Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Terrorist Trials in New York, a Tragic Decision

The decision by US Atty. Gen. Eric Holder, cheered on by New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg and members of the media to stage terrorist trials in New York City reflects the present culture of leadership training our society fosters in its government leaders, business leaders, even legal and religious leadership. They are taught to overwhelm, defeat, and vanquish. Winning is never enough. True leaders have to hold the defeated up for public ridicule, prophylactic humiliation, then strut their heads around on a stick. How can this be seen as any kind of propaganda victory for America?

In the process, while a few public officials, aggressive prosecutors, plaintiff attorneys and a 24/7 bloviator-driven media that, with unfairness and imbalance, plus the all bull, all bias boys and girls, enjoy focusing on all the negativity about America the spectacle will generate . . . the rest of us will be held hostage to the needless circus while the terrorists as civilian criminals have a global platform to hate us and spit on us for months, maybe years.

We have very effective military tribunals to try war criminals. These tribunals take place in less significant locations under circumstances that befit the crimes. Who is clamoring for show trials and, in the process, baiting and needlessly focusing the destructive energies of thousands, perhaps millions of militant America haters? These trials will be seen for what they are, a victory of testosterosis over justice.

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What Are the Attributes of the Ethical Executive?

For some time now, I’ve been conducting my own completely unscientific “poll” of senior advisors, asking them, from their experience, to provide up to 10 attributes of executives with integrity. The question I asked was, “What are the characteristics, behaviors, and attitudes of the ethical executive?” I asked each individual for 10 examples. Here’s the list from a superstar mid-30s female:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Fairness
  • Confidence
  • Vision
  • Ability to view issues through multiple lenses
  • Ability to flex communication styles for critical conversations
  • Ability to take feedback
  • Appreciation/gratitude
  • Responsiveness

Then there’s this from a late 40s top-notch consultant:

  • Truthful
  • Courageous
  • Honest
  • Respectful
  • Compassionate
  • Just
  • Humble
  • Wise
  • Responsible
  • Reliable

Here’s the list from a Ph.D. college professor:

  • Honesty
  • Integrity
  • Accuracy
  • Transparency
  • Accountability
  • Fair
  • Responsible
  • Loyalty
  • Truthful
  • Professional

And, how about this from a late 50s senior agency counselor:

  • Honesty
  • Moral understanding and conviction
  • Uncompromising (re: established standards)
  • Versed in acceptable social norms
  • Fair
  • Unwilling to accept double standards
  • Willing to share information (transparent)
  • Leads by example
  • Believable
  • Mature value structure
  • Teacher/ethical evangelist

So far, honesty and truthfulness appear on three out of the four lists. Ultimately, I think I’d like to begin creating a roster of executives who meet a great proportion of these attributes, because we only tend to hear about those who succeed or fail in spectacular ways.

My experience is that there are very few lessons to learn from those who fail. The models we need are those who have consistently demonstrated the qualities of ethical behavior, integrity, and credibility as defined by those around them.

What’s your list? Who are your candidates?

Send these to me and I’ll publish them. We’ll create a matrix of ethical executive expectations, and then, the next step will be to ask for nominations of individuals who manage and lead in the space called “integrity.”

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