Business Ethics & A Moral Compass

September 21, 2015

 

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The notion of an “ethical business” isn’t an oxymoron. Two automotive companies make me wonder:

  • GM was just fined $900 million for the car ignition problem that killed over 100 people. People inside GM knew the truth and looked the other way. Right now, the Justice Department has no plans to issue criminal indictments. I heard someone on the news say, “The law really doesn’t address this issue.” It would seem product liability laws have kicked in but what about concealing the truth from management and customers? What about customers dying and not one word was uttered by GM until it was forced to face the music?
  • VW has been caught providing invalid documentation of diesel engine emissions on its automobiles. The software settings that confirmed the vehicles met emission requirements were changed for production vehicles meaning the vehicles did not meet emission requirements. VW is facing fines of up to $18 billion for this violation.

I was taught we should “do the right thing.” Both GM and VW have failed to “do the right thing.” In the case of GM, people have died. In the case of VW, our environment has been compromised.

Ethical choices in business depend on a proper moral compass. Leadership must set the compass and monitor compliance.

Thought for the week:

“If you see distraction externally, you end up creating an internally distracted state.” – Tim Ferriss
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2015 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive! To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

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Ignoring The Warning Signs

August 5, 2013

warning sign

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: ignoring the warning signs

  • Air France Flight 447 crashed off the coast of Brazil after it stalled (lost lift and forward speed) and dropped from an altitude of 30,000+ feet to the ocean’s surface. Audible stall warnings were ignored by the flight crew. They thought the alarms were in error. They weren’t.
  • Asiana Flight 214 crashed when the crew failed to realize that airspeed had dropped to levels that caused the plane to stall resulting in the plane’s tail colliding with the seawall on approach. Two critical things to monitor for landing are altitude and airspeed. When both values are too low, the ability to make corrections vanish.
  • The recent Spanish train crash that killed 80 people occurred after the train’s engineer received 3 warnings that he was going too fast in the 2 minutes prior prior to the train derailing. He was traveling more than twice the speed limit. The train’s engineer was distracted talking on the phone.

“Set it and forget it” doesn’t work at critical points in a process. Industry experts describe the inability of these crews to respond appropriately as “automation complacency,” a situation where those in charge overly rely on instruments and computer controls to do things automatically so the person at the controls doesn’t have to worry about it or attend to it.

All this makes me wonder about business owners being on auto-pilot and not sensing trouble ahead. It’s easy to assume that procedures and controls are operating normally and, as a consequence, little is done to confirm that things are as they are supposed to be–until it is often too late.

As Ronald Reagan said, “Trust, but verify.” This axiom will help you and your company thrive.

Thought for the week:

 “Failure doesn’t matter. You only have to be right once.” — Dropbox CEO Drew Houston
Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:
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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


AT&T U-verse Deceptive Selling Practices

July 22, 2013

Note: This posting is based on my weekly “Thank God It’s Monday” that helps you and your company thrive!

This week’s focus: deceptive selling practices

Nothing irritates me more than deceptive selling practices, especially deceptions you learn about after a deal is struck and the transaction is complete.

My father needed to upgrade his home Internet service as what he had didn’t offer sufficient bandwidth to allow him to look at videos. We went to the AT&T store and were offered an AT&T U-verse package that would bundle his home phone and Internet–increase his bandwidth by a factor of 4– for $40 a month, down from the $74 a month he had been paying for years. There would be an installation cost of $199: $100 for the new Internet hub and $99 for installation. My father wanted this.

Ten days later, the installer showed up and completed the installation. My dad called me and asked if I would come over right away as he didn’t understand the nuances of what the installer is trying to tell him. I would soon understand why.

  • To offer the low price, AT&T changes his phone from a direct wired connection to voice-over-Internet-protocol (VOIP). His home alarm system doesn’t speak VOIP so now he either needs to either schedule and pay for AT&T to come out and restore what was there for over 50 years as a direct wired phone line or upgrade his alarm system at a cost of about $550.
  • His new VOIP phone has a limit of 250 minutes per month. He’s never had a limit on his local calls.
  • His email would not work. I called AT&T and, when a Level 1 tech couldn’t help me, they told me I’d have to pay for a Level 2 tech to assist me. I insisted on speaking to a supervisor and avoided additional fees. The problem turned out to be an AT&T issue.

No one mentioned that his phone was going to be converted to VOIP or that he would have a limit of 250 minutes for local calls. No one asked if he had an alarm system. Why didn’t they ask? It would have slowed or eliminated the possibility of an on-the-spot sale as I would have sought a different solution from other companies had we been told what they were going to do.

Bottom line: AT&T U-Verse didn’t disclose material facts about the transaction. That is deceptive. The California Public Utilities Commission (PUC) needs to know about this.

Customers don’t like surprises, especially surprises that have significant implications. You can’t thrive if you treat customers like this. Set proper expectations and make sure there are no surprises.

Thought for the week:

“Success isn’t permanent and failure isn’t fatal.” – Mike Ditka

Recent Blog Posts That May Interest You:

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What do you think? I welcome your comments!
___

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2013 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.


Learning a past employee lies on resume

August 27, 2011

Earlier this week, I used LinkedIn to research people in my network and learned that a former employee is out and out lying about their background working for me and the employer.  It makes me sick to think that this individual who I’ve always thought of very highly of is seriously misrepresenting their background.

I’m not going to disclose who this person is, but, given this person’s background and credentials, I’m astounded that this individual would do this.  It is completely unnecessary.

The dates of employment have been seriously altered as have the titles and roles this person played. The person was hired via a recruiter whose role was to do a thorough background check and resume verification.  I now wonder if I got what the company paid for?

When I discovered the lies, I didn’t want to share this with my wife or anyone for that matter.  I’m embarrassed for this person. I had always thought highly of this seemingly meticulous person.  This person was effective in the role I asked them to play.

I wondered why this person had never used me as a reference when seeking other positions.  I now know why–I would be unable to vouch for the background this person is offering to potential employers.

I’m sick about this.  This is one of the last people I would suspect of doing such a thing.  A person I held in high regard is greatly diminished in my eyes now.

Some day, this will catch up with this person.  When you live a lie, it eventually all catches up with you.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com


Dave Gardner’s “Thank God It’s Monday” 01NOV10

November 1, 2010

“Thank God It’s Monday” is to help companies thrive!

This week’s focus: ethics

Ethics is about meeting expected, professional standards of conduct—“doing the right thing”—especially when no one is looking.

This past week, GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, agreed to pay a whopping $750 million fine to settle with the FDA for serious quality control breaches (read my blog post here).  We do not know if people died or suffered significant side effects as a consequence of this ethical lapse—it is certainly possible.

The Gulf Oil spill was no accident—repeated warning signs were ignored. Besides the economic and ecological catastrophe that ensued for BP and the Gulf region, we should not forget that eleven people lost their lives, a horrific outcome for such an ethical lapse.

In both instances, the quest for profits trumped safety.

Companies that thrive instantiate a culture imploring employees to “do the right thing” irrespective of the implications.

Thought for the week:

“We must look for the opportunity in every difficulty instead of being paralyzed at the thought of the difficulty in every opportunity.”
– Walter E. Cole

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Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting  All Rights Reserved

Note:  To receive an email version of “Thank God It’s Monday” to start your week, please subscribe here.  I would very much appreciate your suggesting to others that they subscribe.

Privacy Statement:  Our subscriber lists are never rented, sold, or loaned to any other parties for any reason.