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Rock in the pond ethics - Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics

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<strong>Compliance</strong> & <strong>Ethics</strong>January/February2012Pr<strong>of</strong>essionala publication <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> society <strong>of</strong> corporate compliance <strong>and</strong> <strong>ethics</strong>www.corporatecompliance.orgMeetVernitaHaynesSCCE <strong>and</strong> HCCA<strong>in</strong>terview <strong>the</strong>ir 10,000thmember: Vernita Haynes,<strong>Compliance</strong> & PrivacyAnalyst for <strong>the</strong> University<strong>of</strong> Virg<strong>in</strong>ia Health SystemSee page 14SCCE & HCCA reach 10,000th member20Why risk it?The motivations <strong>of</strong><strong>the</strong> whistleblowerMarlowe Doman26<strong>Rock</strong> <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>pond</strong><strong>ethics</strong>Frank C. Bucaro28The simplestpossible code<strong>of</strong> conduct foremployeesAlex<strong>and</strong>re da Cunha Serpa35An ethicalcorporate culturegoes beyond<strong>the</strong> codeDawn LomerThis article, published <strong>in</strong> <strong>Compliance</strong> & <strong>Ethics</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essional, appears here with permission from <strong>the</strong> <strong>Society</strong> <strong>of</strong> <strong>Corporate</strong> <strong>Compliance</strong> & <strong>Ethics</strong>. Call SCCE at +1 952 277-4977 or 888/277-4977 with repr<strong>in</strong>t requests.


Featureby Frank C. Bucaro<strong>Rock</strong> <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> <strong>pond</strong> <strong>ethics</strong>»»Don’t let emotions dictate your behavior or decisions»»Always consider <strong>the</strong> “price to pay” before mak<strong>in</strong>g a decision»»Discernment is <strong>the</strong> key to effective decision mak<strong>in</strong>g»»Your values are <strong>the</strong> basis for decisions: know what <strong>the</strong>y are»»Be ready to take responsibility for un<strong>in</strong>tended consequences after <strong>the</strong> decision has been made<strong>Compliance</strong> & <strong>Ethics</strong> Pr<strong>of</strong>essional January/February 2012BucaroOver <strong>the</strong> years as an <strong>ethics</strong> expert<strong>and</strong> speaker, I have tried to f<strong>in</strong>d ananalogy that would help my clientsunderst<strong>and</strong> <strong>the</strong> importance <strong>of</strong> discernmentbefore mak<strong>in</strong>g those tough decisions. Itwas while watch<strong>in</strong>g some kids throw rocks<strong>in</strong> a <strong>pond</strong> that I f<strong>in</strong>ally came to arealization.Decision mak<strong>in</strong>g is like throw<strong>in</strong>ga rock <strong>in</strong> a <strong>pond</strong>. No matterhow big or small <strong>the</strong> rock is, wateris displaced. Likewise, no matterhow “big” or “small” <strong>the</strong> decisionis, people are affected. The keyquestion here is: When is <strong>the</strong> time to th<strong>in</strong>kabout those “ripples”—after you’ve thrown<strong>the</strong> rock, or while it is still <strong>in</strong> your h<strong>and</strong>s?(For more on <strong>the</strong> decision-mak<strong>in</strong>g process, seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decision_mak<strong>in</strong>g.)Haven’t we all been <strong>in</strong> <strong>the</strong> position wherea decision needed to be made <strong>and</strong> we thoughtabout it, <strong>and</strong> thought that we had all our basescovered? And after mak<strong>in</strong>g <strong>the</strong> decision, <strong>the</strong>rewere ripples (i.e., consequences) that appearedthat we didn’t even th<strong>in</strong>k <strong>of</strong>, but now we’reaccountable for?Ano<strong>the</strong>r reality is if <strong>the</strong> rock is big enough<strong>and</strong> you throw it, it may splash up, back onyou. Hasn’t this been <strong>the</strong> story <strong>of</strong> <strong>the</strong> recession?Company executives <strong>in</strong> many different<strong>in</strong>dustries made decisions that have adverselyaffected <strong>the</strong> entire f<strong>in</strong>ancial world, especially<strong>the</strong> 14 million unemployed <strong>in</strong> this country.There are a few lessons here.1. When a decision needs to be made, hold<strong>the</strong> rock, hold, hold, hold, until you arecerta<strong>in</strong> that··you know what <strong>the</strong> obvious ripples are;<strong>and</strong>··you can <strong>and</strong> will deal with any unforeseenripples that occur based on youranalysis.2. Don’t let emotions dictate when to throw<strong>the</strong> rock. Ask trusted colleagues who canbe objective for <strong>the</strong>ir communal wisdomabout <strong>the</strong> situation. Reason must alwayscontrol emotions <strong>in</strong> decision mak<strong>in</strong>g.3. Sometimes you just need to put <strong>the</strong> rockdown <strong>and</strong> ga<strong>the</strong>r more <strong>in</strong>formation, etc.,before pick<strong>in</strong>g it up aga<strong>in</strong> for a toss. Thedanger here is that you th<strong>in</strong>k too long onit, or it stays <strong>in</strong> committee too long to bereally effective.4. The bigger <strong>the</strong> rock (decision), <strong>the</strong> bigger<strong>the</strong> ripples (consequences). Go slowly,choose well! Ask yourself: What does mygut (i.e., conscience, <strong>in</strong>tuition, etc.) tell meabout this? Then do it.5. Know what your values are before a decisionis made, so as to m<strong>in</strong>imize any regretafter a decision is made or <strong>the</strong> rock is thrown.Will <strong>the</strong>se po<strong>in</strong>ts save you from mak<strong>in</strong>gtough decisions? No, but <strong>the</strong>y will decrease<strong>the</strong> odds <strong>of</strong> mak<strong>in</strong>g a seriously flawed or outrightwrong decision. It’s all about odds. Sowhat are you will<strong>in</strong>g to gamble? ✵Frank C. Bucaro (frank@frankbucaro.com or 630-483-2276) is Owner <strong>of</strong>Frank C. Bucaro <strong>and</strong> Associates, Inc. <strong>in</strong> Bartlett, Ill<strong>in</strong>ois.26 www.corporatecompliance.org +1 952 933 4977 or 888 277 4977

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