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Aerospace BizDev News from Linda Wolstencroft
Newsletter #29 –
November 15th, 2013

What is happening with truth and fairness?

Compelled by current events in the world and in business, I am again addressing the question of right vs. wrong. 

Of particular interest are decisions that most of us, as leaders, have taken each day and continue to take over time.  We believe our decisions is the best decision for any given situation … but are they?

For instance, lately our daily news consists of stories about a hard-drug using mayor who appears to consort with organized crime.  Similarly, in another region, there are news reports about several former politicians who have also reportedly supported organized crime to the extent of lining their own pockets with the proceeds.  Finally, there is a growing collection of seemingly bad apples who are well-known leadership figures in high political office that are now facing accusations regarding defrauding taxpayers.

Is it the season? Is it a trend? Or is it that the line separating right and wrong is constantly being redrawn by each leader that partakes in a questionable decision where they genuinely believe what they’re doing is, in fact, the right thing to do?

I will go back to basics here: it is the impact of the decision on others that matters. 

Today we are following how decisions made by high profile figures are impacting the lives of others as well as themselves. 

From my own work as an executive and leadership team member, I understand how achieving results is the sacrosanct goal. 

However, in all cases, does the end justify the means? 

In some situations, senior executives working to achieve company goals may opt for speed and simplicity when solving perceived issues. But is speed and simplicity the right path to take when it could possibly hamper important results that are at stake? 

Consider the following:

  • The executive focuses more on short-term issues than the more difficult problem of building the business for the long-term.
  • The executive does not investigate the totality of issues around working relationships and makes a decision from hearsay that could unfairly and negatively impact people.
  • The executive values her own personal stature over that of others and makes decisions that negatively impact others to preserve her stature. Consequently, her motivations are glaringly transparent to her peers, thus resulting in an unintended negative consequence for herself.

None of these situations are simple to deal with.  As business leaders, we have the responsibility to those around us to perform our due diligence.  A quick and easy decision is welcomed because it frees up time and effort to focus on other subjects, but when it is unfair and at the expense of others, or when a better decision could have been made with just a bit more effort, it is simply wrong

Put in that extra effort to ensure that your tough decisions are handled well.  Ask that question, have that discussion, listen to those other perspectives. Make sure that you understand what your OWN role is in the situation.  Did you do something that exacerbated the situation?  Or did you not do something that you should have?  This is how we learn to be better – by determining our own role and what we could have done, and by extension, what we will do in future situations.

Now please excuse me as I continue my learning on integrity by examining the news of the day…

**Side note: Businesses are constantly faced with challenges when managing their commitments to stakeholders - whether they be the customers, shareholders, employees or the community; in light of that, I provided a perspective on how important integrity is in business. To read more on this, I direct you to the August 2012 Canadian Defence Review column entitled “Integrity – Managing Stakeholder Commitments”. Read here.

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