Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ethics? Smeshics.

In my work, I often visit Coast Guard units and talking with leaders about organizational management and organizational leadership. We use the Criteria for Performance Excellence, which provide the organizational leadership and management framework for the Coast Guard. One of the parts of the Criteria asks about ethical considerations:

HOW do you address any adverse impacts on society of your products, services, and operations? HOW do you anticipate public concerns with current and future products, services, and operations? HOW do you prepare for these concerns in a proactive manner, including using resource-sustaining PROCESSES, as appropriate? What are your KEY compliance PROCESSES, MEASURES, and GOALS for achieving and surpassing regulatory and legal requirements, as appropriate? What are your KEY PROCESSES, MEASURES, and GOALS for addressing risks associated with your products, services, and operations?

HOW does your organization promote and ensure ETHICAL BEHAVIOR in all your interactions? What are your KEY PROCESSES and MEASURES or INDICATORS for enabling and monitoring ETHICAL BEHAVIOR in your GOVERNANCE structure, throughout your organization, and in interactions with CUSTOMERS, PARTNERS, and other STAKEHOLDERS? HOW do you monitor and respond to breaches of ETHICAL BEHAVIOR?

I usually get blank stares, like they are ethical and considerate automatically. I'm told they comply with all guidelines and laws; I'm told they always do right.

And then I read this in the Herald Sun:
Residents complaining about damage to their shoreline property want the U.S. Coast Guard to face stiffer penalties for illegal dredging in the guard's harbor.

Federal agencies investigated the illegal use of boat propellers to scour sand at Wrightsville Beach, leading the Coast Guard to establish an environmental training program. The Coast Guard acknowledged the dredging but said it needed to make docking space for patrol boats.
Er, if we were really being ethical, we wouldn't be being accused of illegal dredging.

Perhaps we need to go back to that leadership and management framework and actually thing about it rather than just tossing the batteries over the side.

Oh, sorry, did I say that?

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