Readers Respond

Readers Respond to Art’s Articles:

“Art: An excellent, articulate, and passionately-written article. It reminds me of the saying that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The full quote is from Lord Acton, who wrote: ‘Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely…’ I don’t agree that most great persons are always bad, as he suggests. But the last sentence ought to inform our considerations of modern governance: ‘There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it.’ In this regard, I believe he was saying that not even the Pope or the King is immune, and if/when they are corrupt, they should be exposed not excused of it. It is the same with an executive officer, no matter how prominent.”
Frank Feather
President & CEO, Geo-Strategies, Inc.
Toronto Canada

“Great read, Art: And a great call to action for all of us to accept responsibility at the local levels of our nation. We can’t keep subsidizing our individual moral standards by propping up giant (but porous) figureheads/entities and feigning dissent when we knew they were fallible in the first place. It makes hiding behind the tyranny of a system too easy of a short-term decision. A shared governance (in a nation or a business) works when each member commits to engagement and accepts the consequences of actions taken. Thank you for the thought-provoking piece!”
Sean Coughlin
Digital Media Producer/Marketer
Greater Boston Area

“Art: Nice article. Unfortunately human behavior all too often chooses to promote leaders that are considered ‘winners’ and we don’t really care how they win, as long as they get results and don’t hurt us individually. As much as we might light to think we want altruistic leaders, we choose leaders who are competitive. When those leaders then bend or break a rule to ‘win’ we really shouldn’t be surprised. As long as the masses continue to place emphasis on ‘winning’ we will continue to see history repeat itself over and over again.”
Jason Mefford
Leadership Council at Open Compliance & Ethics Group (OCEG)
Orange County, CA

“This is a wonderful article. I like the description of a ‘manic’ state in the corporation. I think families often do a better job on this when they are personally engaged but also open to input and influence from others. But it is a good cautionary tale that new value is emerging not just in family business, but all over the world as leaders see that their legacy will all be gone if they do not take action. Thanks for writing it, Art.”
Dennis Jaffe
Professor of Organizational Systems and Psychology, Saybrook University
San Francisco, CA

“Art: Thank you. I feel you set a great example in stepping forward to make a stand. It saddens me when I read the ‘top ten challenges identified’ in the survey did not mention the importance of needing purpose and shared values within a corporate culture. I hope you will continue your journey of raising the awareness of the issue of ‘ethics’ and to consider expanding into the importance of instilling character in our future leaders.”
Jerry McNabb
Principal, McNabb Advisors
Dallas/Fort Worth, TX

“Nice Art! Congratulations. I am teaching ethics again this coming quarter and I want my students to read your important article.”
Astrid Sheil, Ph.D.
Associate Chair, Communication Studies, Cal State University
San Bernardino, CA

“Art, I enjoyed your article immensely. This rampant hubris and lack of holistic, synergistic thinking (whether accidental or intentional) is quite troublesome. With regard to your final comment ‘responsibility should be everyone’s business’, I recommend responsible companies like Starbucks and Mars, Inc. The Mars Five Principles (Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom) appears to be a thoughtful plan, showing how not to falter and wind up like the next Countrywide, Penn State, Fannie Mae, etc. I say this with trepidation because principles on paper are only as good as the leaders who model these ideals for others.”
Nancy Noad, MPA
Development Officer, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease
Washington, DC

“The issue is serious. It penetrates each and every aspect of business and life – driven by the very basic characteristic of human greed. Tigers don’t kill to collect for the rainy day when they don’t find meat. They kill what they need. No more. How far are we going to go to make more, earn more, collect more? If we can make more through questionable means with limited or no risk of detection, unfortunately many of us will choose to make more. I hope people like you can help find implementable solutions.”
Ankur Mithal
Director at Mindstorm Solutions Pvt., Ltd.
Gurgaon, India

How can managers learn such ethics in practice? Our experience is that the everyday routines are hard to change. Some positive results we approached by the project “Side-switch” (in Switzerland and Germany). Managers work one week in a social institution and learn new insights of what social competence and responsibility does mean at the margins.”
Hans-Peter Meier-Dallach
Professor, ernannt von Berliner Senat für Bildung und Forschung bei IB Hochschule, Berlin
President at World Drives Association

“It is urgent that we all work to promote a cultural and corporate context of ethical values and behavior in the companies with which we consult, but also in the academic institutions in which we teach, the other organizations of which we are a part, and in our own families. Thanks for highlighting this key issue on which progress of our civilization depends.”
Florence Kaslow, Distinguished Visiting Professor of Psychology
Florida Institute of Technology
Melbourne, Florida