The 4 T’s of building ethical relationships

by Frank Bucaro

Dr. Domeena Renshaw, now retired from Loyola University taught that there are four “T’s” of building any relationship.
1.      Trust:
Trust is the basic building block of any relationship. You haven’t got a friendship without trust; you haven’t got a marriage without trust and you haven’t got a business without trust!
2.      Touch:
What’s your personal touch: what gifts, talents, etc, do you bring “to the table?” I think everyone should a personal mission statement that answers two questions.
A.      What’s your life all about?
B.      How do you intend to go about achieving it?
I once explained this to a group and a man came up to me after the program and said, ”I want to go on for my degree, but I’ll be 48 by the time I finish.” I said: “How old will you be in four years if you don’t go on for your degree?” He looked stunned and I said” hoe bad do you want it?”
3.      Time:
It takes time to develop relationships. Is there good will in your business? Good will brings in business. Time is what is crucial in the development of loyal customers, loyal employees, better friendships, etc.
4.      Talk:
How many people have ever taken a listening course in School? How many have taken a speech course? People love to talk but who listens? Good communication must include them both Is the lack of listening/communication an issue in your company? Doesn’t this “T” relate to transparency in business?
Aren’t these all non negotiables for ethics in business?

Fraud and ethics never the twain shall meet!

by Frank Bucaro

On Tuesday night I watched  new  Frontline on PBS which had a documentary called Untouchables. This program pointed out that no CEO banker who was involved in the mortgage crisis was ever charged, prosecuted, or jailed! Not one! Certain congressmen tried to move the process along to no avail.
How can this be? England is sending another banker to jail soon. The U.S. seems to have looked the other way. I bet these banks, i.e. Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, etc. have an ethics training program. But what good does an ethics program, no matter how good it is, do if the CEOs and Senior Executives of these banks are not ethical, not that they would admit it.
Does anyone really believe that compliance and ethics are the same thing? If they do, it’s more for convenience for their agendas than it is a reality.
 What this program pointed is that nothing could be proven legally, where the buck stopped. Some CEOs were brought before Senate hearings, House hearings and grilled about their involvement in this scandal. Still, not one was charged, arrested or prosecuted.
Never mind the legal issues for those are serious enough,but what they did was unethical! Millions of people have/are suffering because of the greed at any price attitude. The CEO of Countryside had a license plate that said “FUNDIT”. No matter the credit score, or if one had a job,give ervyone a mortgage! How moral is this?
If morale filters down and not up………????
Where is  the accountability for these actions?
The sad thing is, is that people have become increasingly lethargic regarding issues like this. It’s almost permission giving!
Watching this program was informative, frustrating , and calls into question where is ethics in all of this?
Watch this program for yourself. See what you think.

2013 Leadership Ethical Challenges?

by Frank Bucaro

  During this year, I have spoken for a number of companies/organizations, both here
    and  overseas. No matter what the industry, there were four ethical challenges that
    consistently were mentioned that needed to be further addressed with greater
    intensity and commitment by leadership. Here they are for your consideration as you
    plan your meetings, conventions and training initiatives.
1.    The lack of transparency.
 For example, how transparent are the government structures, decision marking processes, policies and procedures in your organization? Knowledge is power. If you want buy in, if you want people to believe and develop a sense of trust, transparency is key in business today.
2.    The lack of trust.
What’s your word worth as leader? Is your word your bond? Why should they trust you? That’s what is called “charism election.” We have a lot of those people in our lives, i.e. your barber, your dentist, your hairdresser, your doctor, your lawyer, and  how did you hear about these people? “Well, someone told us to go to this barber, dentist, hairdresser, etc.”  then there was a development of trust that  kept you going back to them. That’s “charism election.” You willfully trust because they have proven to be trustworthy over the course of the relationship. Trust is the lynchpin of leadership.
3.    The lack of accountability
How well does your organization do in its accountability for anticipating and responding to ethical challenges? Everyone’s accountable, not just responsible.  Here’s the differentiation between being responsible and being accountable. Being responsible is just, I’m responsible so I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. Being accountable  means, I’m accountable to everybody else that I interact with and that adds a whole lot more weight to leadership than just being a responsible leader. Accountability is very crucial.
4.    The lack of stewardship
Here’s the definition of stewardship to consider: stewardship is what we do after
we say we believe.. It’s how your people live out your mission statement, your
values statement, you need to understand in living out that stewardship that
people listen with their eyes, they do not listen with their ears. People will
believe, people will trust, people will be accountable when they see the leader  live the values they’ve been preaching, espousing, writing, incorporating in the mission statement, etc. They listen with their eyes.
So as the economy continues to recover, as we look forward to the New Year, the age of responsibility is now upon us now more than ever and it’s up to all of us to answer these ethical challenges of leadership.
I know what I will be continuing to speak/train on as a focus, on in 2013. What will you?

Compromising values and ethics can make businesses successful, evidently!

by Frank Bucaro

“Somewhere along the way a number of decision makers started to believe that achieving success was worth letting go of their values, no matter what the cost. Some people think that being fair in a business deal makes you weak. Some think that being an ethical person is a nice idea, but not always practical in the business world.”   Redefining Success by W.Brett Wilson
Immanuel Kant stated not to judge a situation by the consequences but only by its motivation.
If this is true:
1.Where did this belief  to separate  values from practice, come from? How is this acceptable?
2. How are decisions like this” justified” by the “powers that be.”
3 .Ethics, then, is seen by these people as something “nice to have” but doesn’t affect the marketplace. How are they “conning” the people around them about the importance of ethics and being ethical? How are they getting away with this? Where is C-Level suite oversight, Board of directors,  who’s not “guarding the door?”
4. How does an ethics or compliance professional deal with this reality and how is it dealt with differently, i.e. compliance , ethics?
I wonder when the “game playing” about ethics and values being important in these companies will stop? I’m afraid  probably not until the money stops coming in!

Failed Leadership is Not About Skills and Degrees

by Frank Bucaro

“Failed leadership is about the lack of commitment, empowerment and transparency.” Bill George

This statement finds its basis in a lack of moral awareness on the part of the leader. For to be morally aware, you need to:

1. Commit to moral principles

2. Develop a sensitivity and the realization that there is risk involved in living out those principles.

3. Have a resolve to, if needed, pay the price.

Moral awareness is:

• When a person recognizes that a moral problem exists or that a moral principles is relevant to s set of circumstances.

• When a person deliberately and reflectively examines one’s actions and understands how they affect the people involved.

• When a person is in touch with one’s innate sense of morality and can feel the moral component of a situation.

So the leadership questions are, how is principle of moral awareness taught, modeled and experienced in your organization? Are moral principles taught in leadership development training? If not, why not?

Lastly, what do you as leader have to lose by incorporating these ideas into your corporate training initiatives?

To have a moral compass, one needs to be a moral agent:

by Frank Bucaro

So what makes up a “moral agent?” Consider these moral guidelines.

1. A moral agent is a human being who acts, is empowered to make choices and consciously makes decisions.

2. The moral agent needs to consider:

• Motive

This is a fundamental concept for a determination of morality. A good motive is a prerequisite to conduct that is approved without qualification.

• Means

This is the agent, instrument or method used to attain an end.

1. How does one choose it and on what is it based?

2. For what purpose, and to what end and why?

• Consequences

These are the effects or results of a moral decision based on a value, but:

1. How is it possible to calculate all the possible consequences of an action?

2. How can one ever be sure that any action will produce the greatest positive result?

3. At what point, does one discern whether one’s action was right or wrong, .i.e. the consequence?, the motivation?

Once one “becomes” a moral agent,then the moral compass becomes the basis for one’s decisions, the development of one’s relationships, and the real purpose for one’s business. The problem is that, this is not an integral part of most ethics training programs and therefore contributes to the legal/ethical issues that exist today. So………..??????

Generational ethics: Who believes what, why and impact on the workplace.

by Frank Bucaro

Here’s a description of my most requested program this Fall. Let me help you add another dimension to your ethics training!

Research tells us that this is the first time in American history that we have four generations in the workplace at the same time. There are, then, a number of different challenges, perspectives and beliefs based on the culture in which each grew up.

To better understand each generation’s view of values, ethics and work, is of great importance in order to create a work environment where each generation is valued for their insights, values, experience and wisdom. We will take a look at a number of cultural issues that formed each generation from a value based, ethics perspective. With that knowledge, then, strategies, techniques and insights will be shared to help develop a work environment based on creating an ”ethical framework” by which each and all generations can understand, work with and embrace.


• What are the cultural influences that formed each generation’s view of values and ethics that each brings into the workplace

• Strategies to help develop a common “ethics framework” to their jobs.

• Foster a positive attitude regarding each generation’s journey to where they are now.

• To focus on creating an environment in which the words, “right and wrong” are not “set in stone,” but to focus more on the values and reason, rather than just the behavior.

• Learn definitions of ethics by which all generation can “buy into”, thereby creating a common “ethical foundation.”

Politics, Leadership, and a Moral Compass

by Frank Bucaro

With the two political parties holding their conventions this week and next, I wonder what place on the agendas, the topics of ethics, morals or character will be referenced in regards to the economy, job creation, foreign affairs, etc.?

Will we hear phrases like: moral awareness, moral responsibility, or moral obligation? Better yet, do we espouse those phrases in our own organizations? Can we expect more of others than maybe we do of ourselves?

We hear how important it is in having a moral compass more and more these days and yet, just what does it take to develop a moral compass?

To develop a moral compass, whether in politics, business, education, or home, discernment, role modeling, and constant reinforcement are necessary. To begin the reflection process, one should ask oneself what is the difference, likeness and order of moral dimensions in order the absolute best policy, promise, values statement, mission statement, rules of the classroom and rules of the house, are made.

Consideration needs to be given to the order, definition and applicability of these to the ultimate good for the common good and this takes time and effort for discernment.

moral awareness.

moral cognition.

moral obligation.

moral responsibility.

moral reasoning.

moral judgment.

This week and next, in particular, promises and visions, will be made from podiums, at conventions, company boardrooms, C-suites, classrooms as school begins and homes as to where we need to go, what we need to do and why we need to believe in those promises.. On what moral basis will those promises be made? How will we know and then what do we do?

In any type of group, people look to their” leaders” for inspiration, guidance, direction, focus and the invitation people to follow them.

One’s moral compass is developed by being fundamentally taught, consistently modeled and reinforced continually. At best, people hope and trust that those leaders believe what they say and not just what they think the people need to hear.

As in all things, time will tell!

“Education Can Make People Moral”

by Frank Bucaro

So said Socrates and still there is much debate about this. As an educator/speaker/ trainer, I believe that this is true, IF…………

The premise of the education is based on the belief that learning links up to people’s experience and is objectively, substantially and reflectively presented and experienced. Only then can any “education” work or take hold.

The operative word here is “can”. Yes, education can, but so much depends on the “teacher” in taking the knowledge, which is the “stuff” and making it relatable in the hearer’s experience, which makes it wisdom. Wisdom only happens eyeball to eyeball! You can’t get wisdom from a book or the internet. That is only knowledge, and knowledge is the only starting point; wisdom needs to be the end result.

Think about this. Did you have many more “good “teachers or mediocre or “bad” teachers in your academic experience? I would bet, good teachers were far and few between and the vast minority for most of us. What made good teachers good? They, not only were well educated in their subjects,they made the subjects come alive, made the subjects relatable even in the midst of classroom rules: i.e. discipline was tough but fair, treated everyone fairly, had a sense of humor, was” there for you,” and was motivated by the belief that teaching the person, was more important than finishing the book, etc.

How is your ethics training initiative providing the environment, the” right” teacher” and a well educated, informed, thought-provoking, empowering, student focused approach?

If this is not an ongoing process by “teachers” that are specifically trained and educated in ethics, values, morals and virtue, then it is not being taught and/or experienced well and then education can’t make people moral.

There are those who are experts in law and compliance who do compliance training and rightly so. But compliance training can’t by itself make people moral or compliant. Who are your experts, educated and trained in ethics, values and virtues that are doing your ethics training. If you want people to be moral, how are you training them to be so?

Your Ethics Training Initiatives Will Be Uneffective If:

by Frank Bucaro

1. It is a “one shot” effort or at best sporadic. For this leaves the impression that this type of training is not that important.

2. You rely too heavily on online training as your main training instrument rather than as a supplemental resource.

3. You don’t separate compliance from ethics. If you don’t you give the perception that they are one in the same, and they are not.

4.Face-to-face ethics training, that is customized with techniques, insights and solid ethical theories, is not the main and constant focus of your training initiatives.

5. Everyone from the CEO down to the new hire participates in the training.