Ethikos Weekly Editor’s Picks – October 1, 2014


Editor’s Top Choice:

The NFL Teaches Us the Difference Between Ethics and Compliance

By Doug Cornelius of Compliance Building:

The National Football League is by far the most popular sport in the US. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell talks about what he calls “protecting the shield.”

He originally handed down a two-game suspension to Ray Rice for a punch to the head of Mr. Rice’s fiance that left her lying unconscious on the floor of an elevator.

That decision was complaint with the NFL rules, which did not carry a specific penalty for domestic violence.

That two game suspension was shorter that the season long penalty handed down to Josh Gordon for his use of marijuana.

That decision was compliant with the NFL rules. Marijuana happens to be legal in two NFL cities and is subject to regulated use in many of the other NFL cities. Read more

Other Featured Picks of the Week

9 Leadership Steps for Corporate Culture Change

Micah Solomon, Contributor to Forbes:

Want to use your leadership to drive cultural change at your company? Here’s what it takes: a 9-point checklist of what we’ve found, as culture change consultants, to be required for a company culture to achieve organizational and customer experience excellence.

1. Begin. Someone in a leadership position in your organization (I’m counting on you, my reader, here) needs to make the initial decision that cultural change is a priority, that putting customers (and the employees, and vendors, and systems that serve them) front and center  matters.

2.  Codify your cultural decision in a very short statement. An explicit (but very brief) statement of what that decision looks like: How you’re going to treat customers. How you’re going to support employees.  How you’re going to treat vendors.  Because making a decision once isn’t enough: you need a clear way to refer back to it. Read more

Important Employee Values: Integrity and Trust

From Michael Volkov of Corruption, Crime & Compliance:

I have urged compliance professionals to avoid scare-tactics as a way to enhance their importance in the corporate organization. It is too easy to run around and spread fear about the importance of compliance to prevent a government investigation and prosecution. That message is too negative and turns off listeners.

Moreover, everyone in senior management knows the risks of a government enforcement action. They do not need a compliance person repeating this fear over and over as a way to increase their own importance and support a request for more resources.

Compliance professionals have to develop a new message – a positive message. Ethical companies are more profitable and sustainable. Corporate leaders like positive messages for obvious reasons – they hear lots of negative messages and worries all day long. When they are given a positive message, they can quickly decide whether to react or not. Read more

Business Fraud: Culture is the Culprit

Heather Raftery and Frank L. Holder, writing for Business Ethics:

Fraud occurs every day all over the world. Some companies take an “it won’t happen to us” approach; others implement controls to try to keep individuals likely to commit fraud from entering the business; and still others outsource the work of combating fraud to external auditors. These tactics and strategies are helpful but are limited. Companies must create lower risk environments for fraud. To do so, organizations first must understand their own corporate ecology — the interrelations between people and their workplace — and tailor controls to the nature of those systems.

Fraud may be as old as civilization itself. Fraudulent activity was mentioned in the Code of Hammurabi, the oldest-known surviving code of law dating to around 1772 B.C. Modern archaeologists often unearth counterfeit coins from cities long forgotten.

As long as there have been opportunities, there have been fraudsters. Read more

RIP for PR Spin: Ethics, Public Relations and the Imminent Death of ‘Spin’

From Gwen Chynoweth, of MinnPost:

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) has declared this September as “Ethics Awareness Month,” complete with “The New Era of Authenticity” as a theme. There’s also a Google+ Hangout on PR ethics, webinars and a #PRethics hashtag. While it saddens me that any profession places a special emphasis for just 30 days on a code of conduct, the PRSA’s declaration does offer an irresistible opportunity to focus on a single word: “Spin.”

Every once in a great while, a client will ask our Minneapolis PR agency to “spin” some topic for his or her company. It’s almost always asked innocently, like, “We just won this prestigious award for doing really good work, but we don’t know how to word the press release. Can you put your spin on it?” Read more

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