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13 Feb, 2009

What Would You Do?

Posted by: The Coaching Academy In: Coaching Articles|Life Coaching Articles

The Coaching Academy Blog

Many of us will have to make choices at sometime in our lives that could have major implications; not only for ourselves but also for those we love and those we serve. How we react in those situations depends largely on our values and principles. At those turning points, we will have to choose who we are and what we stand for.

Possessing an understanding of our values and principles is one thing; living them out in integrity and honesty can be something very different. Knowing who we are and what matters most will determine the choices that we make.

In 1982, the global company Johnson & Johnson was confronted with one of the most challenging ethical issues of recent years. As producers of the painkiller Tylenol, they enjoyed a market leading position. However, in 1982 an individual tampered with an unknown quantity of bottles by adding cyanide into the capsules. This resulted in seven deaths, many people reporting ill effects and widespread negative media coverage.

Faced with a problem that wasn’t theirs they went public with the issue and took the immediate decision to recall all stocks of Tylenol at a cost to them of $100 million. This decision nearly brought the company to its financial knees.

How many businesses would have been able financially to survive such a crisis let alone agree to such a course of action? However, for Johnson & Johnson the decision was clear. They felt an overriding responsibility to their staff, customers and their families. Even though the decision may have resulted in the closure of the company, they felt that it was still the right decision to make.

As coaches, it would be hard for us to imagine a challenge of such magnitude. Yet we all face ethical decisions every day. Do we continue to coach the client that hasn’t made progress in a long time? Should we offer a refund when we know that we haven’t done the best we could? Do we take on a client when we know another coach who might be a better choice for that client?

Who we are and what matters most to each of us will determine the choices we make. What would you do?

By Neil Prem


Tylenol crisis: Johnson & Johnson History of the Credo

2 Responses to "What Would You Do?"

1 | Jacqueline Pigdon

February 15th, 2009 at 1:50 pm


Hi Neil,

Great article.

My philosophy is ALWAYS do the ‘right thing’ and as Johnson & Johnson above you know deep down what the right thing to do is.

It’s often the harder choice at the time but better in the long run.

Do the wrong thing and the pain, suffering and consequences you will face later on down the track will only be far greater.

Life & Spiritual Coach

2 | Cherry Douglas

February 28th, 2009 at 1:15 pm


Thanks Neil

A valuable reminder that we need to be constantly checking with our heart of hearts to find the ‘right’ course of action and this is a lesson we need to help our clients to understand too.

For those who are working on career change issues, it is important that they tap into that deep awareness of what will be truly right for them in the context of their whole life and see past what is expected of them by others. There may be significant short term costs to a career change eg financial and in terms of status, but the long term dividends make it worth while.

Your Career Change Guide

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