With a few notable exceptions, our film industry (and society, in general) loves to play on the stereotype of the bad boy in business. From Marlon Brando as Vito Corleone to Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort, we cannot help but be charmed by their seemingly boyish disregard for the rules.
Life often imitates art and vice versa. Big businesses the world over have “bent” the rules wherever possible for their personal gain. Whether it is offshore tax evasion, sweatshops in the Far East or overstating your profits to your shareholders, there are many opportunities to play the bad boy and win at the expense of others.
For a big, faceless corporation, if it is seen as the “done thing”, then the individuals involved practically absolve themselves of responsibility and go with the flow. This is morally reprehensible of course, and some of the biggest tragedies of the last 100 years have come about for exactly this reason.
People need to stand up and be counted. Otherwise our societies will slide deeper into the mire. If the individual moral compass starts to slide, then we have no more hope for a just and fair society or business climate.
You cannot control others or tell them what to do – they will make their own decisions. However, you can be true to yourself. If you feel that something is wrong, why shouldn’t you speak up? If enough of you speak up on a regular enough basis, that is enough to engender change higher up the hierarchy.
There was a case recently at the UK Retailer Tesco where they routinely misreported profits over a significant length of time. The CEO and a number of Trading Directors were involved. I won’t even speculate as to the origin of this deceit, but the aftermath has rocked a UK corporate giant to the core. The Directors involved have all left the business, and their names will forever more be associated with the scandal.
Not doing the right thing is often an easier choice to make than doing the right thing. However, the consequences of this could be with you forever.
Working in recruitment, being honest with clients and candidates is something that should be second nature, Patrick Broderick the first trainer I had in recruitment once said to me “all you have in recruitment is your ethics”.
We are dealing with the hopes and dreams of people – they deserve a truthful opinion. Our clients rely on us to find the best possible candidates for their roles. In a candidate-led market, we ensure that they find the best-fit person for them and never overpromise like many of our competitors.
If a candidate has certain weak points, I will tell them. If they are over-ambitious, I will tell them. I will give them feedback as to why they may not have got a role and help them to make the best career choices.
If a client is unrealistic with their expectations, we will set them at the right level. If they don’t understand the nature of the market, we won’t sugar coat it. If they insist on perfection, we will even walk away. We’ll do our best, but, in our industry, perfection is a pipe dream.
With an honest person, what you see is what you get. No frills, just plain old common sense. When two honest people are working together, the optimal result is always possible.
If you would like to discuss this short article in more detail then please connect with me and let's chat.