As a prospective MBA student, I was invited by McGill to sit in on one of their classes Tuesday night. The class was called “The Role of the CEO,” and Stephen Jarislowsky, the Canadian Warren Buffet, who is now well into his wiser years shared some of his more old-school thoughts on what it takes to run a business. With so much discussion on things like CEO compensation, affirmative action, and conflicts of interest, I realized that the ability to make ethical decisions is one of the most important functions of any business leader, and yet we are given a laughably minimal amount of education or opportunity to practice ethical development before we are faced with the big decisions.
Being unethical has always had its negative consequences, but our generation has become so aware of and overwhelmed by corrupt megacorporations and bureaucracies that we are on the brink of a major coup d’état. Please exercise your ethical muscles and make better decisions, or we will not buy your shit. May this week’s posts help you to do so. Here are three perspectives on the ethics of stealing to help you formulate, solidify, or challenge your ability to make good decisions.
This may get me in trouble. Have you ever noticed how much content is completely recycled from what someone else has written? Some people even write whole articles that are really nothing but two or three of other people’s articles stacked on top of each other. Granted, I credit my sources. But I certainly don’t ask them beforehand if I can use their material. And I definitely don’t pay them anything for their insight! Is my small act of driving a bit of traffic to their site worth the robbery, or am I one of the corrupt social media bloggers that Mark Schaefer talks about in this post? What if I tell you I also stole the title of this article from one of his previous blog posts?
Can you guess which of the world’s greatest CEO’s said this back in 1994? (Or which cubist pioneer artist said it originally?) Being an artist who frequently steals, it’s nice to have a big successful endorsement supporting your behaviour, but this notion translates into other industries. For this guy, technology is made better by those who also bring experience from way outside the industry. If our higher educational institutions don’t believe this, it becomes our job as individuals and workers to take responsibility and expand our knowledge by discovering, participating in, and learning from perfectly new experiences. (This is the truest goal of my series.)
Why are there so many crooks on Wall Street? How does the financial industry manage to devise new ways to scam us faster than the rate of 1,000 Nigerian princes? Dan Ariely explains a few of the environmental factors that contribute to making bad decisions. These are not excuses to behave badly. These are warnings to anyone in these environments to first open their eyes and then to prepare for a stronger wave of resistance to a decision to behave ethically.
Your turn. Have you ever been with a company where ethical development was institutionalized? Should there be a place on a CV or LinkedIn profile for ethical achievements? Am I a corrupt social media blogger, or is this the necessary stealing that Steve Jobs is talking about? Ever been in a dangerous ethical environment?
My name is Christopher Pineda and I am determined to change the world. I am the General Manager of a young theatre company and a constant collector of information. I want to identify the bigger pictures and find the truth in our society, because it’s the only way to understand the human spirit and innovate business into something that truly addresses what we need. Now welcoming suggestions.