In my book, which will be available through Amazon Kindle in about three months, if not sooner, I talk about the fact that many companies say they are customer focused, but they aren’t. They say they are committed to under-promising and over performing. They point out, often with much fanfare, that they have strong compliance programs and have a solid ethical foundation. They spend millions of dollars each year selling that message – until things fall apart.
It turns out it’s a fancy façade on a structure that is deeply flawed. One day the façade collapses and the structural flaws are glaringly obvious. A few months ago, we turned on the TV or opened the newspaper and read how Wells Fargo had, over a number of years, stolen money from millions of accounts, and now we see United Airlines in the midst of a disaster the scope of which will not be known for months.
It is safe to say that the credibility of both companies is non-existent. Wells Fargo is a company that has been around for more than 140 years, and they will do what it takes to rebuild its reputation. It will be a long-term effort but they have every reason to succeed. United Airlines presents us with more questions than answers at this point. But in its own way this failure is every bit as stunning as something pulled from the pages of a melodrama.
When I discuss ethics and integrity training with executives and managers , I am often confronted by a check the box mentality. I sometimes need to remind these men and women that they work in a high risk environment and the existence of compliance programs, ethics policies, written standards of behavior, and even training programs are not guarantors of success. That compliance failures and ethical lapses are just one bad decision away from erasing all hard-won gains. These failures often occur because they don’t look at ethics and integrity with a focus on the human factor.
Want to know more about our approach to ethics and integrity training? I invite you to take a few brief minutes and visit our website. Our approach is designed to reduce the impact on the time of executives and managers. Take a moment to view our upcoming training event in early May, and we will be happy to answer any questions you have.