Last year, JPMorgan Chase paid $15,600,000,000 (that is billion) to settle two different charges on ethics that were part of the cause of the 2008 financial meltdown and their complacent knowledge of the Bernard Madoff scandal. Both of these were ethical lapses and were at many levels of the corporation.
Remember Enron? People actually went to jail for their lack of ethics and rule breaking but this didn’t bring the entire country to it’s financial knees.
Developing an ethical culture and valuing results will mean less misconduct over time.
Having written standards and following the standards show employees that regardless of our personal demographic, the standards will be followed. If our policy is “no porn on the company computers” and a VP is doing it, he will be treated the same as a janitor. If he is fired, which most companies will say they do, the rest of the company thinks – we can trust this company.
Likewise, in a family run company, the family members will be held to the same standards. A true commitment means talking about ethics regularly. To maintain my enrolled agent license, each and every year, I must take 2 hours of ethics – a good reminder to behave ethically.
How do you instill an ethical culture in your business?