Avoid Ethics Traps

This post is part of series on ethics and success.

An ethics trap is a situation in which you are forced to choose between your ethics and an organizational goal. An example would be a bid situation in which the other bidders have inflated their experience, and your organization can make it to the next round by inflating its own experience. It is lie or lose – or so it seems. There are many ways to avoid such traps. For example, you document your real experience in a way that the other bidders can’t match. You can also message in your bid that others may be inflating their experience, e.g., by providing references across your claimed experience. You have to find a way to “spring” the ethics trap. A low ethics manager goes along with “market conditions” while a high ethics leader seeks to change them.

Medical Ethics

Several times each year, I give a seminar to roughly 50 doctors on medical ethics. What surprises me is that what medical ethics experts write about has little to do with the ethical issues doctors face on a day-to-day basis. Most medical ethics issues arise not because of new technologies or strange circumstances. They arise because we often surrender to the judgment of those closest to the situation to committees, such as the ubiquitous medical ethics committee. But there is no evidence at all that these committees make better decisions than the people directly affected. The question is often not what is the right thing to do but who should decide what is the right thing to do.

Compliance Celebration

About 19 years ago we created an annual celebration of what is bright and new in compliance called the Best Compliance Practices Forum @ bestcompliancepractices.com. This year, the Forum is being held on October 20 and 21 in the Washington DC metro area and it will be the best Forum in ten years based on the incredible faculty and best practices to be recognized. It is amazing to see the innovations in compliance that are presented each year. Please join us.

Healthcare Reform

I am often asked what ethical questions are posed by healthcare reform. Like healthcare reform itself, this is an very complex issue about which confusion abounds. For example, healthcare reform extends healthcare coverage to more individuals. But it does so in part by cutting Medicare. Is this right? Are we financing our social goals on the backs of seniors? Healthcare reform also tries to push the costs of Medicare down through a program called the Medicare Shared Savings Program. I can’t explain the whole thing here but the basic idea is that Medicare rewards you if you drive down the costs for a given patient population while maintaining or improving quality. This sounds like a wonderfully noble idea Read the rest of this entry »

Influence with Ethics

I recently had a chance to do a webinar for a company called Soundview. Soundview is famous for its its Executive Book Summaries.

The topic is how to influence people with ethics. The key theme is that most books and talks on influence teach you how to manipulate people. Manipulating people has a “rebound effect” when people realize that they have been manipulated. When you influence with ethics, there is no rebound effect. In fact, when you influence someone with ethics, you are building a foundation for your future efforts to influence them. So the webinar definitely talks about how to become an effective source of influence, but it emphasizes the advantages of taking an ethical approach to influence.

You can attend the webinar online at http://tinyurl.com/o7yy9fp.

Optimism for Ethics

I recently had the opportunity to speak to a group of students and faculty at Boston University’s Kilichand Honors Program. I have done so many radio programs where the host asks me what is wrong with today’s young people that I wasn’t expecting much. My plan was to cover the main points in Make an Ethical Difference in simplified form. I got a big surprise. The students got very involved in the topic and, to my delight, they showed a level of ethical thinking that is not supposed to exist anymore. They were truly exceptional. The faculty at Kilichand were another pleasant surprise as many were dedicated to integrating ethics in the design of the overall curriculum. I know that this was not a representative sample, but it was a sample and the students and faculty were real! So while we are wringing our hands about today’s kids, please remember that there are some good ones – and some good adults too.