Integrity? What integrity?

There has been plenty splashed all over the media in the last weeks about sleaze and lack of integrity in general. Whether that has been the expenses issue in Parliament, the treatment of retired Gurkhas or the contempt for shareholders in setting the remuneration of senior execs at Royal Dutch Shell and elsewhere.

What much of these issues have in common seems to be a lack of willingness on the part of the few to listen to the concerns of the many. Just why this should be so is probably worthy of a treatise on mankind – but I’m going to keep things short. Instead I will simply pose a question. Just how do you change the culture of diverse organisations to take account of their stakeholder interests?

One argument – put forward by Jim Sinegal the CEO of Costco (the cut-price warehouse “club”) is to focus solely on what the customer wants. Everything else follows.

So the follow-on question (in true Parliamentary tradition) would be to ask – How on earth have so many senior people in so many places managed to forget who the Customer is?

Greed is not good – no matter how alluring the fictional Gordon Gecko might have appeared to be. Instead the challenges we all face are how to share what we have in ways that benefit us all.

Time for a bit of soul searching at all levels – and let’s remember that the behaviours that have received such recent approbation were born out of common attitudes. Step back in your own “world” and look for ways of breaking the cycle.