Coaching On Character And Ethics Transcript


Published on

Most successful managers know how to avoid the obvious ethical lapses. But sometimes small mistakes can derail the success of a department, a company and a career.

Paul Wolfowitz recently lost his job as head of the World Bank over concerns about his personal relationship with a bank employee.

The CFO of Wellpoint Health was recently ousted after allegations surfaced about extra marital affairs.

Why do high performing, very smart people find themselves in these situations?

How can executive coaching help prevent self- sabotaging behaviors?


* Phyllis Davis, Author/Authority on Ethics

* Marjorie Doyle, Global Practice Leader, LRN

* Linda Livingstone, Dean, Graziadio School of Business at Pepperdine University

* Diana Scott, Co-chair, National Labor and Appointment Practice; Greenberg Taurig


A 2005 National Business Ethics Survey stated the most common types of unethical misconduct observed by employees range from abuse or intimidating behavior to discrimination and
sexual harassment.

Some experts on ethics and etiquette believe it’s impossible to teach ethics past the age of 21.

Can ethics coaches resolve these concerns?

Our guests discuss a variety of topics from what causes unethical conduct, to the bullying that causes it to go unreported, to mentoring and coaching strategies that create an ethical business environment.

Published in: Business, Health & Medicine
  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

No Downloads
Total views
On SlideShare
From Embeds
Number of Embeds
Embeds 0
No embeds

No notes for slide

Coaching On Character And Ethics Transcript

  1. 1. Insight on Coaching Coaching on Character and Ethics Prepared for: Prepared by: Insight Educational Consulting Ubiqus Reporting (IEC)
  2. 2. Time Speaker Transcript 0:27 Tom Floyd Hello everyone, and welcome to Insight on Coaching. Insight on Coaching explores the many facets, flavors, and sides of the emerging professional coaching field. I'm Tom Floyd, I'm the CEO of Insight Educational Consulting and your host for today's show. This week our topic is Coaching on Character and Ethics, or in other words, how to help executives avoid the ethical lapses that can derail the success of a department or company, or even, in many cases, an entire career. Well, lately we've seen some very public examples involving this very thing. For example, Paul Wolfowitz, former head of the World Bank, losing his job over concerns about a personal relationship with a bank employee. The CFO of health insurance giant WellPoint David Colby, who was recently ousted after allegations surfaced about some extramarital affairs as well. There are two questions that immediately jump to mind for me around this topic. The first question is the quot;whyquot; question. Why do high performing, very smart people like these folks find themselves in these situations? And of course the next question is how can executive coaching, or an executive coach, help prevent behavior like this? With me to explore this topic today are four leaders with years of experience in the areas of character and ethical coaching. We've got Marjorie Doyle, Phyllis Davis, Linda Livingstone, and Diana Scott. Let me give you a quick bit of background about each of our four guests today. I'll start with Marjorie. Marjorie Doyle is the Global Practice Leader, Ethics & Compliance Solutions at LRN. She is responsible for leading a team of ethics and compliance professionals assisting corporate ethics and compliance officers. Welcome to the show, Marjorie. 2:08 Marjorie Doyle Thank you. 2:09 Tom Floyd Our next guest, Phyllis Davis, is a leading authority on the subjects of ethics, personal accountability and etiquette in American business. She is the author of the bestselling book, E2: Using the Power of Ethics and Etiquette in American Business. Welcome to the show, Phyllis. 2 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 2 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  3. 3. Time Speaker Transcript 2:23 Phyllis Davis Thank you. 2:24 Tom Floyd Our next guest, Linda Livingstone, is the Dean of the Grazadio School of Business at Pepperdine University in California. Ethics is a subject the school emphasizes in its MBA programs. The university recently conducted a survey of investors regarding the importance of ethics over ROI. Welcome to the show, Linda. 2:44 Linda It's good to be here. Thank you. Livingstone 2:45 Tom Floyd It's good to have you. And our last guest, Diana Scott, is the Co-Chair, National Labor & Employment Practice; Greenberg Traurig in Santa Monica, California. Diana is a leading expert on the legal effects of unethical conduct in the workplace. Welcome to the show, Diana. 3:01 Diana Scott Great to be here, Tom. Thanks. 3 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 3 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  4. 4. Time Speaker Transcript 3:03 Tom Floyd Well as with our previous shows, it's definitely going to be an interactive conversation today. I'll ask some guiding questions to get us started but definitely view it as a good healthy conversation and debate between all of us. To start out with my first question, I want to use a quote that we found in the Indianapolis Business Journal. It seems like it's every week, or every other week, that we're reading or hearing about a story about a high-profile or very successful businessperson either being fired or being demoted - a lot of different things. One of the quotes in the Indianapolis Business Journal said, quot;In this era of hyper- scrutiny of corporate ethics, even messy personal lives can fell the career of a well- loved and well respected executive.” Such appears to be the case with David C. Colby, whom WellPoint, Incorporated forced to resign as its Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer on May 30th for violating the company's code of conduct in a 'non-business way.' Details seeping out since then suggest that Colby was maintaining extramarital affairs, at least one of which had overlapped with his work life and was on the cusp of bursting into public view. Then the article goes on and also says, quot;Colby's sudden departure is by no means the first time personal behavior has undone an executive. Boeing dismissed CEO Harry Stonecipher in 2005 for having an affair with a subordinate, which constituted a conflict of interest under an ethics policy that ironically he helped to craft.” And last month Home Box Office, Incorporated fired its CEO Chris Albrecht. Remember he was arrested for fighting with his girlfriend outside of a casino in Las Vegas? Phyllis, I want to start with you to build upon this. What's going on here? These are people that are at the top of their game, yet apparently they're behaving badly, to say the least. Is this something that's becoming more common in Corporate America? 5:09 Phyllis Davis It certainly appears to be. There are some schools of thought that don't even know if ethics can be taught past the age of 21, that if we didn't learn some kind of decent moral compass by the age of about 21 from our parents or grandparents, we may not be able to be taught this interesting topic that makes people practice high levels of impulse control. 5:35 Tom Floyd So pretty much the first 20 years in any adult's life is really critical in building or forming a person’s moral compass? 4 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 4 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  5. 5. Time Speaker Transcript 5:44 Phyllis Davis Apparently so. Certainly we're teaching it in colleges now. I'll defer to my guests with that, but 25% of top schools today teach ethics as a required stand-alone course, and I find that fascinating. We found that out of the Journal of Business Ethics in February of '07. It's only up 5% from 20 years ago. 6:08 Tom Floyd Only up 5%? 6:10 Phyllis Davis From 20 years ago. 6:12 Tom Floyd Back to the other point you mentioned: I'm still just flabbergasted by the question quot;can ethics be taught past 21?quot; Has any data or information showed why it's more difficult to get this ability past that age? 6:28 Phyllis Davis Well, we can certainly teach standards of codes of conduct in business and that's what we're seeing. Companies come up with a code of conduct that they expect their employees-- and certainly moral turpitude is one of them-- but there are a lot of areas that I'll defer to my academic guests about. I see things in companies all the time where people have got grey areas of ethical behavior and they wonder, quot;If this brings the stakeholders and the employees to doubt the company's sound, solid foundation, what can we do about it?quot; I'd rather pass this along to the guest from Pepperdine to have her address that in terms of what she thinks - if ethics can be taught to groups of people. 5 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 5 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  6. 6. Time Speaker Transcript 7:19 Linda This is Linda Livingstone from Pepperdine. I'd certainly be glad to touch on that. Livingstone There certainly is research that suggests the real foundations of moral development for people occur early in their lives but I believe that we can play an important role even as people mature in helping them continue to form and develop their moral thinking, the character with which they approach the work that they do. In fact, one of the things we spend quite a bit of time talking about with our students is helping them actually clarify what their values are. One of the things you find when you talk to people is they haven't really thought very explicitly, oftentimes, as adults, about what their values are and how solidly they hold those values, even as those values might have been formed when they were younger. And so I think part of the challenge is helping people, giving them experiences and learning opportunities where they actually clarify what their values are and really begin to think about where they're willing to draw the line in the sand because oftentimes what we see is that as people are faced with these moral dilemmas, these ethical challenges, they haven't really thought about what they're willing to do, or not do, in those kinds of situations and so they get caught without really having a foundation on which to build. So we really think about this in terms of clarifying people's values and then giving them experiences in the learning process where they are faced with difficult challenges or look at difficult challenges others have faced and think about how they might respond in that kind of a setting, both in a case study situation as well as an experiential sort of way. While values are certainly formed at a younger age, I do think we can help people clarify their values and think more carefully about how they apply the beliefs and values they have in difficult situations, in an educational setting. 9:10 Marjorie Doyle Linda, this is Marjorie Doyle and I'd like to respond to that and I'd also like to flush out something you said. Having been the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at two companies, I've had a lot of scars on my back, as they say. I think, in responding to you, Tom, this thing about quot;it's best to teach your morals as what your mom and dad teach you,quot; I was shocked several years ago as I was really getting into this area to see that when people make decisions in a company, in an organization, the number one thing is not their own moral set, as I thought that's certainly what it would be, but as they're surrounded in an organization, the number one person who affects their behavior is their front-line supervisor and the second group are their colleagues who they work with every day. I think this goes very much to what Linda just said that you really are looking in the midst of situations that come up on a daily basis. 6 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 6 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  7. 7. Time Speaker Transcript You look around to what other people are doing and certainly your front-line supervisor is the one who controls your salary, who controls your performance evaluation, and you look at how they act. And this is why those of us who are 'toiling in the vineyards' in organizations, in trying to affect culture say to this, when I say this middle management group is extremely important and also to employees who say quot;My only job is to do the right thing myself.quot; And we say to them, quot;No, it's not. It's to look around and help those around you because everybody contributes to that culture.quot; 11:01 Tom Floyd So just to come back to the point around the first line manager really being somebody who influences that, is that almost like it's from a modeling perspective, like if they're seeing their front line manager or their direct manager acting in an ethical way, that helps keep them in line and they're less likely to make any lapses or slips? 11:24 Marjorie Doyle Right, well, back to Linda's point: you have to talk these things out and have some experiential acting-out of them. You look at this person who controls your business life and if they are acting in a certain way, the conclusion you draw is, that is the acceptable behavior, however they are acting. That behavior can be good or bad. So you may have a code of conduct that says certain things and you certainly need to have that but it's the actual leadership and the people in the company who bring it to life. However they act, that's the real culture in the company. So what you need to get is exactly what Linda said. Leadership and employees need to constantly be talking about these things. They need to be talking about situations that might arise because there aren't enough rules in the world to guide every situation. And when that defining moment comes in an employee's life, they're not going to go back and read a 50 page code or go back and read the rules, they're going to think about how those around them act, and how leadership acts. 12:40 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I'm going to go ahead and go on pause. I'm hearing the music for our first commercial break. Stay tuned, everyone, more on Coaching on Character and Ethics when we return. 14:13 Dad Well, if there's one thing I know, it's women. 7 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 7 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  8. 8. Time Speaker Transcript 15:29 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. I’m Tom Floyd. For those of you just joining us today, today's show focuses on Coaching on Character and Ethics. With me are Marjorie Doyle, Global Practice Leader, Ethics & Compliance Solutions at LRN. Phyllis Davis, author of the bestselling book, E2: Using the Power of Ethics and Etiquette in American Business, Linda Livingstone, Dean of the Grazadio School of Business at Pepperdine University and Diana Scott, Co-Chair of the National Labor & Employment Practice at Greenberg Traurig in Santa Monica. Now to build upon the conversation that we've been having so far, Diana, I really want to turn to you next in terms of the legal impact that a lot of the issues around ethics and character and things like that are having on Corporate America. There's an interesting piece of data that I saw from, which was about five years old. I believe it was called the Corporate Scandal Sheet. And some of the things Forbes listed were the names of different companies. As an example, Adelphia was accused of making inappropriate loans to the Founding Rigas family and overstating results, AOL Time Warner was accused of inflating sales numbers, Arthur Andersen was accused of inappropriately shredding documents, Bristol-Meyers Squibb was accused of inflating revenues with a practice called channel stuffing and things like that. How much of a legal issue is this becoming for Corporate America? Is it getting worse? 8 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 8 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  9. 9. Time Speaker Transcript 17:00 Diana Scott Well I don't know that it's getting worse so much as the reporting ability of both scandal sheets on a personal basis as well as the corporations on financial improprieties through Sarbanes-Oxley are really increasing the focus on corporate executives. The old saying that there's no secrets anymore from the press, that's been going on for years, but there's just no question that there's actually even a corporate paparazzi, if you will. It's just as saleable as an article about a CEO of some company as it is about Britney Spears, and if they can find a scandal terrific. So there are really no secrets, I don’t think, anymore that relate to people's personal lives, and if you want to make the big bucks, I think as a top professional at a corporation, you almost have to assume the open kimono role of a public official. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act has really turned Corporate America inside out as it relates to financial reporting. And the examples that you've just given really all would probably have been unearthed through some sort of Sarbanes-Oxley reporting. And we know Sarbanes-Oxley has various applications. There's a specific provision for CFOs and their reporting. There's a specific provision for employees, a specific provision also for reporting for Chief Legal Officers. All of them have their own internal obligations and requirements that they reveal any improprieties as part of their job duties or face the consequences themselves. 18:42 Tom Floyd From your perspective as well, what have been some of the circumstances that lead people to some of these situations that they've found themselves in? Is it a sense of the person's just being naive? Is it arrogance? Is it thinking they won't get caught? What are some of the reasons that come up? 9 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 9 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  10. 10. Time Speaker Transcript 19:00 Diana Scott From my perspective, I think it gets down to three types of aberrant behaviors. Financial self-dealing has got to be the number one. Secondly, outside conduct that basically brings disrepute to the company, and that's these romantic scandals that we've been mentioning. And the last one, basically, abuse of privilege: the abuse of privilege seen, for example, although they are not corporate executives, the kind of problems that we've had recently with Los Angeles politics, all of the types of things, fixing tickets, the outside affairs and so on. Those things could easily have happened to a corporate executive as well, and although they may not necessarily be a financial impropriety or something that speaks to one's personal life, it still is nevertheless an abuse of privilege. All of those types of things bring scandal and focus on the company and it's all about protecting the shareholders, so any type of behavior which has a negative impact on the value of the company and hence in turn negatively affects the shareholders is really the touchstone on the impropriety of behavior. 20:16 Tom Floyd I have a question for everybody here as group about some of those traits, Diana, that you just mentioned. Is there a certain type of personality or position that really leads to behaviors like that? Is that something in the recruiting process or in the interviewing process that companies try to uncover? Are there certain types of people that exhibit this more than others, or can it really happen to anybody? 10 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 10 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  11. 11. Time Speaker Transcript 20:45 Marjorie Doyle Tom, this is Marjorie. First, I think companies are trying to do things at the interview and even before that at the recruiting stage. And I think out of every population, I think I'm told that probably 2-5% of people are just bad actors. There's not anything you're going to be able to do with them. That's how they are and they're always going to try to get away with something. That leaves the rest of us, and we’re probably going to try to do good for good's sake, and these people I think can be coached and counseled and made to understand what the values are of a particular organization and why are those values important. So I think that's why companies are starting to talk about what the values of the company are, including during the recruiting process. Because in today's transparent world, let's face it, anybody can copy your product; they can backwards engineer it, but the one thing they can't copy is your culture. Who you are, what you stand for is a culture. So who you recruit becomes very important early on. For example, if I were to go out to Pepperdine and Linda's students, I would say quot;Here are the values of our company,quot; and talk about what those mean very specifically and then say, quot;You're not going to be successful at my company if you can't live up to those values or learn those values, so you might want to go elsewhere.quot; And I think companies are seeing that's really important to head that off at that point. 11 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 11 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  12. 12. Time Speaker Transcript 22:37 Phyllis Davis If I may, I have another perspective on this as well. This is Phyllis Davis. According to a study that was done recently by the Southern Institute of Professional Ethics, the number one cause for employees unethical conduct was the failure of the organization's leadership to tell their employees what's expected of them within that corporate culture. You know I like to say that companies rot from the top and a lot of the people that we have seen fall; you mentioned Adelphia, just an hour ago the pair within Adelphia, the Rigases were sentenced. John Rigas, 82, was sentenced to 15 years and Timothy Rigas, 51, to 20 years and they took their positions in prison this morning. And '06 and '07 have certainly been an interesting time for the culmination for a lot of litigation that began in 2000. And these have been some interesting times, and yes, the axe fell on the heads of the leadership, and well it should have, but there were a lot of their circumstances within those companies that were inspired by that leadership that had a lot of buy-in from other people in the company. Had they chosen another path, they would have had different results. 23:51 Tom Floyd Just to recap, some of the things I'm hearing are that culture is very important, the actions] of leaders within the company are very important and also having regular conversations about values, culture, mission, standards and all of those things are important as well. Linda, from your perspective, in terms of some of the curriculum within Pepperdine and other universities, are those some of the topics that are covered and discussed with students to help prepare them? 24:23 Linda Sure, let me make one other comment about the discussion we're having and then Livingstone relate that to curriculum. I think one of the other things you see, and I think this relates to what Phyllis said, is as people move up in an organization, they become more and more isolated and oftentimes, if you're not careful about the people you put around you, you get people around you that just want to say quot;yesquot; to everything you think and want to do. Linda So I think it's also important in terms of creating that culture and that context in an Livingstone organization that as a leader moves up in the organization they find ways to maintain people and experiences around them that help keep them grounded in the reality of the world so they don't get so isolated and these things begin to go to their heads and they make decisions that are certainly not in the best interest of the company, but more in their own best interest. And I think that isolation can be a big part of that. 12 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 12 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  13. 13. Time Speaker Transcript So then in terms of thinking about how we educate people who are going out to be leaders in business, I think there are a wide variety of things that happen in educational settings. I believe it was Marjorie that said the number of freestanding ethics courses had only increased by 5% in educational institutions. And while that certainly may be the case, I think what you have seen, though, is a far greater emphasis on issues of ethics and values being embedded throughout the curriculum, which, in my view, is actually a more effective way to think about teaching these issues because if you pull out discussions of ethics in an isolated way, students don't always see how they are related to particular issues in finance or accounting or marketing or human resources. So I think what you're seeing that isn't reflected in that statistic is the way in which universities and business schools in particular have embedded discussions of these issues throughout the curriculum in applied sorts of ways that help students think about it in a more integrated fashion. And there are a variety of ways that you can do that. You can do it at an individual level: individual assessments around personality, values, emotional intelligence. There's been a lot of discussion about this relationship to emotional intelligence to people's ethical decision making in organizations. You can certainly give them case study experiences where they are faced with these kinds of challenges and issues and have them reflect on what other people have done, such as a case study on Adelphia or Enron or whoever, and talk about what happened there and what kinds of decisions could have been made differently. But we also try to think about putting our students in experiences as they're happening and doing live case studies with companies in real time so that they don't really know the answer to the question before they're trying to answer it, so then it puts them in the situation of having to face some of those dilemmas in real time and think about how they would respond without knowing the answer to the question at the end of the day. And then putting the students in the context, in a classroom setting or with executives where they are interacting and debating and discussing some of these really difficult issues and how they would respond or how they would have responded had they been faced with that. So back to the earlier discussion we had, I think a lot of it is as about experiential as possible in real time, putting them in difficult situations, and when you do it in an education setting, you don't have the risks involved that you do in a company and they can see with less penalty what some of the issues are so that maybe when they're in a situation in real life, in a real company, they will make better choices. 27:26 Tom Floyd So it's a safer environment. 13 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 13 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  14. 14. Time Speaker Transcript 27:27 Linda Yes. Livingstone 27:28 Tom Floyd Okay, well I'm hearing the music for our next break. Let's go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned, everyone. More Insight on Coaching when we return. 31:04 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. For those of you just joining us today, today's show focuses on Coaching on Character and Ethics in the workplace. To continue our conversation, I want to start talking more about coaching specifically. We've definitely shared several great examples about situations that have happened, why some of these things have happened, what are some of the initial things that are being done to address this, etc. From all of your perspectives, the question that I have for you as a panel is: when does a company get a coach or coaches involved or realize, quot;Hey, we're starting to see some issues around character and ethics where I think we might want to bring some folks in to help with this?quot; Is this a situation where a) companies are starting to realize that or b) is it more of a situation where coaches are already in the organization and they're starting to catch some of these issues that come up, and flag them? What are all of your thoughts? 14 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 14 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  15. 15. Time Speaker Transcript 32:08 Phyllis Davis Well this is Phyllis Davis. There are certainly ethics officers within companies but we're big believers in mentoring programs within companies and that lapses over into a little bit of succession planning and companies are trying to groom for more than today and find strong leaders to carry that corporate culture to the next level. So the retention of top talent is one of the things that we hear most often. And mentoring programs really help with some degree of personal accountability within an organization. I'm not saying that, in a sense, a person would confess his fears or temptations to his mentor but I am saying it offers a human factor and alternative solutions rather than compromising oneself in a company if they had somebody to talk to and sort out answers that don't require breach of conduct. In today's fast pace I hear constantly what Linda just talked about, that it's lonely at the top, what I call mahogany row. Many executives today are incredibly isolated from the consequences of their actions. 33:14 Tom Floyd Now when you say mentor, because one of the distinctions that I try to use sometimes when I work with some of our clients, for example in making the distinction between a mentor and a coach is that a mentor typically can be somebody who has been in their role before, who knows what they're going through, but is typically on the inside. 33:32 Phyllis Davis It is on the inside and we have programs that help match mentors with protégées through some profiling and testing. 33:41 Tom Floyd And are you finding that people are as comfortable opening up to somebody on the inside as they would be to, let's say, to an external coach who's brought in? 33:50 Phyllis Davis Well there are two different things. Usually a mentor within a company is somebody they can have lunch with once a month, and it's not that they're giving them personal advice on skills and behaviors that make them better at their jobs like a coach would, in other words helping them get their outcomes more quickly. A mentor is just somebody who's just “been-there, done-that” in a company. 15 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 15 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  16. 16. Time Speaker Transcript Phyllis Davis And they're usually not in the same line they are, they're over in another department; they don't report to them directly, but they do have that corporate culture in their pocket and they can talk to them about some things that they can do to help improve their chances for their own succession planning in the company, and for advancement, and how to ask for a raise. There are some things that a company culture does hold, that an outside coach does not. 34:38 Tom Floyd In terms of some of the things that an ethics officer, or someone like that, would watch for in an organization, I want to cite a data point that I thought was interesting. It was a 2005 National Business Ethics Survey and it showed that the following types of unethical misconduct were most observed by employees. Based on the folks that responded to this survey, 21% said they observed abuse or intimidating behavior towards other employees— 35:04 Phyllis Davis That's so big now, office bullying. 35:07 Tom Floyd Interesting. 35:08 Phyllis Davis I see that a lot. 35:09 Tom Floyd Nineteen percent observed lying to employees, customers, vendors, or the public, 18% observed a situation that placed employee interest over or organizational interest, 16% observed violations of safety regulations, 12% observed discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age or other categories, 11% observed stealing or theft and 9% observed sexual harassment. Are those some of the types of things that an ethics officer or someone like that could look at that data and realize quot;Wow, we have a problem?” 16 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 16 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  17. 17. Time Speaker Transcript 35:43 Diana Scott Tom, Diana here. Those are really way more than ethics violations; things like safety, which speaks directly to OSHA, bullying, which can be anything from outrageous conduct to emotional distress to a form of discrimination, and then discrimination itself are all actually pretty heavy duty violations of the law and really exceed ethics violations. They certainly pose an ethics violation but they can subject the company to a lot more than simply the problematic behavior of a senior associate or of course it can result in a law suit with not only the terrible publicity factor but also the very real possibility of damages. And then you have the quot;me tooquot; syndrome where you get the ball rolling and particularly if there are problems within the company and people see the possibility of being laid off, and they see quot;Well, if I'm going to be laid off, I might as well do it with a kiss on both cheeks. I think I'll bring some sort of a claim as I walk out the door so they can buy me off of that too.” 36:44 Phyllis Davis I think the other thing we should think about, and I think those are telling statistics, but I don't think as we look to the future these are going to continue to be huge challenges because if you look at some of the statistics with younger people now, the percentages of students who cheat while they're in high school and on into college and graduate school continue to rise in ways that are very disturbing if you're in any kind of an institution, certainly in an educational institution. Phyllis Davis And then you look at the prevalence of technology and how you can use technology in ways to do things that are certainly inappropriate, if not illegal, and we've seen all the downloading issues and just the attitude of the younger generation that's coming through. In terms of some of these things, these are going to continue to be really important and significant challenges in organizations and probably we're going to start to see some things particularly in terms of how technology is used that's even more challenging to confront and even be able to identify within organizations. 17 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 17 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  18. 18. Time Speaker Transcript 37:39 Diana Scott This is Diana. In my practice there are basically two types of clients. You can have clients that come from a very staid, established corporate environment and then you have that rock-and-roll environment that comes with new start ups and any kind of technology product. I think it's much easier to find a mentor, or somebody that you can sit down and have lunch with once a month if you're coming from an established, staid corporation, but it's that rock-and-roll culture that really doesn't have the more seasoned employees to have lunch with and also it's a culture that really doesn’t seem to value that kind of exchange. 38:20 Tom Floyd I'd like to come back to the point that was made around bullying. It sounded like that was something that I heard a lot of quot;yeses,quot; that's something many of you are seeing more and more of. Let's say you're a coach or you're a manager and you observe that you've got an employee who's doing this, or as a coach yourself you're working with somebody and you realize, quot;I'm starting to sense there's some bullying behavior going on here.quot; What are some things that a coach would do or could do to help somebody self realize what they’re doing, or is it even possible to help them realize they're bullying and that they need to stop that behavior? 38:58 Phyllis Davis This is Phyllis Davis. Well people do get what I call sentenced to coaching, with coaches in my company, and we do occasionally-- 39:06 Tom Floyd [interposing] Sentenced, almost like prison. 39:09 Phyllis Davis Well, it does seem like it because it does require behavior changes and awareness. And usually it's at the level that it's a supervisor or a manager that targets someone within their supervisory range and picks on them in public, and threatens them, quot;If you don't do this by Monday, you're fired.quot; There are threats involved. It can and does ensue to litigation. It's difficult to catch because it's a supervisor or manager and it usually has to come through Human Resources, we're finding, that someone actually goes and complains and talks about the situation. 18 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 18 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  19. 19. Time Speaker Transcript 39:50 Tom Floyd Are there ever circumstances where a coach is hearing about some of these things, well I'm going to rephrase that question. If you're a coach and you're working with somebody and you sense this, so let's say it hasn't been something that's been reported before but you're working with somebody and you're sensing this, what should a coach do? 40:09 Diana Scott Tom, Diana here. I think one of the issues is if that coach is an actual employee of the company or if they've been brought in from the outside. There's a tremendous issue of their duty of loyalty. And whether they're a corporate employee or somebody who basically is reporting to that executive and serves at the will of that executive, if they are a corporate employee there are all sorts of compliance codes of ethics and things the coach is going to be responsible for, not only in taking care of their charge, their executive, but also protecting their own backside. If they're brought in as a consultant to the executive and serve at the whim of the executive that's a much more difficult place for that coach to find themselves. Obviously they want to do their job and keep that person out of trouble but it's often difficult from a legal perspective if the executive doesn't want to hear it. 41:06 Phyllis Davis More and more we're seeing companies who are putting in a responsibility and of course have to follow through and explain to employees what that means but that the responsibility to talk to other employees when they see something going astray or something that is not ethical or compliant but also publicizing ways of contacting them, if you're a supplier or a customer or a shareholder and you see some of that behavior. Because companies are realizing that they've got human beings. They're going to do something wrong. So the point is that you want it, in a company culture or any organization culture, the soonest that you sense that or you see it, to bubble it up, so it comes up so that you can do something about it whether it be something in coaching the individual or maybe there's something in the code or values of the company or something beyond the individual. The company can do something about it before it goes external and before it gets into a situation that is illegal or something like that. 42:23 Diana Scott [interposing] I think— 19 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 19 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  20. 20. Time Speaker Transcript 42:23 Phyllis Davis --But. 42:24 Diana Scott Oh, excuse me. 42:25 Phyllis Davis Go ahead. 42:26 Diana Scott I just think more and more companies are becoming aware that there need to be reporting mechanisms. 42:30 Phyllis Davis Yes. 42:31 Diana Scott And if there are, with people that are intelligent enough to have the conversation, then it's valuable. 42:38 Tom Floyd Got it. Well I'm hearing the music for our last break. Let's go ahead and go on pause. Stay tuned everyone, more Insight on Coaching when we return. 20 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 20 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  21. 21. Time Speaker Transcript 45:14 Tom Floyd Welcome back to Insight on Coaching. We were just having an interesting conversation during our last break discussing one of the points I wanted to come back to from the previous part of our show. So when we're talking about reporting some of the instances that come up, we're starting to get into whistle-blowing, and I've got two questions around that for all of you. One, if you're an internal employee, you've been in an organization, you see behavior that's unethical and you report it, what's happening to you around that and how much, if any, are you placing your own career or role in the company in jeopardy? In other words, are there negative ramifications around that? The second part of the question, a lot of times on the show, we're talking about external coaches - people outside of an organization who are brought in because the organization has a coaching program or it makes coaches available to their executives, their directors, their top performers, etc. What is the role of the coach? How does the coach handle the urge to blow the whistle if they're hearing something he or she feels should be reported? Tom Floyd On the one hand, they've got a confidential relationship with their client. On the other hand, if they bring it up to their client, their client could fire them or just get rid of the coach and the organization might not ever know. What are everyone's thoughts on those situations? 21 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 21 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  22. 22. Time Speaker Transcript 46:40 Diana Scott Tom, Diana here. Let me set the table for our ethics experts from a legal perspective. Whistle blowing is of course a term of art and it speaks to a protected act done in response to bringing to the company's attention a violation of public importance. And so we're not talking about, oh, somebody did this or that at the lunch hour, but rather something really of public importance that's potentially going to affect the value of the stock. If it's an inside mentor, inside coach, they're going to have an obligation as a matter of law to that corporation who is the employer and who is subject to the company's own internal code of ethics and compliance. If it's an outside coach, however, that's what I meant by my comment earlier by the breach of the duty of loyalty. To whom does that outside coach really owe their duty of loyalty? If they've been brought in by the executive, presumably they have some sort of a contract with them that provides quot;You'll tell me what I need to know,quot; but unfortunately humans, being humans, quot;only to the extent that I want to hear it.quot; And although the coach obviously wants to do a good job, it may be that in providing his or her deliverable, he or she walks themselves right out of the job. 47:51 Tom Floyd Exactly. 47:51 Phyllis Davis And let me put this to the coaches too. That may be what you want, because why would you want to stay attached to somebody who is basically your advertisement for bad behavior? 48:03 Linda You certainly wouldn't want to point out that my last five clients were CEOs who were Livingstone fired or showed up on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. 48:13 Marjorie Doyle Well I think the other thing you see with coaches is also a responsibility at times to realize that the issues that this person is dealing with are beyond what the coach— 48:21 Tom Floyd [interposing] Can address? 22 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 22 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  23. 23. Time Speaker Transcript 48:22 Marjorie Doyle -- can address, and that there may be other professionals that the individual needs to be referred to that are qualified in a different way to help and support what that person is going through. And it can be a tough call sometimes to say that either as a moral perspective as a coach or from ethics or just in terms of the help this person needs, quot;I need to transition from this and move on, either in terms of what's in the best interest for that person or frankly what's in the best interest of me professionally, in terms of my reputation and moving forward.quot; 48:54 Tom Floyd Well another thing that we talk about a lot on this show with coaches, and I'll use myself as an example, I have two coaches who have been immensely helpful in my continued growth. And there's a lot of discussion in the coaching field around coaching being a fix-it solution or a self realization solution and of course the majority of folks feel that coaching should not be viewed as quot;fix-it,quot; or “go in and correct this.” It's more getting the person to understand their behavior, their goals and wanting to make change themselves. If we talk about something, let's say that it hasn't gotten out yet, but a coach is working with somebody and let's say the person they're working with admits that they are having an affair with an employee, or they've started a relationship with an employee. Is there a way to tiptoe with the person around that where you're not triggering them into a panic but you're asking them questions like quot;Do you feel like that's in the best interest of the company?quot;, quot;What are some of the reasons why you're doing this?quot;, to do some probing around that. How can a coach effectively handle that, to get that person thinking, quot;Maybe this behavior I'm doing isn't cool; maybe it's not cool for me personally and it certainly isn't cool for my organization. I need to stop this.quot; 23 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 23 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  24. 24. Time Speaker Transcript 50:15 Marjorie Doyle Tom, from a legal perspective if you have got a non-consensual relationship of course it's easy; the response is quot;Gee, you're just walking right into a sexual harassment suit.quot; But if the agreement between the parties is that this is a completely consensual relationship then I think you've got that stick-in-the-mud problem where you as a coach will go to your mentee and say quot;Gee, do you really think this is in the best interest of the company?quot; And the response is quot;You've never been in my shoes, this is a consensual relationship, there's no violation of nepotism here.quot; Quite frankly, romantic favoritism, believe it or not, is not a violation of the law in virtually all of the U.S. right now, absent some really extraneous circumstances. So I think the problem of credibility and different values becomes much more difficult in the personal setting because when it comes to financial misdealing or abuse of power the coach has almost always got a law or a statute or even internal compliance rules to point to. It's that personal life that becomes so grey and difficult to consult with. 51:23 Phyllis Davis This is Phyllis. People have come to me with all kinds of things over the years. I've been a coach over 22 years before we called ourselves coaches, frankly, and people have told me amazing things about themselves and if they didn't trust me, I haven't done my job. And it does cross a lot of lines about where I stand because really people aren't going to change because of my advice. You can point out the fact that there are consequences for behavior that doesn't support a company. You can do that. If they don't take my advice, I'm not legally responsible, from what I've been told. 52:01 Tom Floyd In the long run, from an organization’s perspective, I'm just going to ask a really blunt question. Is it worth it to bring ethics coaches in, folks, who specialize in it? Are they able to turn the ship around? Can it make a difference? 52:15 Phyllis Davis Internally, I think they have a good chance. 24 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 24 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  25. 25. Time Speaker Transcript 52:17 Marjorie Doyle Yes, I really do. I think you've got to have a strong, strong ethics program internally because it really goes to the success, the long term sustainability of the company. 52:31 Tom Floyd So it could be proactively embedding this type of coaching in ethics training programs? 52:35 Marjorie Doyle Absolutely. 52:37 Linda Well, this is Linda and I would agree with that because as we talk about these high Livingstone level people becoming more and more isolated and having fewer and fewer people within the organization, they can talk about some of these difficult issues with, having an outside coach that you can work on some of these issues with, where you have that confidentiality and you're not talking to someone within the organization, I think it can play a really important support role, particularly for these higher level executives as they become more isolated. 53:04 Diana Scott And Tom, Diana here. I think a corporation has just got to do everything it can to make sure its top executives have got resources available to them because, once again, everyone's human and it's all about protecting the value of the company and protecting the shareholders. And if that little voice is around, whether you want to call it the superego or my parent or my pal or whatever, there's got to be somebody there who at least is available. Whether they use them or not is something else, but at least be available to help them navigate that personal and abuse of privilege rule. 53:42 Tom Floyd And we're almost to the end of our show here, but in terms of trying to figure out if character coaching or having a training program where that is embedded, is really working for the company, is that as simple as looking at the number of cases and giving a benchmark up front? 25 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 25 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript
  26. 26. Time Speaker Transcript 54:00 Marjorie Doyle No, there's no one simple metric but I think you can look at a lot. LRN did a recent study three or four months ago that said about 50% of employees say they observe ethical or compliant failures and then there's another study that says one of the most telling statistics or factors that will tell you if your company is going to get in trouble is whether people feel free to report. And then there are all sorts of reasons why people don't report: they don't think you're going to do anything about it, they think they're going to be retaliated against, so I think we've got— 54:44 Tom Floyd I hate to cut you off but we are unfortunately at the end of our show. A huge, huge thank you to the four of you today, and as always a huge thank you to our listeners as well. For more information about our show you can look us up on the Voice America Business Channel. You can also visit our website at and don't forget you can access the podcast version of this show and all of our shows through Apple iTunes as well. Just go to the iTunes store, click podcast, and enter Insight on Coaching in the Search field. Thanks everyone. We'll see you next week. 26 | Confidential June 19, 2008 Page 26 Coaching on Character and Ethics Transcript