I'll never forget sometime back when a manager I deeply admired pulled an underhanded stunt.
It wasn't a huge deal. But it revealed, to me at least, a huge character flaw.
Simply, he couldn't be trusted.
Once trust is lost, it is very hard to get back. It hurts careers. It hurts companies.
And this past week, more than a few companies have come to learn this the hard way.
Merck and Schering-Plough wrestling with the fallout of Vytorin, their highly hyped cholesterol drug that not only didn't live up to that hype. But if reports are true, the companies themselves knew long ago it didn't live up to that hype.
Then the airlines revealed this week to have taken safety short cuts and maybe with the FAA's blessing, all the while assuring their customers it was safety first, safety second, safety always.
These aren't bad companies. Just like that manager isn't a bad person.
But once burned, customers, and colleagues often are more than twice shy.
No doubt these drug companies and airline companies will soon try rebates and cash incentives, maybe fancy commercials and full page ads extolling their virtues.
But it takes more than cash to make a point.
Because in business, as in life, character is the one thing that doesn't come with a price.
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Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.