Ethical Edge

By Russell Williams

Ethical Edge

The Ultimate Advocate

The Ethical Edge
The Art of Integrity

President/Partner, DGWB Advertising & Communication
Co-Founder, The Values Institute at DGWB

 “Setting an example is not the main means of influence, it is the only means.”
Albert Einstein

After spending 60 years on the planet and 39 years in the communications business I have come to the conclusion that nothing in life happens by chance.  Such is the case as I recall my memorable encounter with Chesley Beaver.  Unusual name to be sure.  Only to be matched by Ches’ unusual and magnetic character and love for those he called friends.

I knew a few moments into my initial interview with Ches that he was a unique individual.  Smart, curious, engaging, disarming and extremely warm… I really don’t remember talking much about advertising.  We spoke as two old friends sitting on a park bench, finishing each other’s sentences.  He would soon be working at the agency as our Director of Strategic Planning.  I only wish I had known then that our time together would end abruptly before our unlikely relationship had the chance to fully mature.

On the surface Ches and I were as different as could be…different childhoods, different geographies, different generations, different professional paths, different views on politics and life.  And yet, there was a compelling force that drew us together.  Amidst all our differences, we shared a few, but extremely powerful values that galvanized our relationship and drove our collective life experience.  Through that relationship I learned a powerful lesson:  Chesley, the trained sociologist, reinforced in me that relationships and trust grow only to the degree that you place others above yourself and advocate on their behalf.

Advocacy.  A value most of us find hard to share.  By nature we like putting ourselves first.  We rarely allow others to have the “upper hand.”  And yet, the most successful relationships benefit from this one selfless act.  In the world of business advocacy is also a much needed but often-neglected value.  All too often in our efforts to grow the bottom line we neglect the effort to advocate on behalf of our employees and our customers.  For more reasons than can be mentioned here, advocacy has simply not found its way into the mainstream of corporate dialogue.

Perhaps that’s one reason for forming the Values Institute at DGWB.  Chesley and I shared the belief that organizations could learn much about meaningful relationships from the lessons learned in personal relationships.   The belief that values like advocacy, conviction and purpose could find their way into organizations willing to seek out meaning beyond revenue.

Chesley Beaver was the ultimate advocate. Always the smartest one in the room but the first to make you feel smarter.  Always encouraging. Always your champion. Although he is gone, he continues as my most cherished advocate.


This week’s article was contributed by Michael Weisman

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