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Lead by principle, reap the rewards

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

High principle in business is in high fashion at the moment. But does it really work?

Yes, says David Batstone, a founding editor of Business 2.0 and author of Saving the Corporate Soul & (Who Knows?) Maybe Your Own.

Batstone presents ample evidence that obsessing over the bottom line will ruin your leadership. As an antidote, he describes the decisions of Clif Bar founder Gary Erickson, who turned away “an insane amount of money” so that he could ensure a good work environment, follow his own social agenda and treat workers as partners.

But maybe the best example of Batstone’s search for “significance” is himself. The investment bank executive resigned from his CEO job at a start-up tech firm in the late 1990s when he realized that he didn’t believe in what he was doing—hawking widgets— and was in it only for the money.

As luck would have it, by acting on principle, he left the industry at the right time.

— Adapted from “Managing With Soul: Combining Corporate Integrity With the Bottom Line,” Knowledge@Wharton.

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