Avoiding the Patterns, Problems and Human Errors that Occur in the Rush to GreatnessWednesday Wisdom # 7 There are frequently recurring mistake patt

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Avoiding the Patterns, Problems and Human Errors that Occur in the Rush to Greatness

Wednesday Wisdom # 7

There are frequently recurring mistake patterns among businesses of all kinds, made in the name of building a great organization or product.
It is a fact that America and American businesses build more great companies than anywhere else on the planet. However, at the same time, these great companies turn out to have serious flaws and some don’t survive. Most do, but they must take a step backward and they must become a good company, before they can become a truly great company.

Patterns of Unethical Behaviors That Lead to Trouble

Besides the more obvious mistakes that lead to unethical behaviors, there are other, less apparent, more insidious kinds of unethical behaviors that can lead to trouble. Sometimes these less obvious behaviors are the precursors to illegal behavior. If you can identify these behaviors in your organization, there is almost always trouble ahead, including criminal behavior.

This is serious business. If your assessment reveals even one of these behaviors it is an important matter and needs to be promptly dealt with and corrected. If you find two or more of these behaviors in your organization, this is a very serious matter and you are going to need specially trained legal help to resolve these issues. Some of them may be irreparable or reportable.
Remember, each of these circumstances is known as a predicate behavior to the possibility of crime. Number six, “Emphasis on ‘doing whatever it takes’ to achieve appropriate business and financial goals,” in our experience, is one of the most common precursors to inappropriate, unethical, and perhaps even illegal behavior. They happen casually; a senior executive or boss turns to someone and says, “We’ve got to do whatever it takes to get this done.” Things get worse quickly.

Working with troubled companies, digging down to find out how things get started, these words and misbehaviors are most common in my experience. Pay attention. This list actually comes from the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

1. Lax control: A manager’s careless enforcement, education about, and monitoring of ethical standards.
2. Lack of tough, appropriate centralized compliance within each area of the company.
3. No one charged with responsibility of teaching, enforcing, and disciplining in cases where ethical breaches occur.
4. Leadership that allows supervisors to overlook bad behavior.
5. Leadership that allows employees to experiment with methods and tactics outside established guidelines.
6. Emphasis on “doing whatever it takes” to achieve appropriate business and financial goals.
7. Managers and supervisors who minimize the importance of oversight and compliance processes.
8. Structuring incentives in such a way that they can compromise the ethical behavior of people, the quality of the products and services we deliver, and allow shortcuts to be taken for a variety of obviously questionable reasons.
9. Avoiding confrontation with managers who chronically misbehave or chronically overlook misbehavior.
10. The tendency to operate “on the edge,” always pushing for more than is appropriate.
11. Management that ignores the signs of and doesn’t question rogue behavior.
12. Management tolerating the inappropriate behavior or management by individuals who are “critical to the organization’s mission.” These are the folks who are the super sales people, the high achievers who are allowed to break the rules to maintain the altitude of their performance.
13. Belittling or humiliating those who suggest or seek ethical standards.
14. Dismissing or destroying the careers of employees who report bad or outright wrong behavior.
15. Demeaning the internal or external credibility of those who blow the whistle, those who report or bring management’s attention to lapses in ethics.

Remember, if even one of these behaviors is present in your company, it is likely that one or more other behaviors may also be present. Act quickly, get competent legal counsel, and correct these behaviors.

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