Home Concepts Ethics The Ten Commandments for Gamechangers

The Ten Commandments for Gamechangers

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But your greatest power as a gamechanger does not come from your authority, title, popularity or resources; it comes from your integrity. Judaism is an ethical decision-making system for seeing the difference between right and wrong, and even tackling right-vs.-right decisions or ethical dilemmas—by prioritizing your values.

Commandment Eight is, “You shall not steal.” The prohibition against stealing seems trivial: so what? But true gamechangers break the myth that underlies stealing: “Not Enough.” If you stop focusing on what you don’t have and don’t really need, you can leverage what you do have.

Tzedakah (righteous giving) is perhaps the highest commandment that integrates all others. As Churchill put it, “You make a living by what you get; you make a life by what you give.” Some cultures define wealth not by how much money you have (or hoard), but by how much flows through you. When you give, you experience that you are, have, and do enough.

Commandment Nine is, “You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.” But when things don’t go as planned, we bear false witness: We hide the breakdown, feel shame, blame others, or worst of all, reduce the challenge. Instead of facing the facts, we make things (and not least ourselves), look better than they (and we) really are. Such false testimony is an entirely human response — and entirely counter-productive.

Great leaders like Churchill or Jobs were unafraid of bad news. What makes gamechangers invincible: Instead of being stymied, they harness breakdowns as raw material for breakthroughs (or as the Hasidic saying goes, “for every descent a greater ascent”). Breakthrough innovations—Post-Its, Viagra, the Internet, civil rights—were each a phoenix arising from the ashes of a breakdown.

Finally, in Commandment Ten, “You shall not covet.., anything that is your neighbor’s“, is the pinnacle, especially today. Envy is everywhere; we look at other people’s lives from the outside, and their grass often looks greener. But instead of being jealous of others’ possessions or successes, effective gamechangers understand people and see the world from their vantage point. With outsourcing, offshoring and virtual teams, standing in the shoes of alliance partners, negotiating opponents, even competitors or enemies, has become an indispensable competence.

The Hebrew word for life is chayim, a plural term. Life is not individual; it happens only together. We’re all interdependent; nothing you’ve done is your accomplishment alone. Empathy is key to building championship teams. As Gandhi put it, “A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.”

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