The Unconventional CEO – Temptation

The Unconventional CEO

Chapter 76 – You are probably very, very good at what you’re doing. So don’t bet the house on gaining an easy, extra under-the-counter percentage.

The temptation is often there to take a little shortcut, to sail a little closer than necessary to the wind. In a way that would elicit a disappointed headshake from the chairman. You may tell yourself that the Law is an Ass and it’s geared more to dissuasion than to punishment. Of course, you’ve always been lucky…

Still, there are 10 000 ways to screw up that you’ve never heard of. If you want to skirt the unmentionable, then get professional crooked advice. Do not do an amateur dabble. There are enforcers making career advancements from joyriding idiots. Go very bad or stay straight.

In short: rather resist the temptation to follow anything other than the straight and narrow. You are breathing exalted air and you may have an army of loyal-to-death captains already smelling that bonus if you just say the word.

Your loyal cadres won’t go to jail for you. They won’t take the blame or defend you to the death. If the head honcho slips, it’s the age-old adage of: “The King is dead; long live the King.”

Perhaps you have seen the consequences of others’ foolish actions being reported in the press, knowing full well that maybe 99% of all that is actually going on will never surface. There are so many underhand, corrupt, crazy things surrounding you. Surely a little misstatement in valuation wouldn’t hurt anyone? Or an over-optimistic view of a contingent liability, or an upcoming lawsuit that may need extra provision? You may stay true to the truth and pay the price of missing your targets. These lapses are small temptations that can form a habit once you have crossed that line in the sand. Heaven knows what will happen below decks if the word spreads that the captain drinks in private.

Epictetus’ final day in Rome started when a fellow philosopher ran in with the news that Domitian had mandated that all philosophers must cut off their trademark beards or face banishment.

The lament was: “What shall I do, Epictetus?  What will you do?”

The reply came: “You will cut your beard and I shall have my lunch.”

“Why must I cut it and you won’t?”

“Because you considered it.”

Such is the Stoic mind, the way. This is the perfect example of the link between thoughts, actions, habit, life and legacy. Epictetus was banned from Rome and was then lost to history. His example is immutably perfect. Yours should be, too.


The Unconventional CEO offers succinct, compelling advice from a successful CEO Mario Pretorius, to you The Cape Messenger reader.

The book is also available to purchase in full from the Amazon store.

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