Tagged: Ethics

Ethics and Simplicity

Groucho Marx was (and is) my hero. No one else had a sharper wit.   One of my favorite scenes was in Duck Soup when Groucho conducts a meeting as the President of Fredonia. Here is the clip. In particular, when Groucho is given a report and looks through it and says, “Why, even a four-year-old child could understand this report.” He then flips the report...

Masters of Disaster Podcast — Michael Volkov — Ethics Makes Good Business Sense

I am excited to support Leona Lewis, a compliance consultant, who has launched a new podcast — Masters of Disaster, in which she interviews professionals in the fields of risk, ethics and compliance. I was happy to be interviewed by Leona several weeks ago.  The podcast is available here.  My interview focuses on the importance of ethics and creating an ethical culture. Leona is a...

Ethical Business Decision-Making

An effective ethics and compliance program, by definition, translates into ethical business decisions. Believe it or not, to bring ethics into the equation you do not need to be a philosopher, historian, or professional ethicist. Ethical decision-making is a discipline. It is an approach to identifying and resolving issues in the business context. Of course, it occurs in many other contexts. Nor can ethical business...

The GM Criminal Settlement — Disappointing

The Justice Department has to do something about its timing – and more importantly, they need to reexamine exactly what they did (and are doing) with the criminal prosecution of GM. If you want a perfect example of talking out of both sides of your mouth, the last two weeks put the focus right on the leadership of the Justice Department.  The picture is not...

The Two Essential Requirements for Tone-At-The-Top

Everyone likes to give advice on the importance of tone-at-the-top. Like many things in life, it is easy to talk about but much more difficult to implement. There are lots of ways to describe or analyze the same issue. In the end the result has to be reached. To boil it down, tone-at-the-top requires leadership. That is pretty obvious. But, what kind of leadership? This...

Promoting Your Culture: Communications and Measurement

As everyone knows, I am an advocate for promoting and maintaining a company’s culture of ethics and compliance (not compliance and ethics). The best investment a company can make is to create and maintain a positive commitment to an ethical culture. I often repeat myself (just ask my wife and kids), but a culture of ethics is far more important than well-designed and effective policies...

You Cannot Buy an Ethical Corporate Culture

I do not mean to be facetious or snarky, but I am concerned about organizations that sell or promote their ability to certify or give a seal of approval to a company as an “ethical” company.  Even more troubling (or perhaps misleading) is the certification: “world’s most ethical companies.” With the growth of ethics and compliance, you can expect that charlatans, greedy snake oil sales...

The Time is Now to Amend the US Sentencing Guidelines on Corporate Ethics and Compliance Programs

We all know the importance of the sentencing guidelines and the impact the revisions, especially the 2010 amendments, have had on corporate governance and compliance. The history behind the sentencing guidelines tracks the rise of the compliance profession. The time is now for the Sentencing Commission to launch a further review of the guidelines to reflect the rapid changes in the compliance profession. The Sentencing...

New E-Book: The Art of the Internal Investigation

I am pleased to announce the release of my new e-book — The Art of the Internal Investigation — by Corporate Compliance Insights.  To download a free copy, please visit here. Conducting an internal investigation in today’s risky enforcement environment requires numerous — if not continuous — judgement calls.  Stakes are high, and answers are never black-and-white. In this free eBook, Michael Volkov wields his...

A Hands-On CEO and Support for Compliance

A compliance program without CEO support is almost doomed to be ineffective. We all live by the standard of an “effective” ethics and compliance program. I am always reluctant to embrace a dogmatic expression but the support, and hands-on participation of a CEO, can be the difference between an effective and ineffective compliance program. A CEO not only has to embrace the importance of an...