Is personal responsibility, and therefore integrity, at worst, dead? Or, at best, heading the way of the dinosaur? Or, is it just me?
I think there’s a cliche that says something like … say what you mean and mean what you say. Is that really too difficult today? Is acting authentically and consistently, within our personal values, a thing of the past? Or, is it something that sounds good in theory but not possible practically?
Take, for example, a recent article in Compliance Week entitled “Wayward CFOs Often Coerced by CEOs.” I’m thrilled to know that CFOs, who are tempted to blur the lines, aren’t necessarily going down the wrong path because they, themselves, have something to gain personally. But how very sad that Finance Leaders would fall on their sword, and thus go against their own personal values of integrity and honesty, for a boss and in order to keep a job.
Years ago, I read a line in a book which said: “When in doubt, act like the Chairman would.” Is the “years ago” part telling?
The author goes on to say:
Leadership is a privilege and with it, come certain obligations, one of which is that leaders need to instill trust in people that they will do the right things, regardless of whether or not they are being watched.
Integrity. Personal responsibility.
A new report from the Quarterly Corporate Fraud Index Network produced by The Network and BDO Consulting, and posted by CFO.com, says reported fraud jumped in the first quarter of 2011 to a near all-time high.
Is this a result of the lack of integrity and personal responsibility?
As a grandmother (ha, you didn’t know I was that old did you?) I wonder … will personal responsibility and integrity be merely remembered as a “fad of the past” by the time my grandchildren are grown? Will they understand the consequences of always shifting the blame toward someone else rather than standing firm for what they know is right and true and which they value, or will that (a lack of personal responsibility and integrity) just be the new societal norm?
What is the legacy we are leaving for future generations? I know. Lots of questions and very little wisdom from this corner of the world today.