Whether institutional or personal values, we are drawn to organizations and people who share similar beliefs. These principles make up the foundation of your mission and reputation. Take it from me, they are not merely words. They will become part of your character over time. Character is one of the most important traits of a leader.
Embracing these values early in your life will serve you in ways too numerous to count over a lifetime. The truth is you’re going to have to work at whatever it is you hope to achieve in your life. But, it is how you face it that speaks to your character.
Your true character is defined by your honesty of purpose. Your purpose is sacred and authentic. Honesty is what is at the core of your moral character. It is being trustworthy, loyal, fair, sincere and true, even when it is difficult to be. It is not only how you create your values, but also how you add value to the lives of others.
Defining Your Purpose When No One is Watching
Academic excellence, character development, personal motivation, physical development and leadership all require you to perform at your best – with honesty of purpose. You cannot develop your character, motivate yourself or lead others unless you have truly defined your purpose – your intent.
This does not necessarily mean you must know your calling in life or exactly what you want to be along every step of your career, but you do need to be clear about, and strongly aware of your values, goals and character.
When I was young, I never really thought in terms of honor codes or values. I just knew there were certain things I needed to focus on; to do and to achieve. A very simple and unassuming man with great integrity and character, my father, Pasquale Romanella, said it best to me and my siblings as we were growing up. It is the life lesson and standard by which I judge myself and strive to instill in all that I come in contact.
He said to me one day, “It’s what you do when no one is watching that counts.” As a young man, who sometimes got off track, I would say, “Dad that is the best part, no one is watching.”
As I grew in age and experience, I took on more responsibility and became hopefully a mentor and role model for others. I came to understand that leadership, integrity and honesty of purpose is what you do when no one is watching. It is a simple message from a simple man, with a very powerful meaning.
I was blessed to land my first job with UPS – a company that provided a lifetime of career opportunities through its “promotion from within” culture. UPS has policies and codes that define the character of its people. UPS is known for its drivers and meticulous business processes that still today, shape the culture and character of its global workforce. It shaped my character and it is what I hope to pass along to others in my charge.
Shortly after retiring from UPS, I was recruited to take on a new challenge as CEO of a Blue Bell-based company called UniTek Global Services. Little did I know that I had a lot more to learn about honesty, culture and purpose.
One of my first observations was the need to articulate a vision and mission, then define the company’s values. Honesty and trustworthiness became a major factor in creating a new culture at UniTek. I needed to be an honest and trusted leader in order to establish a vision, mission and values so that those in the Company would trust me enough to follow.
Whether we realize it or not, we are all here to determine what our real intent is in life. For me, it is being a great father – like my own – and mentor to others I am lucky enough to work among.
Purpose-driven people put their morals, character and honesty first. Without purpose, we drift. With purpose, we steer.
You have the responsibility to yourself and to others to use your best judgment, weigh your options carefully and make the right decisions – even if they are not the most favorable or popular – even when no one is watching.
When you do that you honor yourself and your values. Wherever your path takes you, know that your trustworthiness is your highest honor. For if you are a trusted leader, others will believe in your vision, mission and values, and trust in you enough to follow you, whether in business or on the battlefield.