If Aristotle Ran General Motors

Centuries ago, Aristotle wrote about the four transcendent virtues — Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Unity. He said these virtues were necessary to achieve good for the individual and society. Author Tom Morris put Aristotle’s philosophies to the test in his book, “If Aristotle Ran General Motors” to see if these four transcendent virtues can be applied to our business world today.

Morris claims that when management keeps secrets and is less than honest with employees, the morale (Truth) of the company is damaged. He also asserts that employees must be made to feel that there is an inherent Goodness and sense of Unity in their daily work in order to inspire them to make their best contribution. Morris also feels that the aesthetics (Beauty) of a workplace need to be accounted for because this enriches the soul and brings out the best in people.

I believe these age-old virtues are critical to the development of a successful company. For years, we’ve been committed to focusing on all of these virtues. First, no matter the circumstances, good times or bad, we maintain an openess with everyone. While sometimes candidness can cause issues to brew, the trust created by truth far outweighs the negative. Second, establishing a pleasant, uplifting work environment fosters employee pride and instills a general sense of tranquility. Both are essential to creating a happy, productive workforce. Third, a “do good” mission gives purpose and meaning to employees’ work. For Rising, our do good mission is two fold: we help save people’s money, time and health and we help companies stay solvent, which in turn creates jobs. Lastly, it’s human nature to want, or even need, to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. One of our core values, Achieve as a Team, drives a culture of Unity.

As much as we think times have changed in the business world, many of the answers remain the same from Aristotle’s days in 384-322 BC. Truth, Beauty, Goodness and Unity remain evergreen concepts, even in our fast-changing, modern day business world.