Ethics consultants are not hired when everything is hunky dory. They're different, and often more severe, than other corporate crises. An ethics crisis is about who you are as an organization and not just about specific actions that have gone wrong. But you can limit their damage.
Have CEOs essentially lost their first amendment rights?
I was recently asked about the biggest ethical mistakes CEOs make. In 35 years as an ethics consultant, I have seen some doozies. After all, you only hire an ethics consultant if you face an ethical dilemma. And once an ethical mistake occurs, it is extremely hard to set things right with the public and media, who already may believe that companies routinely engage in unethical conduct. The truth is that most of these mistakes are entirely avoidable—if you are on the lookout for them. Here are the top 5 ethical mistakes I've seen made by CEOs.
Ray Lane will step down as chairman of Hewlett-Packard after a rocky two-and-a-half-year tenure. The surprise move is in addition to the surprise resignations of two other board directors, John Hammergren, CEO of McKesson, and G. Kennedy Thompson, former CEO of Wachovia, who nearly lost their seats at the March annual meeting.
Wal-Mart's alleged FCPA violations are bound to bring about much legal fallout. Executives have gone to jail for violating the FCPA, and only time will tell what will happen to Wal-Mart's C-Suite. If your company does any business outside the U.S., it's important to follow this story and let Wal-Mart's missteps be a cautionary tale. Here's what you need to know.
Brian Dunn, the former CEO of Best Buy, has now joined the ignominous ranks of CEOs who've allegedly had public affairs with employees and lost their jobs. What causes some CEOs to start to believe the rules don't apply to them? And is it really the affairs that get them fired?
Every CEO likes to think he or she displays complete integrity as a leader. When investors or employees think otherwise there can be unwelcome valuation consequences.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, David Sokol, Mark Hurd, Lee Farkas. These powerful business leaders have taken over the headlines because they chose to engage in abuses of power. With offenses ranging from bank fraud to sexual assault, one wonders why such smart people would risk their careers in such reckless and destructive ways. Harvard Business School professor Bill George explains the appeal of rule-breaking and why so many prominent leaders end up on the wrong side of the law.
How can business leaders revive stakeholder confidence?
Everyone knows that leadership involves values. But many business leaders do not understand exactly how values relate to leadership. That's not their fault. It's...