Accountability, Responsibility, & Finger Pointing- Personal Ethics

A friend of mine said recently that an Enron type scandal might be a catalyst for new training opportunities in personal ethics.

Does the recent collapse of MF Global qualify for some further analysis and consideration in the training area?

Jon Corzine has an impressive background. He was the former co-CEO of Goldman Sachs, United States Senator, and Governor of New Jersey. What kind of people testify that they were “stunned to learn that $1.2 billion of their customer’s money was missing.”

This lack of accountability, lack of responsiblity, and apparent finger pointing all points to a lack of personal ethics. We expect more from an experienced business leader like this and MF’s customers deserve immediate answers.

Where were the supposed iron clad systems, procedures, and risk controls that went haywire and failed again?

Corzine will make yet another appearance in front of The House Financial Services subcommittee who is charged with examining MF Global’s collapse. I predict we will discover nothing new from his testimony.

We do know that the former Chief Risk Officer, Michael Roseman, left his position after clashing with Corzine over the firm’s purchase of European sovereign debt. He was replaced by Michael Stockman who apparently had less authority to question the very trades being placed by MF Global and the financial implications to the firm.

It all smells like one great picture of fraud with nobody knowing anything and finger pointing everywhere.

Money, arrogance, greed, and ambition tends to have an adverse effect on our judgment and the personal ethics we have.

Rarely do we see our business leaders step up to the plate and honestly admit their shortcomings and mistakes. Will anything be different from Jon Corzine or any of his former employees this go around?

Investigators will try to find where $1.2 billion went, but likely will come up well short assuming there is any money left.

I know personally about fraud having illegally acquired computer parts from a major international computer networking company ten years ago. At first, I pointed the fingers and refused to be accountable or responsible in any way.

My personal ethics strayed from my core big time. The fraud I helped orchestrate totalled $489,000 and this is a small pitance when compared to the MF Global collapse.

Nonetheless, stealing is stealing regardless of the dollar amounts.

People need to be punished for committing fraud, and apologies don’t go far enough. I served almost eleven months in a federal prison and a halfway house separated from my family. I pay monthly restitution back to the victim.

We need to teach our kids about money, values, and personal ethics. This is a very high priority in our homes and in our schools.

We should remember John Houseman’s famous saying, “They make money the old fashioned way……they earn it.”

It’s entirely acceptable to make mistakes and sincerely apologize for one’s actions. It is not acceptable to abuse a position of power and authority that is based on self-interest, greed, arrogance, and throwing others under the bus.

We can only hope that the leaders and managers of MF Global come clean and tell the truth.

The only way this happens is by way of their personal ethics or what is left of them.

Personal ethics comes to us from our morals, principles, and values. I believe that training and a daily commitment to upholding who we are, what we stand for, and why we act is paramount to good behavior and a quality life.




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