business news in context, analysis with attitude

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Hi, I'm Kevin Coupe and this is FaceTime with the Content Guy.

I've been thinking about my Dad's funeral. Now, I'm not going to tell you any more about him ... between the obituary and the eulogy last week, I'm pretty sure you got the picture.

Rather, I want to talk about the sermon at his funeral ... and a business lesson that was built right into it. (Though I suspect the priest giving the sermon wasn't thinking that way...)

The priest mentioned in the sermon that we'd received a phone call from a now-retired archbishop in which he wanted to express his condolences for my dad's passing, and assure us that he would keep both my Mom and Dad in his prayers. Which was very nice of him to do; he used to be a parish priest in the community where I grew up, and I used to be an altar boy when he'd say Mass there. I remembered him without any problem, though I may not have seen him for more than 40 years. In fact, it may have been almost that long since my Dad had seen him.

The priest doing the funeral mass said that he was surprised by news of this phone call, and went on to say that he had a prejudice against bishops. People who achieve that office, he said, had a lot to worry about - real estate, money matters, and all the other issues that go into running large organizations. They are used to dealing with people of wealth and power, and often don't have time or even the inclination to minister to lesser folks. Normally, that would be us.

But he called us within 10 minutes of learning of my Dad's passing. Why? Well, while some people have the authority that is conveyed by lots of money or the authority that is conveyed by the accumulation of power, my Dad, he said, had the authority of character.

The authority of character. What a powerful phrase. What an important quality to have.

The importance of the quality of character is applicable to religion, and to politics ... but it also, I think, is applicable to business.

We all know businesses and business people of good character - they know that their leadership can go beyond the four walls of a store, or the outlines of a package being sold. They try to do the right thing whenever they can, and they try to achieve the highest common denominator in their own behavior.

We know it when we see it. And we know it when we don't. (Uber, anyone?)

There are people and companies that know they can do well while doing good.

That's character. And I agree with the basic point of the sermon - that the authority of character can create sustaining, differentiated strength inside and outside the marketplace.

It is a sermon from which we all can learn.

That's what is on my mind this morning and, as always, I want to hear what is on your mind.

KC's View: