Challenges and Opportunities:Creating an Ethical Business in the Twenty-First Century Earl Maxwell Austin, Texas email@example.com www.mlrpc.com Austin Community College Assembly January 7, 2005
Overview • Past three years have not been good years for CPA’s and Catholic priests • I’ll briefly discuss events of the past three years • What can leaders do to improve the ethical behavior of people around us?
Unbelievable things have happened in the past three years • NASDAQ collapsed and .coms became .bombs • 9-11 • Enron collapsed • Worldcom collapsed • Andersen collapsed • Corporate CEO’s led away in handcuffs • Congress passed Sarbanes-Oxley
What resulting changes have occurred in the corporate world? • No CPA firm wants to be the next Andersen • No CEO wants to be the next Ken Lay • Fewer executives are interested in stock options • CEOs and CFOs are spending lots of money on Sarbox 404 studies • Many non-profit boards are adopting the spirit of Sarbox • During the past year and a half, fifteen groups have asked me to speak about business ethics
What can leaders do? • Change the nature of dialogue in our organizations • Discuss with your people your own ethical guidelines and values • “If you’re about to do something you wouldn’t want your Mother to read about in tomorrow’s paper, don’t do it.” • “If you’re about to do something you wouldn’t want to discuss with your family at tomorrow’s breakfast table, don’t do it.”
Other ethical guidelines • “Do what is right. You will please some people and you will astonish the rest.” -- Mark Twain • “Ethical conduct is being honest, telling the truth, and doing what you said you were going to do.” -- Barbara Jordan • The first ethical decision most of us will make each day is to be on time.”-- Barbara Jordan
Maxwell Locke & Ritter’s philosophies • For the past fourteen years we have begun our meetings with several transparencies • These belief statements have become our business creed and our foundation
Our Philosophy We care for our clients. We care for each other.
Maxwell Locke & RitterCore Values Our firm is built on a foundation of people who are dedicated to the following values: • Creating an environment where people do things because they want to, not because they're afraid not to • Encouraging open communication • Committing themselves and living up to their commitments • Treating everyone with honesty, dignity and respect • Serving our clients with the highest regard for competency, compassion and courtesy • Actively participating in the community • Treating others as they would like to be treated
“If it ever comes to a choice between my reputation and my income – I hope I’m smart enough to choose to protect my reputation.”
Questions for leaders • What are your personal core values? • How are they aligned with those of your organization? • How many of your people have a written copy of their core values? • How is the nature of dialogue changing in your organizations? • What are you doing to change the dialogue and resulting actions in your organization?