Walk The Talk

Lots of companies have wonderful PR material (usually disguised as mission statements, value propositions etc.) where they state how ethical they are, how they are driven by delivering real value to clients/ customers, and how they contribute to society in general. Just following the news daily indicates how so much of this stuff is simply posturing and how different the reality is.

In this war story, we will take you through a project where our absolute commitment to ethics and adding real value to clients (yes, we also say those good things!) was put to the test.

In terms of being a support function to management teams we are often asked by the CEO to assist in resolving difficult issues. However, when we get involved we find sometimes that it’s the CEO who is the real cause of the problem.

The ethical dilemma arose when we had totally satisfied ourselves that the CEO was causing a major problem in his company. This was confirmed in our daily review session we have at the end of every project day. The discussion turned to how we were going to handle it and the best and most empathetic way of breaking it to the CEO. One of the team shocked us by arguing that we shouldn’t tell the CEO, but should continue with the project as it would in any event add some value, we could use one on sessions with the CEO using his conduct and behaviour in a "hypothetical" scenario to attempt to change his behaviour, and finally that we would almost certainly lose the project given the personality of the CEO who had already indicated that he wanted us to do lots more work for his company.

We lost both the project and the team member who wanted us to lose our integrity.