Next appointment

Florida’s governor doesn’t believe in vaccine mandates. So it wasn’t a surprise when he appointed a new chief medical officer who shares his beliefs.

When leaders make important appointments at the top of their organization, they are telling everyone where the organization is heading.

So the next time your CEO appoints a Chief Ethics & Compliance Officer for your company, pay attention. Was the new CECO an internal promotion or an external hire? How did the CEO describe the job in the official announcement? What were the CECO’s major accomplishments at her previous job? What did she promise to do in her first communication to employees? Can you tell if her focus is going to be on compliance, ethics, culture — or all of the above?

Some appointments bring peace of mind. Others don’t.

You just need to act accordingly.

Fake vaccination cards

Yesterday we saw yet another story of fake vaccination cards being sold.

In the early days, cards were sold in person for about $20. Now they are sold for as much as $200 on the internet.

With one vaccine now fully approved by the FDA, many employers are requiring employees to be vaccinated. It is safe to assume that some employees will attempt to circumvent this requirement by producing fake vaccination cards.

What should the discipline be in such cases? To find out, it helps to ask the question “Is this a breach of performance or a breach of trust?” A breach of performance is often easily remedied with training or a second chance. Not so for breaches of trust. In such cases, we need to ask ourselves “Can I trust this person again? Can I trust this person with the job I gave them? If they were willing to lie about this, what else could they be lying about? Am I allowing them to put others at risk?”

A breach of trust often leads to termination. Is your organization prepared to do so with fake vaccination card?

Has the pandemic caused stress fractures or muscle growth for your company?

Trauma can lead a person to suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome. Or it can trigger post-traumatic growth.

Companies, being made of people, can also experience both.

The pandemic has been traumatic for many companies. What was its effect on the company you work for? How has it responded to the trauma? Are you bracing for PTSD, or are you poised to emerge stronger?

These questions are important because they can reveal the current state of your compliance culture. If the pandemic has weakened your compliance health, now is the time to take action.

Being a helper

In the early days of the pandemic, a medical student working for a health literacy program noticed that many of her clients didn’t have access to easy-to-understand COVID information because they didn’t speak English.

So she reached out to fellow multilingual students and created 19 COVID fact sheets in 40 languages. These fact sheets have now been downloaded 250,000 times in more than 150 countries. Not bad for a working medical student, who surely has less free time than most of us.

When I read stories such as these, I wonder what else we could accomplish if we simply took ownership. There are so many needs in this world, if we only pay attention. A quick glance at our local newspaper could identify such a need. We could then find others willing to help. There are helpers everywhere.

Let’s be one of them.

Every vaccination counts

After reading how Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to vaccinations centers, I decided to do a little research.

It turns out that in exchange for getting a shot, you can get a Krispy Kreme donut (yum!), a Bud (but only for 3 more days), and a White Castle dessert (on a stick), among many other incentives.

(Yes, I does look like one could pack a few pounds after getting vaccinated.)

My own company has manufactured PPE, and is now offering space – a decommissioned airport runway, actually – as a drive-through vaccination site.

How could your company help people get vaccinated?


It had to happen sooner or later.

A man selling fake COVID-19 vaccination cards has been arrested in the US.

For $20, unvaccinated covidiots will soon be granted access to concert halls, cruise ships, sports stadiums and other public spaces by showing fake cards.

I rarely wish shame on others but I’m willing to make an exception here.

For the greater good

In 1956, Elvis got his polio vaccination during the Ed Sullivan Show to encourage teenagers to get vaccinated as well. The Show counted nearly 15M viewers in 1956.

More recently, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson posted his vaccination on his Instagram story. By the time I saw it, it had received over 3M likes.

You and I may not have the star power to reach millions of unvaccinated people. But we can still set a good example for the handful that look up to us.

Get vaccinated. For yourself, for those you love, for the greater good.

On permission

I met with a few relatives yesterday.

We hadn’t seen each other in over a year. We were all vaccinated. We met outdoors. Many of us were wearing masks.

Several times I heard one person ask another: “Can I hug you?”

I question that meant “I’ve missed you,” “You mean a lot to me,” “I’m so glad to see you,” “I haven’t hugged anyone is such a long time.”

A question that also meant “I’m not going to assume that you are OK with me hugging you.”

One relative picked up on that last meaning and reflected out loud “Perhaps we should have been asking this question all along.”

Rainy day fund

Everyone knows to have a rainy day fund.

Yet, few people have one, despite the fact that cars break down, roofs leak, and pandemics hit.

Today I listened to this story of a businessman and it reminded me of the responsibility businesses have to build rainy day funds. After 22 years in business, this man was unable to pay his business rent the first month of the pandemic. Since then, he has borrowed $130K to keep his business open and had to scrap his retirement plans.

A personal rainy day fund is a responsibility we have to protect our families. A business rainy day fund is a responsibility we have to protect our employees, suppliers and customers.

If you don’t have one, start one today. If you do have one, make sure it can cover one year of expenses.

It will rain again.

Ten months without breaking bread

There were three candy bowls on my office floor.

There were snacks in the kitchen and, occasionally, leftovers from a business lunch.

I often had lunch with colleagues in the cafeteria. Sometimes we went out to eat.

One Friday each month someone would bring breakfast treats for the whole floor. Once a year we had a holiday pot luck.

I’ve had meals at my boss’ home. I’ve had my team over for dinner at my house.

My best memories of business travels around the globe all have one thing in common: sharing some local fare with colleagues, everyone joking and laughing and smiling.

All this is gone now.

Food is a connector. It brings us together. It forces different conversations, revealing who we are and not simply what we do. We crave these connections. Breaking bread together is a tradition in all cultures. To be human is to eat together. From times immemorial.

We can’t fill this need with a Zoom meal. This craving will remain unfulfilled until the pandemic is over. It will affect the mental health of every employee to some degree.

Leaders must be mindful of this reality. They must find other ways to connect with their team. They must ask employees to follow social distancing rules, to wear a mask, to wash their hands and to get vaccinated.

May we all soon get back together and raise our glasses to good health.