I greet the college basketball championships this year with mixed emotions. As a hoop fan, this is a highlight of the calendar. As an ethics and compliance professional considering the current pay-for-recruitment scandal at several leading schools, well, what a mess.
But from both perspectives, Tom Fox and I have decided to mark the beginning of “March Madness” with a reprise of our live web-chat we call, “Ethics Madness.”
6, starting at 2 PM (Eastern) and going until 6:00 (at least). Join me, Tom Fox, Matt Kelly, and other guests as we discuss current issues in compliance and ethics, including compliance in sports and education, and sports as a metaphor and lesson for corporate C&E efforts, as well as the cultural messages about ethics and compliance that a typical NCAA viewer is receiving – in the ads, during the games, and real-time in social media.
We might talk about other E&C topics. And judging from last time, we’ll talk a little hoop, too!
And throughout the tournament, let’s all resolve to share our E&C thoughts by using the hashtag #EthicsMadness.
Face it, you want a way to watch the First Round afternoon games without feeling guilty. So here it is! (But follow us even if you’re stuck at your desk – I’ll be sure to pass along the key scores along with our pithy, pointed, and (I hope) useful thoughts.)
Love Compliance? Love #MarchMadness? Then here’s a fun way to combine the two!
LeadGood is hosting a “live blog” panel discussion on our LeadGood Live! page on Friday afternoon (not coincidentally, during the First Round NCAA Men’s Basketball games). Join me, Tom Fox, Leona Lewis, and other compliance and ethics leaders as we discuss…
Compliance in Sports – there’s a lot to talk about, from FIFA to tennis, Penn State to UNC, concussions to doping, the brackets etc.
Sports as a lesson and metaphor for corporate C&E efforts – the influence of money, cultural framing, teamwork, coaching, etc.
The cultural messages about ethics and compliance that a typical NCAA viewer is receiving – in the ads, during the games, and real-time in social media. (Remember the Coke ad that advocated lying to your boss? Or this year’s Super Bowl ad that touted the Prius as the care of choice for bank robbers?)
And yes, we might talk a little Hoop, too!
You can follow our discussion — and add your own comments! We’ll start at 2:00 PM and keep it going until at least 6 PM Eastern, and very likely until the afternoon games wrap up a little later.
And throughout the tournament, let’s all resolve to share our E&C thoughts by using the hashtag #EthicsMadness.
Face it, you’ve always wanted a way to watch the First Round afternoon games without feeling guilty. So here it is! (But follow us even if you’re stuck at your desk – I’ll be sure to pass along the key scores along with our pithy, pointed, and (I hope) useful thoughts.)
If you are watching the “Big Game” Sunday Feb. 7 (or the “Big Pre-Game” or the “Big Post-Game”), and a pithy thought pops into your head about ethics, or compliance, or business leadership and culture, please join me in using the hashtag #SB50Ethics. And if you just want to see what E&C oriented folk are thinking, then follow #SB50Ethics.
No pressure. It’s not a live-blog, something happening every 30 seconds, must write thing. Just thought I’d suggest a single social media home for our collective musings, however casually they are offered.
Will we really be thinking about ethics between the wings, beer, and commercials, you ask? Oh, yeah.
An advance workshop on drafting and negotiating contracts with compliance provisions — this would take the next step from the compliance contract panels that Amy and I did at the CEI in 2014 and this year.
“The Good Reasons Why People Do the Wrong Things” — Exploring the frequent instances when people follow their own ethical code and choose to break rules. (Think about teachers or nurses following their deep ethic of care.) The lesson: it’s not just greed or “bad guys” that lead to misconduct.
“Fostering a Speak-Up Culture: What Really Works” — Now more than ever, it’s critical for compliance professionals and business leaders to focus on what, objectively, has worked best to foster and maintain a culture in which people report suspected wrongdoing freely, constructively, and internally. So how do you make that happen?
I wish they’d let us do all three of them! So tell me, what’s your favorite?
In honor of the end of baseball season, I am recalling (and revising) some thoughts I originally posted last fall— and adding some pictures. Hope this takes you out to the ball game.
By Wednesday, the Major League season will come to its last glorious inning. And this afternoon, my son will catch the last game of the year for his Babe Ruth League team, ending a long string of seasons and games that began in March. So
Doing what I do, every time I leave the clean white chalk powder on the rusty matte of the base paths, I think to myself, “Even here, even now, I’m leading compliance!”
Does that make me Mister Baseball Buzzkill? Yeah, maybe so. But I think there is a parallel between the Compliance Officer and the Groundskeeper.
I mean, compliance is in large part about winning while staying inside the lines. And for an organization, who paints those lines?
Government? Regulators? An industry Code? Your Code of Conduct? Sure, but not precisely.The Rules of the Game may specify that the foul line extends from the first base line and the third base line. But it is still the compliance team that has to paint the lines precisely.
To push my metaphor way too far, compliance leadership has to decide the slope of the base path, and the tendency of slow grounders to stay in bounds or to roll foul. And to abandon the realism of my metaphor, we have to decide whether to paint the lines on our own field with a little cushion, so minor fouls don’t really cross the legal line… or paint the lines wide, to give our organizations a bigger playing field but also a bigger risk of stumbling out of bounds.
But most of all, as compliance leaders we have to do the painting. The Rules may say where the foul line should be, but the players would be left to just guess what’s foul and what’s not if we didn’t draw an actual line that they can see while they are playing. Our teammates rely on our education programs, our communications, and our internal enforcement to know where the dividing line falls.
Frankly, I can think of times when my base lines left something to be desired, straightness-wise. The umpire might have checked to see how I drew the line (or he might not have), but once play began, he relied on the white line I put down in chalk. It’s a big responsibility.
So you can picture me standing out there today, superimposing all these philosophical musings about work onto our national pastime. Then you can picture my son pointedly reminding me that the game is about to begin, and that I need to get my carcass off the field, and help coach my players to success.
For any fellow Princeton Alumni who are planning on attending Reunions this year… I am honored to be the Moderator for a panel discussion being sponsored by my class, the most excellent Class of 1980. Come by next Friday and listen in!
Around the World in ‘80 Ways: ‐
Stories of Globalization in the Age of Digitization
3:45 PM to 5:00 PM
Friday, May 29, 2015
Many members of the Princeton Class of 1980, in the course of living their lives, experienced first-hand the onset of a new degree of global living, working, and interdependency – much of it fueled by the Internet and digital technology. Trend-spotters called it “globalization,” but we were just following our careers, our instincts, and our hearts… and lived it.
We now invite all at Reunions to join us, as our classmates share stories of living and working abroad, in both private roles and “in the service of all Nations,” and share what opportunities they think lie ahead.
Panelists will include:
Anne‐Marie Slaughter ‘80, President and CEO, New America.
Robert Silverman ‘80, President and Chairman of the Board of Governors of the American Foreign Service Association.
Jeffrey H. Levenson ‘80, Founder and President, Levenson Eye Associates; Lead physician, Surgical Eye Expeditions, International.
Sharon Keld ‘80, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer; Board Member, National Peace Corps Association.
Stephen Hughes ‘80, Owner and General Manager, Onda Positiva, S.L., Madrid, Spain.
Marc Fisher ‘80, Senior Editor, former Central Europe Bureau Chief, The Washington Post.
Tibor Baranski, Jr. ’80, Counsel, Jun He Law Offices, Beijing, China; Member, Board of Trustees, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry – China.
Last Sunday, three of us compliance lawyer types had ourselves a virtual Oscar Party.
We three – Amy Hutchens (CCEP), President of CLEAResources; Kirsten Hotchkiss, now an employment and employee relations counsel with American Express Global Business Travel, and I (President of LeadGood, and also CCEP)– conducted an experiment with the following hypothesis:
IF the leaders of an institution, through their every message and action, set a “tone from the top” that either fosters or undermines the ethical culture of that institution; and
IF the culture of our nation – an institution we all share — is in part determined in those rare events that a large proportion of the population share in-common;
THEN an ethical “tone at the top” will be set by the cultural stars and leaders who speak and act during the massively multi-person annual event that is the Academy Awards.
Amy, Kirsten and I made that hypothesis the topic of a “live-blog” that we conducted Oscar-night on my company’s website. We watched the Oscars along with everyone else, and reacted in real time to those things that compliance lawyer types notice. (You can still read our stream of observations and musings here.)
Our hunch going in was that we might hear a few moments of ethical leadership, and maybe a few ethical gaffes, among the presenters, red carpets types, and the commercials of the Oscar telecast. To our surprise, we (along with the rest of the billion-plus viewership) wound up hearing an almost continual series of stars speaking out forcefully and fervently for noble causes that should command our attention. Just in the acceptance speeches, we heard advocacy for:
Gender Equality (Best Supporting Actress)
A.L.S. (Best Actor)
Alzheimer’s (Best Actress)
Whistleblowers (Best Documentary Feature)
Teen Suicide Prevention (Best Adapted Screenplay)
Returning Veterans (Sound Editing)
Civil Rights (Best Song)
Immigrants’ Rights (Best Picture)
Calling Your Parents (Best Supporting Actor)
As the New York Times put it, “Oscar nights usually do have their share of political posturing, but this was a particularly passionate evening. “
But there was a tone from the top, and it was this: “Speak Out for your Beliefs! Take Action to Help Others!” It was Corporate Social Responsibility Night at the Movies. Hooray for Hollywood!
Seriously, Oscars 2015 was a big-time, highly public, star-studded endorsement of a speak-up culture. (Even the Lego Movie’s brainwash-the-citizenry song, “Everything is Awesome,” lost.)
But on reflection, I wonder if all those appeals blurred together, and if any of them still stand out in the memory of most viewers. It was almost as if the message was, “Everyone has their own cause – so any cause is right.” Having heard so many appeals for action, viewers may have felt ironically unmotivated to action.
So I ask: Was the experience of the Oscar viewer on Sunday that different than the experience of our employees, in this time of the multi-modal, socially savvy, short-message-oriented, compliance communications program? I happen to love the practice of delivering compliance information in shorter bursts at higher frequencies, of “social learning streams” and the like. If we’re not careful, though, does it sound like this?
Don’t discriminate! (HR).
Wear safety glasses! (EH&S).
No gratuities! (Commercial Compliance).
Donate! (United Way).
Protect our Trade Secrets! (General Counsel).
Protect our Company Data! (IT).
Follow our Code! (CCO).
If our quick compliance hits seem a blur, then the Oscars may have offered two lessons for our programs.
First, Focus. Too many emotional appeals may leave me numb. Too many instructions at once may strain my memory. If everything is important, nothing is important. (Maybe those programs that stress a theme-of-the-month have the right idea.)
Second: don’t just send a message; tell the story. “Still Alice” had a compelling message about Alzheimer’s, and “American Sniper” about veterans and war, because of the power of their storytelling. The movies had the time, and craft, and humanity to make a social issue real. By contrast, the short plugs in the acceptance speeches at the Oscars were only reminders: they returned an issue to the front of mind, and reminded us of something we care about. That is an excellent thing to do in the short nuggets we have added to our compliance messaging.
But the power behind those messages originates in good old-fashioned storytelling. And even in this social age, it is the story that provides the inspiration to act.
Hooray for Hollywood!
P.S. Since our little experiment worked, we’ve resolved to do our “Ethics and the Oscars” live blog again next year. Hope you can join us!
(Note: A version of this post also appears on LinkedIn.)
Ethics and the OSCARS: A Live-Blog Event – Feb. 22, 2015
While watching the 2015 Oscars broadcast, three of us compliance lawyer types live-blogged on the following topic… and associated issues:
Are the billion or so viewers of the Oscars hearing messages that foster a culture of ethics, or messages that erode that culture? Are the cultural leaders we see and hear tonight being ethical leaders? (Plus whatever else strikes us.)
We had a very good time. The full transcript of our discussion is below.
For my follow-up post on two lessons I learned about ethics while watching the Oscars, click here.
For more information about this live-blog, and the bloggers offering their comments, click here.
Our focus tonight, as we watch the OSCARs, is on the little messages in the speeches, the commentary, on the carpet, and in the commercials – those little messages that can reinforce or dismantle an ethical culture.
There are theaters full of other, more learned critics of the movies. But those little messages are among the canvases on which we work.
Each of the three of us blogging tonight are lawyers; we’ve been in-house corporate counsel and compliance leaders; and we each have (or have had) our own private practice in ethics and legal compliance. In short, we like to help organizations and their employees do the right thing – and that begins with ethical leadership.
Amy Hutchens, JD, CCEP: Amy is President of CLEAResources. Previously, Amy was General Counsel of Watermark Risk Management International, a Special Assistant United States Attorney and an Air Force Judge Advocate. www.linkedin.com/in/amyhutchens
Kirsten Hotchkiss, Esq: Kirsten is Vice-President of Global Employee Relations at American Express Global Business Travel, and the founder of HotchkissLaw, LLC. Previously, she held multiple legal and compliance leadership positions for Wyndham Worldwide. www.linkedin.com/in/kirstenhotchkiss
Jason B, Meyer, JD, CCEP: Jason is President of LeadGood, LLC (which is hosting this live blog). For more than 20 years, he’s helped lead companies involved in legal and compliance education; he’s also a former Chief Legal Officer and Compliance Officer.
Our views are, as they say, our own, and not necessarily those of our respective employers and organizations.