Competence, Common Sense, Honesty, Integrity; Is it lacking today or just that the individuals with it are not being hired? The view from a WWII veteran who is 90 years of age.

Competence, Common Sense, Honesty and Integrity


Is it lacking today or just that the individuals with it are not being hired?


By Michael Marshall, PhD


I will share with you a short story about my meeting someone very special that we can all learn something important from.


Recently, I met a 90 year old man who was a WWII pilot on a B24 bomber in 1942.


He served in both the Atlantic and Pacific operations.


He was in good health, physically and mentally; and was friendly, sharing many interesting life-time stories and experiences.


A conversation with him held my attention and provided unique insights and meaning of much.


I asked him what things he has experienced and seen that are major changes and may even cause some concern for him.


Now, I was thinking he was going to comment about; high cost of living, high cost of gas, high unemployment, many US businesses moving offshore causing unemployment problems, most products now being made offshore causing high unemployment, poverty, high cost of college education, quality of education, healthcare and  insurance cost, medical technology advancements, cancers, drug abuse, electronic technologies, food, music, movies, weather, pollution, NRA/National Rifle Association/Right to Have Guns and school shootings issues, immigration issues, divorce rates, morality,  government political fighting hindering beneficial progress, international issues, world poverty, world hunger, terrorism, world healthcare issues and other such subjects.

These are all good subjects for intellectual discussions and conversations especially with someone 90 years of age with many life experiences and their mental faculties fully intact.


Well, he did not initially mention any of these common subjects.


I was surprised.


Instead he said,


“I am mostly saddened, disturbed and frustrated with the lack of Competency, Common Sense, Honesty and Integrity.  This is hurting our businesses, country and culture.  It certainly affects me since I encounter these things frequently with most businesses and daily activities with others.  It was not this bad years ago.  I do not know why these things have declined so badly over the years.”


He went on with his conversation to say that the lack of Competency, Common Sense, Honesty and Integrity is the main thing behind most of life’s daily issues and challenges, especially with businesses and services.


Let’s take a moment to briefly mention the definition of these things.


Definition of Common Sense

‘Sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts’


Definition of Competent and Competency

‘Having the necessary ability, knowledge and skill to do something successfully; Being able, capable, qualified, fit, proficient and efficient’


Definition of Honesty

‘Free from fraud or deception’


Definition of Integrity

‘The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; Moral uprightness’


This 90 year old man continued on with conversation about how a decline of these fundamental things and values is destroying US businesses.


His understanding of the decline of these things in many businesses and people truly upset him and caused him concerns.


He commented about many competent people with common sense integrity and honesty being out of work struggling to find a job while so many others with jobs seemed far less competent and lacking common sense, honesty and integrity.


His conversation continued to question why competent people were not hired and those less competent often had the jobs and in the positions to make decisions and manage the business.


He went on to say that from his observations it seems to extend from employees up through management levels of businesses and into senior leadership.


With my business background, the conversation is one that seemed to target the core problems and challenges with businesses overall.


We discussed why some of the lesser skilled and lesser competent people in management and leadership levels would not want to hire those with more skills and higher competency than themselves and also possibly those that are older with more business maturity as well (unfortunately, sometimes this is related to the age of the person).


He agreed that this was happening but was stumped as to what can be done to correct this and change this.


At no time did he comment on any radical ideas or actions that were needed to change this and improve things.


He was just a nice intelligent person with good perceptions and observations, and having many concerns.


He agreed that the conversation applied to many other important issues as well in the United States and in other countries globally.


Of course, he ended the conversation with how the same applied to the government.


Before leaving him, I asked how he stays busy to make sure he has a good and productive life.


He said that he was active in his local VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) and The American Legion organizations and occasionally was a guest speaker in local schools.


I am only briefly sharing with you my short encounter with a very special individual.


The conversation that I had with this person was meaningful.


I am sharing it with you and maybe it will be meaningful to you, as well.


Let me end by asking you a few questions.


If Competency, Common Sense, Honesty and Integrity increased significantly with people and businesses, do you think there would be improvement in businesses, services, economic issues, employment, quality of products and services, and many other things; domestically and globally?



Do you think this also applies to governments and organizations, as well?



Is increasing Competency, Common Sense, Honesty and Integrity the key for all improvements in businesses and everything else, just like the 90 year old WWII war veteran believes?



This last question is the most difficult.

If the key to improving business and other things is to hire the more competent individuals with more common sense, honesty and integrity; and possibly older with more business maturity;

What are your ideas on how to accomplish this knowing that others with possibly less competency, common sense, honesty & integrity that are in power and decision making positions may resist this?


For more information or assistance to help you grow the business, feel free to contact me directly.


Michael Marshall, PhD


Michael Marshall has 30 years of business experience advancing from field level early in his business career up to senior leadership levels in many markets and industries.  He also teaches internationally at university level.  His continual education and learning includes a PhD in business and over 40 professional business certifications that he constantly updates. Michael is a life-time learner that continually seeks out new additional knowledge and experience.  He has written on well over 100 business subjects which are on his personal website and has 30 global publishing’s.


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