Tools to report anonymously and a commitment not to retaliate.
Of course, a website is not the whole story. A well written code, clear policies and a helpline didn’t stop the worse corporate scandals we experienced in this century. Apple itself is not without blemish. But putting your efforts out there for the world to see is always a step in the right direction. What Apple did with this new site is a good model for anyone to follow.
James Altucher promotes the practice of coming up with 10 ideas every day. You can read his ultimate guide here.
Imagine coming up with 10 ideas every day for your ethics and compliance program. That’s a few thousand ideas every year.
If only one in ten is a good idea, that is still a few hundred good ideas every year. If only one in ten is successful in your company, that’s a few dozen successes each year. Two to three times a month, you knock it out of the park!
Here are some prompts:
10 sections of the Code of Conduct to update with examples
10 policies to simplify
10 topics to add to the new employee training
10 “Did you know?” short posts to publish on Yammer
10 companies to benchmark with
10 E&C professionals to invite to the next Ethics Day
10 features to include in an E&C app for employees
10 ways to partner with HR
10 industry events to present at
10 vendors to invite in for a demo
That’s a 100 ideas right there, in only two weeks.
Ten of those ideas might be good. One might succeed.
Every. Two. Weeks.
I came across this concept of “idea machine” this morning when reading the James Altucher chapter in Tim Ferriss’ book titled Tools of Titans. I created my first list of 10 ideas this morning. Writing this post was one of the 10 ideas.
Conceived in 1931, the idea linked near-misses to serious injuries, demonstrating that you can reduce serious injuries by addressing the risk of small accidents. It revolutionized how people think about safety.
There is a similar pyramid for ideas. The number at the base varies for each person but my pyramid looks like this:
In other words, I need about 10 bad ideas before I have a really good one.
Do your employees feel safe to have bad ideas?
For employers, both pyramids argue in favor of safety — one physical, the other psychological.
Some industries are more deserving of regulations than others.
Among those are industries related to shelter. When it comes to the shelter we provide for our family, some business practices should not be allowed.
I worked in the mortgage industry in the late 1990s. I saw borrowers sign up for balloon mortgages to buy homes they could not afford. Many of them barely spoke English and had little education. It was safe to assume that many would default on — and be surprised by — the $50,000 balloon payment that was due 10 years later. The 2008 mortgage crisis didn’t really come as a shock to me.
The current power crisis in Texas highlights a similar problem. Homeowners have been lured into “low-cost” electricity contracts where the price of the electricity is not fixed but tied to the demand. People who paid $250 in January for an entire month of electricity were paying $1,000 a day last week when demand peaked. Many admit that they didn’t fully understand the contract they signed. Like the balloon mortgagees, they were distracted by the low cost of entry.
In an ideal world, a sales person would say “Listen. We have this electricity contract that is really attractive at first. But it forces you to save a ton of money on the side, for when you’ll have to make a huge, unexpected payment. Most people can’t save that much and they regret their decision. So, quite frankly, I strongly recommend you don’t buy this product.” In fact, in a really ideal world, companies would decide to offer these products only to sophisticated customers with large liquidities, not to the average Joe.
Until we live in that world, regulations are in order.
I suspect that every large organization has a few awesome giants.
For me, awesome giants are the executives respected by all for their intelligence, for their gravitas, and for their ability to cut through the noise. No problem is too large for them. They see the way out and they show you the path — not the easy one but the necessary one. They demand of you more than you think yourself capable of and set you up for success. They do not lead with fear, but their awesomeness can be intimidating.
One such giant, now retired from my company, is Paul Beach. Paul just launched his own blog to share his thoughts on government, politics, public policy, corporate compliance and ethics. I am so pleased to be once again in a position to receive, from afar, Paul’s wisdom. I will look forward to each new post.
It’s OK for me to decide not to pack a warm sweater because it doesn’t fit in my carry-on luggage. I just need to be willing to buy one at my destination if it gets too cold.
It’s OK for Texas to decide not to link its power grid to neighboring states because it doesn’t want to be subject to federal jurisdiction. It just needs to have a plan for the occasional snow storm.
No one has unlimited resources. If you look at your company’s risk assessment, you’ve probably decided not to address certain risks right now. That’s fine, but you need to have a plan for when the risk shows up sooner than expected.
In 2011, Casey Neistat got a ticket in New York City for riding his bike outside of the bike lane.
It was somewhat frustrating to him because the bike lanes are often obstructed in NYC. His frustration went up a notch when, after paying his $50 ticket, he found out that his “infraction” wasn’t even illegal.
So he made this video, filming himself crashing in all kinds of bike lane obstructions — from big orange traffic drums to garbage bins to… wait for it… police cars. The video had five million views on YouTube on its first day. A day or so later, the Mayor had to take questions from journalists about the City’s bike lanes.
I am not recommending that you make a viral video the next time you face an unfair situation at work. But I am suggesting that we all have more influence than we think we have.
Recognizing this influence is the first step. Overcoming our fear to use it is the second.
I recently read a book that destroyed my views on a divisive topic.
I did not join the “other side”. I didn’t necessarily leave “my team.” But I gained a new perspective and a new respect for a group that I had comfortably assumed was wrong. It was a comfortable assumption because everyone around me shared it.
I wonder how many other strong-held beliefs could be similarly shattered if I simply exposed myself to an intelligent and rational opposing viewpoint?
Grasping an idea points your attention in one direction. Wisdom makes you look both ways.