Welcome. Here we go again in 2019. Looks like this year will be even harder than 2018 which was in many respects a terrible year. Normally this is the

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Welcome. Here we go again in 2019. Looks like this year will be even harder than 2018 which was in many respects a terrible year. Normally this is the time of the year when we’re celebrating the outstanding individuals in organizations of the past year. But clearly there is great difficulty in identifying people and organizations to honor. As a result I’m introducing a new feature this month, “America’s MVP: America’s Most Vile Person.” If we can’t name the good ones, let’s name some bad ones. The rules are pretty simple, you’ll see them later on in the newsletter. I hope you’ll participate.

For 2019 I’m going to be focusing on civility, decency and integrity. Thought you’d like Roy Snell’s take. He is the retiring founder of SCCE, the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics, a major force in the compliance field globally and certifies individuals to be professionally recognized compliance experts.

My description of our current times goes like this:

Good times for a very few and very wealthy individuals
Bad times for millions
Huge wastes of time for everyone

Read on. As always I’d appreciate your comments and observations.


Wise Words

Honesty-Humility-Confidence: Everyday Honesty

By Roy Snell

I love "everyday honesty." What I am talking about are people who tell you, respectfully and civilly, what they really think about everyday, run­ of-the-mill issues. I love to listen to them. I am not talking about people who lie through their teeth every day or major dishonesty. I am talking
about people who take it a step further. The current cultural shift that has put so many things off limits to talk about has caused some people to just stop sharing their opinions. The baby has been thrown out with the bath water. It kind of comes off as dishonest to me. Some people have taken the perfectly acceptable effort from our society to become more politically correct and taken it very close to the edge of suppression of thought. When I see people who are returning to the concept of open discussion, it comes off as honesty to me. I missed everyday honesty. I think a lot of people miss it, and they like it more now than they ever have, because it was slipping away from us.

I kind of like civil, everyday honesty rebels. I am not talking about the screaming, hating, finger­ pointing, offending types. I am talking about the calm, thoughtful, civil, honest types. They impress me. They say what they think. They talk about the elephant in the room. They address issues that should be addressed. They are civil about it. They do not care if it affects their income or popularity.

They don't mind having someone tell them they are wrong. They listen to alternative views. They find out when they are wrong because they say what they think. They change their mind when they hear a better idea. They think it's OK to risk being wrong. It's an important part of what I would consider the attribute of everyday honesty.

The idea for this post came to me from a couple of people I talk to on a regular basis who I think have this ability. One of them is our incoming CEO, Gerry Zack. When he interviewed for the incoming SCCE/HCCA CEO job, those who talked to him on the phone, and later in person, came out of the room very impressed. For some, it was close to a "coming-out-of-their -shoes impressed." His resume was great, but this was a reaction to a discussion or a person. What I came up with was that he is honest, humble, and confident. Since then, I can't get this out of my head. Our culture is currently coming off a period of possible overreach on "what is OK to talk about." It makes us treasure people like Gerry. People miss honest and civil discourse on everyday issues.

Roy Snell is the retiring founder of SCCE/HCCA


”Finding America’s 2018 MVP,” Most Vile person


America and Americans come out of 2018 bashed, battered and bruised from a year filled with anger, confrontation and discord. We have been suffering from several vacuums occurring for some time at the same. We have an ethical vacuum, it’s almost impossible to associate a individual name or organization that stands out as a model. There have been plenty of models of ethically questionable important people and organizations in all sectors of American life.

We have had a decency vacuum the tendency to be ridged, uncompromising and unpleasant. It’s like everyday topics, issues and questions are intentionally taken wrong, animosity and insult are the goals rather than peace, tolerance, patience and civility.

There is a gratitude vacuum. There seems to be something to complain about, criticize or reject in so many seemingly worthwhile public and private endeavors. Can you name an individual or an organization that can do things and escape being vented at by some group, negative individual or activist.

Is there anybody in charge of finding the best we have to offer? While we are waiting for someone, group or institution to seeking to close these and other vacuums maybe there is some value in illuminating the worst among us . . .America’s MVP for 2018 . . .Most Vile Person. Seriously.

If we can’t identify the best maybe we could at least name the worst.

I have identified eight categories. There are probably more but eight seems like plenty. Care to participate? There will be no prize. Agreement on what was appropriate could not be reached.

As we enter the quadrennial US presidential election cycle often referred to as the Silly Season we know that things will definitely get worse before they get better.

Please Note: Candidate Names, categories, examples will be aggregated. Unless you specifically want to be named as a nominator, we will use the New York Times standard and consider every submission as being from an anonymous source. All nominations are due in to jel@e911.com, subject line 2018MVP, by close of business Friday, February 15, 2019.


“Thanks for your kind and sweet words. You made me tear up, more remembering the highly interesting and consequential conversations we had. I miss that too.” You were my mentor coach and still someone I can fondly call a friend. What most impressed me about you was, no matter how bad things got, that the person who maintains their integrity may not always win, but will never lose. You may never have said those words exactly, but that was the theme I learned in nearly every conversation.” - From a former client engaged some years ago in a decades long national struggle.

"Dear Jim, “…a powerful speaker, important author, inspiring teacher, and trusted advisor.” These are the words of introduction on your web page. For me, you have been all of these, and I aspire to all in my professional and personal life. Now, I know yet another…faithful angel. One would never know of your personal grief to see the decline of your life partner, in all ways, of 55 years. Precious words of wisdom continued to flow to all of us, value without bounds. I will observe one of your lessons that remains clear in my mind: “Think to time, write to time, speak to time.” Even now I comb this email for words unnecessary to my message. I cannot find them. They are all said. I shall write a note to Barbara, knowing she will clearly agree that in her life, she has had a faithful angel in you. May G-d bless you both on the path ahead." - From a dear friend and colleague of many years.