College and University Auditors of VirginiaETHICS(And Why Good Leaders Go Bad) Craig Anderson Deputy Director, University Audit Virginia Commonwealth University
OUTLINE 1. Introduction / Background 2. General Thoughts & Principles 3. “Slippery Slope” Model 4. Closing Comments & Questions
INTRODUCTION My Background / Biases VCU Experience Prior Experiences
WHAT IS ETHICS ? Merriam-Webster: Discipline dealing with what is Good & Bad, with Moral Duty & Obligation Set or System of Moral Values and Principles A Guiding Philosophy
WHAT ARE THE OBSTACLES TO ETHICAL BEHAVIOR & DECISION-MAKING ? How much Gray exists? What kind of “Gray” have you encountered? And Many Times: It’s Easy to Do the Wrong Thing It’s Hard to Do the Right Thing
WHY IS IT EASY TO DO THE WRONG THING ? Lack of Knowledge of the Expectations or Requirements Lack of training in the “right way to do things” Lack of Accountability Intent
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL Even if You Win the Rat Race, You’re Still a Rat.
WHY IS IT HARD TO DO THE RIGHT THING ? Frustration with Policies or Procedures (without understanding the reason for those P&P) Time or Departmental Pressures Competing Priorities Short-Term Impacts
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL The Early Years Entitlement Arrogance Greed The Fall from Grace
Morality, like art, means drawing a line somewhere OSCAR WILDE
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 1 - THE EARLY YEARS “He was impressive, young and aggressive, saving the world on his own” (Jimmy Buffett) Talent, Hard Work, Very aggressive Knows & Respects “the rules” Usually rises rapidly in the organization What other characteristics do you see?
That you may retain your self respect, it is better to displease people by doing what is right than to temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong. William J H boetcker
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 2 - ENTITLEMENT I Earned It – “You don’t look smart enough to find it if I did” I Deserve This – “If I can’t get a raise I will get it another way” It Comes with the Territory – “How will my kids go to college?” It’s No Big Deal – “I’m not the only one doing this”
Relativity applies to physics, Not ethics. Albert einstein
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 3 - ARROGANCE They Start to Believe the Press Clippings All the Successes are due to My Efforts This Department couldn’t survive without me and my Grants Better to Ask Forgiveness than Permission
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL Don’t get down in the Mud with a Pig; You Both get Dirty but Only the Pig Enjoys It.
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 4 - GREED Earth provides Enough to Satisfy Every Man’s Needs, but Not Every Man’s Greeds GANDHI
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 4 - GREED At this point, the Leader’s Greeds take precedence over the Organization’s Needs The Leader’s Priorities drive the Organization’s Priorities The Leader’s Actions no longer support the Organization’s Mission What can we do to prevent some of these very real issues?
A Native American grandfather talking to his young grandson tells the boy he has two wolves inside of him struggling with each other. The first is the wolf of peace, love and kindness. The other wolf is fear, greed and hatred. "Which wolf will win, grandfather?" asks the young boy. "Whichever one I feed," is the reply. NATIVE AMERICAN PROVERB
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL DENIAL Don’t Listen/Watch when the Foundation is Crumbling “This is a Short-Term Problem” “I Know Better than They Do; I Built this Place”
Good people do not need laws to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around the laws. Plato ~ 400 BC
SLIPPERY SLOPE MODEL STAGE 5 - THE FALL Cumulative Effect of: Entitlement Arrogance Greed
Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Potter Stewart
YOUR RESPONSIBILITY Educate yourself –understand the relevant policies and procedures Establish strong relationships with your Deans/AVPs/Chairs Ask for Help when you don’t understand Lead By Example – if you mess up they will remember and throw it back at you!!! Speak up when you see something wrong – it doesn’t have to be in a report
SUMMARY Power is the Common Denominator in the most damaging cases I’ve worked on Absolute Power Corrupts, Absolutely There is no Reset Button in Life
EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ETHICS I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN
CLOSING THOUGHTS Across our Organizations, Thousands of Good, Sound, Ethical Decisions are Made Every Day. One Person CAN Make a Difference !
Always do right; This will gratify some And astonish the rest. Mark Twain
The path of least resistance is what makes rivers run crooked. ELBERT HUBBARD
Case Studies: Case Study 1 – Pcard Misuse Case Study 2 – Grant Fraud
CLOSING Questions Comments Thank You !