How one colleague's failure to do the right thing became the benchmark for the four who followed—and the damage they left in their wake.

The Fraudulent 5 are too easily satisfied in their certainty, and such behavior fosters intellectual dishonesty. Dictionary.com defines “insight” as: “penetrating mental vision or discernment; faculty of seeing into inner character or underlying truth.” A lot of people think they’re insightful, but far fewer can square that belief with the definition above–particularly when the matter is personal.

The Fraudulent 5 shirked the most fundamental duties of their jobs, and absolved themselves of accountability simply because a contract says they can. I was under the impression that Do The Right Thing was Bank of America’s prime directive.

Everyone invited to work in that academic shop is a thinker by definition, but The Top 2 of The Fraudulent 5 failed in their dealings with me because they didn’t live up to their very own standards—and what’s worse, they didn’t even try. Under normal circumstances, I’m sure The Top 2 are intellectually curious, thorough, and judicious—yet none of those qualities can be found in their judgment of me.

Given that I was treated so carelessly, why would I want to work with anyone involved in this story? I see people on the whole of who they are, and strictly on the merits of how The Top 2 ordinarily operate, I still believe in them. There is a book called Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter, and The Top 2 are very much in line with what is advocated in that book. On and off over the years, I have been writing a book about how intellectual curiosity is correlated to everything we become. Imagine my joy when I found the following in Multipliers:

It is not surprising that the highest-rated practice for Multipliers was “Intellectual Curiosity.” Multipliers create genius in others because they are fundamentally curious and spark learning around them. This curiosity takes the form of an insatiable need for deep organizational understanding. The question “why” is at the core of their thinking. They ponder possibilities. They want to learn from people around them. At the heart of any challenge is intellectual curiosity: I wonder if we could do the impossible?

Think of the pride The Top 2 would have to swallow to meet my demands and reinstate my contract in their academic shop. No doubt it would be a colossal embarrassment for anyone in their shoes, but I know from personal experience that sucking it up and admitting that you’re wrong will earn you respect in the end. They would come to find that it would be one of the best decisions they ever made, because it would build character in areas they didn’t know were lacking.

I wonder if we could do the impossible.

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