Friday, 22 April 2016

5% Too many

How would you react if you knew that the airline you chose sported a safe landing percentage of 96%?  Before you answer let me remind you that there are about 100,000 flights per day worldwide.

Or how would you feel if your doctor's diagnosis was accurate 96 times out of 100?  You would likely not book Monday morning or Friday afternoon appointments...

If the bridge you were about to cross had a sign that said "...the engineer for this bridge graduated in the 85th percentile..." you might be tempted to look at the car behind you and say '...after you, please...'

Our desire is that performance in these fields is 100%.  But recognizing that these are all skills based situations, we know that perfection is simply not attainable.  Best effort is what we hope for, along with a little luck.

But how do our expectations change when it is a matter of character and not competency?  Don't we rightly expect more?

What, then,  are we to make of the results of a recent Ernst & Young survey that indicated that 95% of Canadian CEO's and CFO's responded that they would adhere to behavior that was legally, morally and ethically responsible.  This includes properly reporting revenue and expenses; not engaging in brides or other types of corruption; and not turning a blind eye to activities like child labor. (Apparently Canada scored very high in this survey.)

Wow, one out of twenty confesses that they would cheat in order to gain an advantage or to make performance look better than it is.  It strikes me that the number may be low because these are people admitting, in an anonymous survey, to a willingness to cheat.  How many others had their fingers crossed as they answered the question...

The reality is that there is NO ROOM for a failure of ethics in the Boardroom.  There cannot be ethics  that you exercise based on circumstances or the behavior of a competitor or the need/desire to secure a contract.  And yet 1 in 20 thinks it is OK.

Don't take the sting out of that by asserting some greater good can come out of it; that the order keeps many employed or that others were offering bribes too. Once Pandora's Box has been opened, literally all hell has broken loose.

In some jurisdictions it is considered acceptable to turn a blind eye; to grease the palm; to endorse corruption,  But none of that makes it RIGHT.

As leaders, we have an individual and a collective responsibility to always do that which is legally, morally and ethically correct.  'Situational ethics' cannot find a safe harbour in our behavior because 'situational ethics' is the same as no ethics.

Five percent of Canadian boardrooms apparently think otherwise.  Let's expose them for what they are...CHEATERS.  

No comments:

Post a comment