Eliot’s Mess: The High Price of Perfection

SpitzerPostCover.jpgFor more than 125 years, Ivory Soap has built its reputation on being “99 and 44/100% pure.”

The famous tagline combines scientific precision with an air of honesty. Subtly it says, “Hey, nobody’s quite perfect.”

New York Governor Eliot Spitzer wishes this morning that he would have allowed himself the same wiggle room, after he was identified as a client in a pricey prostitution ring.

Being “Mr. Clean” is a tough brand to live up to—whether it’s in politics or business. The public holds you, rightly, to a different standard. Just ask BP and Martha Stewart how hard it’s been to recover from their own sordid scandals.

There may be a similar danger brewing for a growing number of companies that have begun to wave their corporate responsibility flags a bit too high.

As Mr. Spitzer has proven once again, no one is perfect. And no one rushes to help white knights when they crash off of their pedestals.