The news cycle often is rife with controversy involving public figures. Sometimes a fall from grace--from Hollywood to politics to the corporate boardroom--brings closer examination of the root causes. Christopher Gilbert of NobleEdge Consulting, Gig Harbor, Wash., author of There's No Right Way to Do the Wrong Thing, thinks such events, as well as social media skirmishes, reflect a lack of ethics that plagues many levels of American society, but that they also provide an opportunity to strengthen our own moral pathway.

"The important issue isn't in arguing over which schoolyard bully is the most unethical. The roots of the problem are not only in misplaced, society-influenced priorities, but in a widespread belief that 'good' people make the good decisions and 'bad' people make the unethical ones.

"We need to start a national conversation about what it means to do right in business and in life, despite the constant personal, social, economic, and other cultural and societal pressures to ignore what is right in favor of success. A growing awareness and practice of ethics is, in essence, also a profound transformation of our character, and it often comes as we navigate the most-dramatic or challenging events of our lives."

How do we overcome the pressures and temptations to flout ethical practices? Gilbert provides three tips to making good ethical decisions while holding ourselves and others accountable:

Trust "lighthouse moments." These can be subtle or indelible experiences that make us decide a course of action and shape our future choices. "Ethics serve as our lighthouses, providing us with a reference point--enlightened guidance along the pathway of our best decisions. They warn of danger as well. Some believe that ethical choices are relative to whom and what you know...

To continue reading