Lesson 121: Guilty of in-action
TV Series: Star Trek - The Next Generation
Season/Episode: 5/19 ('The First Duty')


Cadet Wesley Crusher is involved in a cover-up of the real cause of a fatal accident during a Starfleet Academy graduation ceremony space flight training show, which resulted in the death of a fellow classmate Cadet.

During a Starfleet hearing about the accident, Wesley perjures himself with his testimony.

When Capt. Picard discovers the truth about the cover-up, he gives Wesley an ultimatum, to either voluntarily reveal the truth or Capt. Picard will.

Wesley rises to the occasion and tells the truth at the hearing and accepts his punishment.


Capt. Picard's course of action was instinctive upon discovering the truth.

When faced with the dilemma of knowing when something is a lie, how we handle the situation is a clear indication of our character, more than anything else.

In the world of business, we are sometimes confronted with situations where we become aware of wrong-doings perpetrated by fellow-employees, management or even the company as a whole.

What is our path of action in this situation?

If we are in the mindset of Capt. Picard, we take measures to expose the matter. However, in the real world, we stand to lose our job and perhaps even our future income by taking such steps. 'Whistle-blowers', as they are called, are clearly frowned upon by companies. However, the damage caused by not saying anything could be fatal, to the individual, the company and, in some cases, everyone else.

On a TV news documentary, Alan Greenspan, former secretary of the US Treasury (2000-2008) openly admitted he was aware, that the unrestrained growth in the US housing market in the mid 2000's would eventually face a collapse.

He knew the growth was founded in unqualified buyers buying homes beyond their means, in ratings companies elevating securities values unchecked and in unregulated arbitrage income from mortgage-backed securities.

He knew all this and yet, he decided he could not be the one to halt the growth. We all know the results - global recession near the end of the first decade of the 21st century unlike any seen before.

Alan Greenspan is not responsible for the global recession of the mid to late 2000's; however, he was in a position to have a definitive proactive impact and yet, by his own words, he declined to act.

Management, above all others, must be held accountable for not only their actions, but also more importantly, their in-actions.

Perhaps, if all those in management positions related to the housing mortgage crisis would have exercised Capt. Picard's value-based judgments and spoken up, we might have averted the world-wide economic catastrophe.

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