Corruption will Hunt You Down

By | March 16, 2023

[March 16, 2023]   Everywhere I’ve worked, I learned that if you go beyond the basics and push yourself beyond the minimum and show some humility to learn, you will get ahead of the game.  But, there will also be corruption that will hunt you down, and it will catch you and drag you down from getting ahead.  Keep your eyes open for that corruption, and be prepared to shine some light on it.

Don’t let the corruption win you over.  We all have the obligation – a moral obligation – not to allow corruption to fester.  Without you, it will grow unmolested because others will not have the courage to expose it.  When the corruption starts to take root, you object to it so the entire system doesn’t become pathological.  You are charged with that responsibility as an ethical being, a citizen, and an employee.

In my early military career, I initially believed it was the responsibility of senior officers and NCOs to identify and stop any corruption within our military unit.  I was wrong.  I was responsible for pointing it out and working with my unit’s leadership to put in a good fix.  That “fix” had to be the best for all of us.  When we did so, the fix was rarely perfect; in fact, the fix was often poorly implemented, but at least we had an inkling that we had to take action.

In any organization, things can go sideways.  And it will.  Like Murphy’s Law, “If anything can go wrong, it will.”  Things get corrupt quickly.  People play office politics, people who manipulate begin to rise up the hierarchy, the structure stops performing its useful function in the way it was designed, and it starts to degenerate.  The typical Fortune 500 Company lasts only 30 years.  It is not easy to keep a functioning complex enterprise going.

You have to be awake and on your guard.  And, no, it is not the fault of capitalism or oppressive patriarchy that is the corrupting influence.  That is wrong.  Organizations (and all groups, too) are based on actual competence, imperfect as that is.  One corruption example is when people are hired or fired based on attributes that have nothing to do with their competence.  That is a sign of the corruption of the system, not an indication of its fundamental function.

Part of your purpose, if you are willing to be part of the hierarchy, is to make yourself a good person.  We must maintain an acceptable position and not one of power but one of competence.  Then we can be admired and respected, and the corruption will diminish.


Please read my books:

  1. “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon (link here).
  2. “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).
Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

22 thoughts on “Corruption will Hunt You Down

  1. Pilot Yankee

    Take full advantage of Gen. Satterfield’s advice. Corruption is easy.

  2. The Observer

    Too bad more people don’t know this and how powerful corruption can become and destructive it is.

    1. Billy Kenningston

      That is why those who know from experience, should be out front making it known to everyone that exposing corruption is an ethical responsibility.

  3. Big Al

    CORRUPTION, just like the DOJ, FBI, CIA, DIA, and all those 3 letter intell agencies.

  4. Max Foster

    Gen. S., “Don’t let the corruption win you over.” Now, I could talk about that all day. For example, look at the Democrat Party in America. They are corrupt to the core. It’s all about power and money. Screw the average citizen, they say and act that way. Yet, say what the low information voter wants to hear but the low info voter gets nothing out of them. Cry me a river for those who only talk about this high level of corruption, today run by Pres Joe Biden, the most corrupt president in the history of our nation, yet there are deniers all around. Keep up the investigation into the Biden Crime Family.

      1. Tom Bushmaster

        Best example ever! The question is how are they getting away with it for so long.

  5. Emma Archambeau

    Gen. Satterfield, if you could give us an update on the Ukraine War, from your perspective of strategy and the implications and lessons learned from the war, we would, I think, appreciate ur insights. Your past articles, very few but appreciated, were very helpful.

      1. Darwin Lippe

        Who does it hurt? Only the peoples of Ukraine and the US.

      2. Bird Man

        The battle for Bakhmut is something that could give us some insight. This will be one of the most famous battles of the war. Gen. S., please comment.

  6. Greg Heyman

    Another interesting and informative blog post. Thanks!!! 😊

  7. Eric Coda

    Now this is something I would like to see Gen. Satterfield explore in greater detail …. “Part of your purpose, if you are willing to be part of the hierarchy, is to make yourself a good person. ” What is ethics? What is morality? What is truth? How do I achieve them? That is one of the most quintessential questions of our time. Gen. S, well done! This article is the very kind that I believe most of us want and, frankly, we need them. It helps us keep ourselves straight and on track to stay a good person. Yes, I know, your book ’55 rules for a good life’ is a take off on that very theme.

    1. Liz at Home

      Eric, yes and well put. Corruption vs. Good. Now that is an ancient story.

    2. ZB Two Two

      Just another reason to be reading the comments in this leadership forum and Gen. Satterfield’s website. 👍👍👍👍👍

      1. Julia

        We are all huge fans of Gen. Doug Satterfield, so if you can go out and get a copy of his books and leave a review.
        “55 Rules for a Good Life,” on Amazon.
        “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon.

  8. Nick Lighthouse

    Wow, nicely put, Gen. Satterfield. Had not thought about corruption in that manner. Maybe you should write more on corruption and give many more examples. Esp, examples from your time in the military.

  9. Desert Cactus

    Corruption will hunt you down, yes a perceptive observation, and it will smash you to pieces unless you are awake to its influence and are prepared to take it on. No matter what you ability, you must take it on or else everyone else will have to fight a stronger corruption.

    1. Mikka Solarno

      I think most of us have seen ‘corruption’ in many forms over the years.


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