My all time favourite TV series is M*A*S*H, a comedy/drama centred around the doctors and nurses of the 4077th M*A*S*H unit during the Korean War. The series was so poplular that it outlasted the duration of the 3 year war, spanning 11 seasons and 251 episodes.

The strong characterisation and story lines presented thought provoking themes that provide the ideal platform for lessons on life and leadership. Whether you are a fan of the show or not, I'm sure you will connect with my leadership insights from M*A*S*H.

LEADING FROM THE TRENCHES features bite-sized, candid insights that speak into the gritty space of leadership through the eyes of a fellow leader seeking to "lead with all diligence" (Romans 12:8).

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Does The End Justify The Means?

Episode 19:  The Long John Flap


Klinger:   Father, over here.  I would like to ask your advice on a spiritual matter.
Father:     Why certainly.
Klinger:   If you need something – I mean, if you’re really cold 
or something – it wouldn’t be a mortal
sin to steal from somebody who was kind of a rotten 
person anyway?  Would it?
Father:    Have you stolen something?
Klinger:   These (passes out from hiding a pair of long johns)
Father:    Oh, my.  Aren’t they nice. Whoever you took these from  must be very cold now.
Klinger:    Father, if I give them back, the certain person I took them from would like to have me killed.  I’ve really been trying to avoid that lately.

The 4077 are experiencing a cold snap.  Hawkeye receives a pair of long johns from home, which become a coveted item in camp and are traded among the personnel, until they are stolen and returned to Colonel Blake to try and find the original owner.

One of the complications of leading in a world of relative morality and blurry boundaries is how easy it is to allow the end to justify the means.  These are those occasions when unethical or even illegal actions are engaged by organizations to achieve the desired outcomes, at whatever cost.   As leaders, our perception of the greater good should never compromise the truth of what actually is good.  Without clear absolutes, boundaries or vision our core values and integrity are at risk of becoming the casualty of morally and ethically questionable methods.

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