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LESSON: Integrity demands responsibility. When faced with adversity, great leaders must take the responsibility to make good on the contract entrusted to us by our employees, shareholders, and family. We have to perform at these most critical moments, put the interests of our beneficiaries ahead of our own, and do whatever it takes to lead those put in our charge to calmer waters.


The below lesson is an excerpt from my recently released Amazon #1 Best Seller, When Not If: A CEO's Guide to Overcoming Adversity, Forbes Books. 


Aside from all the theater from regulators, prosecutors, judges, and the press, my failure to protect our firm, and making so many poor decisions when faced with our black swan, was the true betrayal and the fundamental source of my difficulties. All the people around me—employees, clients, partners, shareholders—had confidence in me to lead them through good times and bad. They trusted me with their careers and security, and I never once considered I could let it all disappear. At the end, their confidence in me was misplaced. I was not strong enough.


I do take a small measure of satisfaction in knowing the jury originally signaled the judge they could not reach a consensus on the charges. According to some media reports based on interviews with members of the jury after the trial ended, three members of the jury believed the government failed to provide any evidence of my criminality. Nevertheless, Judge Doumar refused to accept that the trial would end with a hung jury and a mistrial. It was late on a Friday afternoon and the Judge instructed the exhausted jury to return again Monday morning to restart deliberations. Monday, not unexpectedly, after three hours the jury announced they were ready to deliver a unanimous verdict. Guilty.


After 5 weeks, now the jury could go home to their families and resume their lives.  Following the trial, the jury forewoman would state to The Daily Press, discarding the fact of my divorce, “He took two women to Las Vegas, and neither one of them was named Mrs. Martinovich!” [Daily Press, Peter Dujardin, July 21, 2013]. My friends would ask, “And what does this have to do with a stock price in a hedge fund?”].


The one piece of solace I do have is the incredible, continued success the great majority of MICG team members have gone on to experience during the decade I have been battling incarceration, reversing US District Court rulings, and watching two US federal judges removed from my case. Almost to a person, they have remained in the financial industry, continued to grow significant businesses, and lead consequential lives. I often try to coach myself up by considering how I played a significant role in introducing these excellent people to the business and developing their industry knowledge and skill sets. In an ironic twist, I instilled in them the strong character and integrity necessary to build great careers for themselves, even if they may, very possibly, now believe differently in me.


Extreme adversity so clearly highlights the demarcation line many times between caring for ourselves and making sure our employees, or even our children, are going to be okay. If we have invested great time, energy, and resources into their knowledge, attitudes, and overachieving culture, they will grow up to be fine without us. Our finest achievement is for them not to need us, especially when we make the incredible mistakes I have.


Have a great week!


Order Amazon #1 Best Seller When Not If (Hardback, Kindle, Audio):


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