Shouldn’t we, as business people, be applying sound business ethics to the way we do business and steering clear of the gray areas? Shouldn’t we have a bar that’s higher than the minimum required of us legally? As a small business owner I too am against excessive regulation, but I am always curious to see what took us to the regulation. In Tom Brokaw’s book, “The Time of Our Lives” he quotes Indra Nooyi, CEO of Pepsi, who explained that “companies became simply instruments to make money, lots of money, as swiftly as possible.” “We live in an age when trust has to be earned, not demanded. Institutions, public and private, now relate to individuals in a wholly new way”. “Today, the public are the golden globe at the center of the system. We, politicians and corporations, encircle them, trying to gain their attention and win their trust.”
What brought this to mind was Congress having to pass a bill making insider trading illegal for Congress. Really??? REALLY??? With almost single digit approval ratings, wouldn’t we be thinking about passing legislation ensuring that ALL the same rules that apply to us that apply to everyone else, if we were Congress? That would include social security, healthcare, financial regulations, and most importantly, a responsibility to put the country first in all of our deliberations. Isn’t that what restoring trust is all about? Doing the right thing? And isn’t that true for corporations as well?
I’ve experienced much fraudulent activity as a consumer of late, and I wonder if we’ve lost the whole idea of “doing the right thing”. Who on the board asks that question as we’re debating important issues in the boardroom? Who asks during the discussion and before the vote, is this the right thing to do? Isn’t that where our moral compass is and not in meeting the bare minimum of regulatory requirements like Congress….. our leaders (?) is doing? Don’t we want to be leading the way with our actions, not listening to our lawyers tell us what the minimum is we have to do to “pass”. Isn’t that what Congress is doing and getting near single digit approvals? Don’t we want to have a reputation for serving our customers, employees and shareholders to the best of our ability in doing the right thing? Isn’t that what leadership is all about and not meeting the minimum requirement, then finding the loophole to fit through. Wouldn’t regulations be increasingly unnecessary if that was the guiding light we followed.