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SE Corner: Ethics & Integrity, When No One Is Watching

Choosing To Do What's Right Purely Because It's Right

The legendary college basketball coach, John Wooden, once said: “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.” 

Whether we’re talking about someone’s personal or professional life, what he or she does when no one is watching is truly the ultimate test of character.

While on a recent donor engagement trip, I witnessed one member of our group – who didn’t know anyone was watching – do something amazing. As we walked the streets of a large city, there was an amputee sitting on the sidewalk asking for money. I watched as my associate unassumingly reached into his pocket and passed several large bills to the man sitting on the sidewalk. He didn’t say a word, merely continued his walk as if nothing had happened.  

To be fair, I have long looked up to this person. He has mentored me on occasion and evolved into a good friend. It occurred to me at that very moment that he is just as sincere when nobody is watching as he is in front of others.

This man exemplifies the true definition of character and the values we impart through Scouting.

One thing I love when I visit Disneyland or Disney World is watching cast members go out of their way to pick up trash off the ground, even when they don’t think anyone is watching. There is pride associated with this behavior that doesn’t rely on a hovering supervisor. It’s simply the right thing to do – it’s part of Disney culture. 

Is it any wonder that the number one compliment Walt Disney World receives is how clean the place is?

I aspire to be more like this in my daily life. We all should. No matter what your station or position is, we can all do those little or big things that help others, without worrying about the credit.

Something to think about: Even when you think no one is watching, what behaviors would demonstrate your commitment to your organization, to your customers, and ultimately to your own character?

With Scout Spirit – 

Jory Dellinger
Scout Executive & CEO


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