“Engaging Leaders in Responsible Management” was the topic for my presentation Wednesday to several hundred business execs and entrepreneurs at Success North Dallas, a high powered networking group run by entrepreneur Bill Wallace.
As you know, it’s a topic I’m impassioned about. I truly believe the lack of responsible leadership, lack of ethics, and the worship of greed that too many companies engage in today is impacting the very foundation of this country. So, I expounded on human behavior, what influences that behavior, and the stories of power, greed, and corruption I know first hand from my Citigroup experiences.
I asked, “Did the small penalties the “too big to fail” banks have to pay make a difference in changing their behavior?” No, it’s not about financial punishment; that’s not what changes behavior. In the last financial debacle, 800+ bankers went to jail. This time around, no one has gone to jail, to date.
Some suggest it is the large financial settlements that are a deterrent. Really? Interestingly, it’s been only ten years that Citi paid out $5 billion.
The only thing that acts as a deterrent to future wrong doing is prosecution. The “too big to fail” banks have a stranglehold on this country.
History shows the collapse of every major civilization started with violations of moral codes.
Companies that have a lengthy written code of ethics people sign but are not required to follow are paying lip service to an ethical culture. A culture based on moral, ethical codes of conduct that people believe in and follow are necessary for the economic well being of a company.
Last year, a Deloitte study, “Culture of purpose: A business imperative,” found that two-thirds of employees and executives surveyed agreed that business wasn’t doing enough to “instill in their culture a sense of purpose aimed at meaningful impact.”
For companies to survive and thrive, they must foster trust, respect, and support. And, they must encourage critical thinking, debate ongoing dialogue, and foster transparency. They need to encourage people to speak out. Transparency is sorely lacking in the “too big to fail” banks and the companies that eventually find themselves with a whistleblower pointing out their wrong doing.
I called for a Congressional investigation into the actions of the “too big to fail” banks and asked that they, too, be madder than hell and call their Congressional representative and demand a Congressional hearing into the malfeasance the big banks have perpetrated. And I asked each to consider how they are running their own organizations. It’s my duty and your duty as a citizen to hold our banks and government accountable.
With truth. And transparency. And rewarding a culture that engages and respects their employees.
A culture built on ethics and purpose ignites the best people have to offer. It is people who lead a company to its becoming everything it has the capacity to be.
A culture built on ethics and purpose ignites the best people have to offer.[tweetthis twitter_handles=”@RichardMBowen”]A culture built on ethics and purpose ignites the best people have to offer.[/tweetthis]