself.”

If true, it’s as if that culture has reverted to the lowest common denominator in human behavior eg if you’re cheating, I’m a fool not to. And it didn’t become a problem until it affected their—and the EU’s—economy. It’s not clear if their behavior is viewed as any kind of a moral issue.

In the corporate workplace, the “every man for himself” ethos is alive and well. While I’m sure there are some who have such little faith in our system that they’re using it to justify their bad behaviors, I believe the vast majority of people are acting in good faith.

Working together, adapting our current corporate system to reflect our needs both present and future—will allow us all to prosper as we create a stronger, more resilient corporate workplace. Personally I can’t imagine anything worse than living in a world where we have no faith in our fellow man.

Amanda Mitchell is an executive coach and strategist specializing in helping senior executives deal with disruptive drama within their teams. An advertising agency veteran, she experienced first-hand the business implications of corporate drama both with her Fortune 500 clients and within the Manhattan ad agency she led. She founded Our Corporate Life (www.ourcorporatelife.com) to help executives solve the problems no one wants to deal with. She has been published in Bloomberg Businessweek, and quoted in Fast Company, CNBC.com, and Monster.com. She lives in New Jersey with her family.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*