Carroll School Presentation 9-21

Ethics, Integrity, Trust
Bruce Blessington
Chairman - Flight Landata, Inc.
Former CEO - Ferraris Group
Director - Seabrook International.
Member, Board of Advisors – Boston Private Bank
Certified Director- National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD)
Member- Institute of Directors - London
Why bother with this stuff?
• Adherence to ethical standards is an indivisible part of
a business organization’s responsibility to all
stakeholders and ultimately influences its survival.
• A counter weight is needed to the huge emphasis
placed on individual performance in MBA programs
and in organizations. The “what’s in for me syndrome”.
• Better – “What’s in it for us.”
Teaching Ethics
• Difficult task after character is formed by experience.
• Provide principles (“rules of engagement”).
General principles
Recognizing conflicts of interest
Business cultures that promote integrity
Decision making concepts (“the harder right”).
General Principles
• Organizations need to internalize their values and be
ready to live up to them even when it’s very costly.
• Just because its “legal” or socially acceptable doesn’t
mean its ethical.
• “Going along to get along” is a crisis, a crisis of
agreement! Boards are highly susceptible. Courage
General Principles (cont’d)
• Organizations need to continuously reinforce their
ethical standards, top down, formally and informally, by
discussion and by example.
• People and organizations don’t become bad all at once.
• Take no such action, that if you were later called to
testify about it under oath, you would be faced with the
stark choice of:
a) Appearing foolish, venial, criminal or
b) Committing perjury to avoid a.).
Conflicts of Interest, Culture and Decision Making
• Conflicts of Interest
– Identify, Disclose, Insulate
• Culture
– Intense focus on short term results creates an antiethical environment.
• Decision making
– The “Harder Right” – the decision that most positively
effects the widest possible circle of people sometimes
involving personal sacrifice by an individual.1
1. The West Point Way of Leadership – L. R. Donnithorne
Building Trust
• Consistency counts!
• It’s essential to engage in principled behaviors:
Respect for others
Clear communication of corporate goals
Telling the truth
• These behaviors will see you through turbulent times
especially when you have to make tough decisions.
Real Life Ethical Dilemmas
• The Dodgy Directors
• The Felon in the Payroll Department.
• The Medical Nightmare.
“A life lived without a strong moral, ethical code is not a life worth living.”
Larry R. Donnithorne Col. USA (Ret.)

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