Is it “Bain” or about “doing the right thing”?

Who is asking “is this the right thing to do” when business or political decisions are made?  Big banks and mortgage lenders had bet against their own customers, taken chances comparable to playing the roulette table, and gambled away our future.  Certain Congressmen used insider information to bet against our country.  Isn’t that the issue today?  When egregious executive compensation is granted, while the workers receive little or no increases and reduced benefits, who is asking “is this the right thing to do?”  When a F-500 company sells a product on-line, verifies the sale and charges for it…EXCEPT they don’t actually offer what they’ve sold, who is asking “is this the right thing to do?”  Whether it’s Bernie Madoff or any other business engaged in deceitful practices, isn’t this the question we’re all asking, “is it the right thing to do?”  The question isn’t whether Bain operated within the law.  It most likely did, but did anyone ask, “is this the right thing to do?”  I think that’s the fundamental question we’re all asking today that’s made Bain the scapegoat.  What’s happened to our culture that the person asking “is this the right thing to do?” has been silenced.

I served on the board of PointBlank Solutions, Inc which was faced with extremely challenging times.  After every discussion and before a decision was made one of the board members would ask, “is this the right thing to do?”  It’s a wonderful question to ponder as we’re making decisions that impact a wide variety of people’s lives.

I grew up in a family owned business.  No decision was ever made solely to make money.  My dad had the opportunity to purchase the A+ location in town, but he would have had to tear down an old New England church in order to use the site.  The church is still standing.  His answer clearly was “no it’s not right to destroy a landmark, much-loved church so I can make more money.”  Is that what’s missing in our business and political environment today?  Has making money become the only consideration in making business decisions?  Have the ones who might have asked “is it the right thing to do?” been silenced?

I’m working through my third fraud experience in the past twelve months and I know how pervasive fraud is, which is a different issue from operating within the law but without regard for doing right.  I watch employees who need their jobs in order to support young families wrestle with doing things they know are wrong, but they need the job, especially in this environment.  I watch their actions take a nick out of their soul every day and I hope they can someday regain the ground they’ve lost.  They hate it!

Aren’t these the fundamental questions we’re asking about our own culture and the culture of the businesses we so want to succeed and grow and employ more people?

Is it the right thing to do?


About hopsuz

Experienced leader, both as CEO and as board Chair. Founder of the 25 year old The Hopgood Group, LLC. Co-author of the award winning "Board Leadership for the Company in Crisis". Consultant to companies large and small. Expertise in board evaluations and leadership challenges.
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