I was very pleased to be invited to a meeting with former MCI Worldcom internal auditor, Cynthia Cooper, sponsored by Accelerent. She is the employee who discovered and “blew the whistle” on the $11 billion financial fraud that, along with Enron, changed corporate governance in America. Unfortunately, similar frauds continue to be perpetrated. Her story, also told in Extraordinary Circumstances, illustrates an important principle of business integrity.
Business crimes are seldom committed by evil people searching for opportunities to lie, cheat, or steal. Most misdeeds, from pilfering pens and misusing the copier to billion dollar stock frauds, are carried-out by regular people who have rationalized small steps over the line. At MCI Worldcom, accountants reclassified some reserves into revenue because the CFO said (more…)
I put off reading this book for months. Reading another how-to, self-help autobiography was like a trip to the gym: I knew I should, but it could always wait. Most sales trainers left me with a simple pair of thoughts: that stuff would really work–if I could force myself to do it! The Sandlr System leaves me with: this stuff works–and it feels natural!
The book is very professionally written: not literature just clear, concise and readable. A lively mix of (more…)
As a coach and advisor to business owners, I find that the resolutions for many of our most complex, challenging management situations become simple and obvious when we use precise language to accurately describe exactly what has happened and what we want to help happen. Getting work done is faster and easier, for example, for entrepreneurs who understand the five aspects of trust, the operative features of a powerful request, and the distinct types of group agreement.
Leadership success requires accurate evaluations of colleagues and keen cognizance of how others are evaluating us as leaders. Managers can improve these judgements by understanding the difference between four common words that are too often used interchangeably.
One action or omission may breach all four though not in every case.
Integrity comes from engineering. A machine or system with all of its parts and components working together as intended and expected has integrity. Integrity for the human machine is consistency of behaviors, often summarized as, “Do what you said you would do.”
Integrity isn’t right or wrong, good or bad. It just works.
Morality is that aspect of a culture which delineates “good behavior.” Morality is how we “ought” to do things around here, the requirements for being respectable. Morality emerges from some combination of intuition and mysticism, from the nature of being human, not by vote, volition, or convention.
Ethics is a set of rules specifically defining the behaviors required
for membership in a group and enjoyment of the privileges membership confers. A
defining characteristic of modern professions, e.g., accountants, lawyers,
physicians, is a Code of Ethics. Ethics are manmade and can be changed
Law defines behaviors that can be punished by government. A unique characteristic of government is a monopoly on the initiation of force. Laws may be arbitrary or democratic, stable or capricious, and applied with equality or discrimination.
These last three are about right and wrong. Integrity is in that field Rumi wrote a poem about. 😉
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
A Great Wagon by Rumi
Those three also require imposed punishment:
Violate the law and risk violence.
Breach ethics and risk dismemberment (exclusion from membership).
Fail to act morally and be shamed, excluded from society.
Integrity does not require enforcement or punishment. Lack of integrity carries its own intrinsic punishments. Behaving with integrity just works better.
I have never heard in a funeral that this person made a lot of money or is politically very strong. They never discuss that. In a funeral, people discuss how this person was kind or gracious or had character and integrity. … I learned from the funerals that we must plan our funerals when we are young. Plan your funeral, start early, by being kind.
I desire to leave this world as I entered it — barefoot and broke. To many, that may seem like an odd, unrealistic, even foolish thing. Not to me. Too many wealthy people hoard their riches, believing that dying with a large bank account is a virtue. I read about one woman who died and left her dog $10 million. What’s a dog going to do with that kind of money? Help other dogs? I see it another way: If I die with nothing because I have given it away, humanity is the beneficiary.
Of all the management tools I recommend, one of the most effective is both very simple and very unlikely to be consistently employed—if it is used at all: the written progress report, completed on a consistent schedule.
The power of progress reports to promote results and reduce anxiety is demonstrated daily, on matters titanic and trivial. The U. S. Constitution requires that the President “from time to time give to the Congress information of the State of the Union.” Public companies are required by law to present results to shareholders, at fixed intervals and in specific formats. Schools send regular reports to parents, our GPS tells where we are, and UPS sends a text when a package arrives.
Still, managers and employees resist implementing this simple process.
Who cares about why? Just grow up and start doing a progress report. Declare your goals. Confront your results. Adjust to living in reality. Enjoy the benefits of clarity while the less disciplined fail and fail in a fog of vague expectations and inchoate regrets.
Before I explain how to format and prepare a good progress report, let’s deal with some common excuses questions.
I began working with Tony in January of 2013. His guidance has helped me to look at the world from an entirely new perspective. After years of trying to fix “what’s wrong” in my business and life, he’s helped me learn to pursue what’s possible.
The change in perspective has made all the difference.
I recommend Tony Mayo to any successful business person looking for help reaching the next step in their professional and personal development.
Top Qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity
P. 5 This, in brief, is the project of this book. It will first explore the forces from the past that have shaped us and made us the kind of organisms we are; it will describe ways of being that help us free ourselves of the dead hand of the past; it will propose approaches to life that improve its quality and lead to joyful involvement; and it will reflect on ways to integrate the growth and liberation of the self with that of society as a whole.
P. 11 The thesis of this book is that becoming an active, conscious part of the evolutionary process is the best way to give meaning to our lives at the present moment in time, and to enjoy each moment along the way.
P. 11 Individuals who develop to the fullest their uniqueness, yet at the same time identify with the larger forces at work in the cosmos, escape the loneliness of the individual destinies.
P. 15 The idea of free will is a self-fulfilling prophecy; those who abide by it are liberated from the absolute determinism of external forces. This belief, in itself, is a “cause.”
P. 15 …consciousness enables those who use it to disengage themselves occasionally from the pressure of relentless drives so as to make their own decisions.
P. 18 What people all over the world mean by good and bad: bad is entropy — disorder, confusion, waste of energy, the inability to do work and achieve goals; good is negentropy — harmony, predictability, purposeful activity that leads to satisfying one’s desires.
Note that entropy is an accurate description of the typical modern workplace.
P. 28 For our ancestors, understanding themselves better was a pleasant luxury. But nowadays learning to control the mind may have become a greater priority for survival than seeking any further advantages the hard sciences could bring.
P. 29 Our brain is a great computing machine but it also places some dangerous obstacles in the way of apprehending reality truthfully.
P. 31 Melvin Koner, neurologist, reviewing studies of the human brain: “the organism’s chronic internal state will be a vague mixture of anxiety and desire — best described perhaps by the phrase ‘I want,’ spoken with or without an object for the verb.”
P. 33 The mind needs ordered information to keep itself ordered. As long as it has clear goals and receives feedback, consciousness keeps humming along. … Paradoxically it is when we are ostensibly most free, when we can do anything we want, that we are least able to act.
P. 36 Depression, anger, fear, and jealousy are simply different manifestations of psychic entropy.
P. 51 …”human nature” is a result of accidental adaptations to environmental conditions long since gone.
P. 55 The brain is a wonderful mechanism … it forces us to strive after forever receding foals. To keep us from settling for daydreams, it begins to project unpleasant information on the screen of consciousness as soon as we stop doing something purposeful.
P. 61 Reality is created as one tries to apprehend it. … Ilya Prigogine, a Nobel laureate in chemistry, “Whatever we call reality, it is revealed to us only through an active construction in which we participate.” And the physicist John Wheeler said: “Beyond particles, beyond fields of force, beyond geometry, beyond space and time themselves, is the ultimate constituent [of all there is], the still more ethereal act of observer-participation.”
P. 65 Each creates the world he or she lives in by investing attention in certain things, and by doing so according to certain patterns.
P. 76 Instinctual desires and cultural values work their way into consciousness from the outside [of consciousness]. The third distortion of reality begins in the mind and works itself out: it is the side effect of consciousness –the illusion of selfhood.
P. 82 People who lead a satisfying life, … are generally individuals who have lived their lives according to rules they themselves created. … They do what they do because they enjoy meeting the challenges of life, because they enjoy life itself.
P. 89 “Power” is the generic term to describe the ability of a person to have others expend their lives to satisfy his or her goals.
P. 105 the powerful lion turns out to be a living shelter for hundreds of different parasites … For every complex organism, survival is a constant battle against less complex life-forms that make a career of using its energy for their own ends.
At the psychological level, a parasite is someone who drains away another person’s psychic energy; not by direct control, but by exploiting a weakness or inattention.
P. 120 Dawkins “a meme is any permanent pattern of matter or information produced by an act of human intentionality”
P. 121 It is possible that one of the most dangerous illusions we must learn to see through is the belief that the thoughts we think of and the things we make are under our control, that we can manipulate then at will.
P. 135 Television is a dramatic example of a meme that invades the mind and reproduces there without concern for the well-being of its host.
P. 150 “organism” might be defined as any system of interrelated parts that needs inputs of energy to keep existing. … includes crystals and memes.
P. 151 (1) Every organism tends to keep its shape and to reproduce itself.
P. 151 (2) In order to survive and to reproduce, organisms require inputs of external energy.
P. 152 Entropy — or the dissolution of order into redundant randomness — is one of the most reliable features of the universe as we know it.
P. 152 (3) Each organism will try to take as much energy out of the environment as possible, limited only by threats to its own integrity.
P. 154 (4) Organisms that are successful in finding ways to extract more energy from the environment for their own use will tend to live longer and leave relatively more copies of themselves.
P. 154 (5) When organisms become too successful in extracting energy from their habitat, they may destroy it, and themselves in the process.
P. 155 (6) There are two opposite tendencies in evolution: changes that lead toward harmony and those that lead toward entropy.
P. 155 Harmony i.e., the ability to obtain energy through cooperation, and through the utilization of unused or wasted energy)
P. 155 Entropy i.e., ways of obtaining energy … causing conflict and disorder.
P. 156 (7) Harmony is usually achieved by evolutionary changes involving an increase in an organism’s complexity.
P. 156 Complexity, that is, an increase both in differentiation and integration.
P. 167 The world in which our children and their children will live is built, minute by minute, through the choices we endorse with our psychic energy.
[Philosopher Hannah] Arendt concluded that evil in the modern world is done neither by monsters nor by bureaucrats, but by joiners.
That evil, Arendt argued, originates in the neediness of lonely, alienated bourgeois people who live lives so devoid of higher meaning that they give themselves fully to movements. It is the meaning [Adolf] Eichmann finds as part of the Nazi movement that leads him to do anything and sacrifice everything. Such joiners are not stupid; they are not robots. But they are thoughtless in the sense that they abandon their independence, their capacity to think for themselves, and instead commit themselves absolutely to the fictional truth of the movement. It is futile to reason with them. They inhabit an echo chamber, having no interest in learning what others believe. It is this thoughtless commitment that permits idealists to imagine themselves as heroes and makes them willing to employ technological implements of violence in the name of saving the world.
The fraud triangle is a model for explaining the factors that cause someone to commit occupational fraud. It consists of three components which, together, lead to fraudulent behavior:
1. Perceived unshareable financial need
2. Perceived opportunity
The fraud triangle originated from Donald Cressey’s hypothesis:
Trusted persons become trust violators when they conceive of themselves as having a financial problem which is non-shareable, are aware this problem can be secretly resolved by violation of the position of financial trust, and are able to apply to their own conduct in that situation verbalizations which enable them to adjust their conceptions of themselves as trusted persons with their conceptions of themselves as users of the entrusted funds or property.1
1Donald R. Cressey, Other People’s Money (Montclair: Patterson Smith, 1973) p. 30.