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When you read the recent news articles about employee/employer/corporate dishonesty, disloyalty, and lack of commitment, you can only wonder if we have lost our moral compass.

Corporate and non-corporate organizational culture and behavior have gone astray when you read that national and international banks with long operating tenures have capitulated to pay billions in fines for violating currency laws. Banks are not alone; one can also include pharmaceutical companies and defense contractors.

And for sure, the business community does not have a monopoly on failing to follow their moral compass. The same can be assigned to such long-standing organizations as the Boy Scouts, religious organizations, universities, hospital networks, etc. The news frequently reports sexual assaults, price-fixing, favoritism, and misrepresentation.

For all of the above and more, “The Ten Rules for Business Success,” a recently published book by retired Dorset, Vermont attorney David Meiselman, Esq., is a timely and much-needed read.

Brooklyn, New York has exported other interesting and talented folks in addition to Vermont’s U.S. Senator — in this case, David Meiselman. However, David took the long way to settle in Vermont. He started with a tour in the U.S. Marine Corps with much of his time spent in Vietnam, then law school, and finally, over four decades of practicing his law skills (along with his law partner and wife, Myra) in White Plains, New York.

David’s commitment to service continued upon his Vermont arrival over a decade ago. He served for eight years as a trustee at the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, including three years as the Board’s Chair. Along with his colleagues, he played an enormous role in the organization’s affiliation with Dartmouth Medical Center.

David’s book is a must read for the younger generation entering the workforce, college, or graduate school. As the author points out, the book is not meant to be an academic tomb; instead, more of a guide, a compass if you will.

Divided into 10 short sections, the book deals with the expectations of a “Great Employee” and how to be a “Great Employer.” Of the latter, Meiselman quotes business guru Ken Blanchard: “In the past, a leader was a boss. Today’s leaders must be a partner with their people. They can no longer lead based solely on positional power.” An important statement that more leaders should embrace.

Notwithstanding, the chapters on Leadership, Communicating, Honesty, and Loyalty were the most purposeful and powerful. For example (space does not permit to cover them all), on leadership, David notes the following: “Leaders do not abuse their power, and are never mean or out of control.” He goes on to say, “The courtesy of a leader can be contagious and by setting a proper example, improve the morale and mindset of everyone on the team.” How sorely needed this ideal is today.

The book is sprinkled with quotes from historical figures such as John Quincy Adams, Aristotle, Abraham Lincoln, Peter Drucker, and T. Boone Pickens. How appropriate it is for a book on leadership to quote Aristotle: “If you want to avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing and be nothing.” You have to wonder if organizations that have paid billions in fines could have avoided such had someone in leadership spoken up? The same silence can be ascribed to the Boy Scouts and the Church. Where were their leaders’ voices?

I would be remiss if I failed to mention one other timely quote that David included. It is from Dean Koontz: “Never waste energy beating yourself up. Other people are standing in line to do it for you.” And for those who serve in local and state elected positions, the quote is so worthwhile.

You can obtain David’s 80-page book at the Northshire Bookstore in Manchester, Everyone’s Books in Brattleboro, the Bennington Bookshop in Bennington, and online. David has arranged for the book’s sale proceeds to be donated to the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center.

Don Keelan writes a regular column for the Bennington Banner. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of the Brattleboro Reformer.


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