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Till Debt Do We Part?
By Ernest Liang
Graduating from college is meant to be an occasion to celebrate. Unfortunately for many graduates, it is also a somber reminder that it is time to pay back what they owe. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Class of 2014 is the most indebted class ever (“Congratulations to Class 2014, Most Indebted Ever” WSJ 5/16/2104). Over 70% of these graduates left school with student loans averaging a crushing $33,000. Student loans remain the fastest growing category (up over 360% since 2003) of U.S. household debt. Total U.S. household debt, on the other hand, grew 61% between 2003 and 2013 (“U.S. Household Debt Increases” WSJ 5/13/2014). According to one report (www.gobankingrates.com, 9/10/2013), the average American is more than $225,000 in debt with many having less than $500 in savings.
Integrity Squandered
By Douglas Gehrman
Integrity is almost a cliché among today’s leadership bromides. All leaders must possess this trait to be considered legitimate and credible, otherwise they won’t be trusted. Given the fact that integrity is such an import leadership requirement, why do so many company leaders, religious figures, politicians and military leaders fail to gain it? The truth is that given an irresistible temptation or a thirst for power, people are capable of almost anything. Human history is rife with examples, concentration camps in Auschwitz, gassing children in Syria, and to a lesser extent, the infamous fraud at Enron. A great number of personal failings never even make the headlines.
Who Are YOU Going to Listen To?
By Lane Kramer
Recently, I picked up a new car at an out of town dealership. The car came equipped with a GPS system. When it came time to drive back to Dallas, I punched in my home address and listened for the instructions on how to proceed. I did not have a physical map so I was completely dependent on an outside source of navigation to get home safely. Very soon a very nice, warm, and professional female voice came on line saying, “turn left on Jarus Street and proceed .5 mile and turn left on Highway 67”. I started to follow her instructions because she came from a very credible source- the manufacture’s GPS System. However, as I pulled on to Highway 67 I felt a check in my spirit. I remembered that two different CEO Institute Members said that the best way to get back to Dallas was to take Interstate 35.
Praying with the Pastafarians And Other Adventures in Corporate Religion
By Wallace Henley
“Are you allowed to mention the name of Jesus in your company?” a friend of mine asked an entrepreneur from China awhile back, as I sat listening. “Yes, we have a church that meets in our company,” he replied. The irony was striking: A group of American business leaders in the “land of the free” who nevertheless had to walk carefully through the minefield of corporate religion had just discovered that a business owner from a nation governed by a regime professing official state atheism perhaps had more freedom than they regarding spiritual expression in the workplace. In May 2014 the U.S. Supreme Court, in the eyes of many, brought judicial balance in the debate about corporate and institutional religion. In the words of a Wall Street Journal report, “it rejected arguments that the overwhelmingly Christian prayers” offered before town council meetings in Greece, New York, “gave preference to one faith and violated the First Amendment.
Mistake or Choice?
By Douglas Gehrman
I don’t like mistakes—mine or anyone else’s—and have spent a lot of energy in my life trying to avoid making them. My strategies—to overanalyze and over prepare, or give up before I even start (if I can’t guarantee my own victory). And, if an error is spotted, I know I can just blow it off as a minor issue. I’ve been employing these tactics for years, since I was very young, as evidenced by the following story.
The Power of Empowerment
By Michael Chung
Recently, Fortune listed the 50 top leaders in the world. The list included country sovereigns, priests, former presidents, philanthropists, and Nobel Prize winners. People like Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Warren Buffett, and America’s 42nd President Bill Clinton made the list.
Addicted to Options?
By Doug Gehrman
I have always loved options, i.e., a wide selection of possibilities for my life, almost to a fault. With options. I feel in charge of my destiny. With options, I feel free. With options, commitment seems temporary or non-existent. If I don’t like my boss, it doesn’t matter because I have others waiting to hire me. If I don’t like the service at a local store, it’s no problem because I can take my business elsewhere. Options are power. Options are control.
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