Mike J. Masoud, CACM, CFE, MBA
March 9, 2023
Once upon a time, in a distant land, a company was known for its high ethical standards and solid values. The company had a stellar reputation in the community, and people looked to it as a role model for other businesses to emulate. Things began to change, however, over time.
The company’s leadership began prioritizing profits over values and integrity, and the company’s reputation began to suffer as a result. Employees started feeling pressured to cut corners and engage in unethical behavior to meet unrealistic targets, and the company’s once-vibrant culture deteriorated.
Despite mounting evidence of corruption and misconduct, the company’s internal audit function was understaffed and ineffective. Employees who attempted to speak up about unethical behavior were either silenced or ignored. The company’s external auditor, who had been with the company for over 15 years, appeared to ignore the growing problems.
The company’s decline continued until one day; a whistleblower revealed damning evidence of widespread corruption and fraud. The company’s leadership was revealed, and the once-great company was forced to close its doors permanently.
As a member of your company’s board of directors, you may believe this will never happen to you. However, corruption and misconduct can occur in any business, anywhere in the world. That is why even when cutting corners and prioritizing profits appears more straightforward, it is critical to prioritize integrity, leadership, and values.
Remember, a strong integrity and ethical behavior culture starts with you, the board of directors. It’s up to you to set the tone at the top and ensure that your company’s values are reflected in every decision. Ensure your internal audit function is adequately staffed and effective, and don’t be afraid to ask tough questions of your external auditor.
By prioritizing integrity, leadership, and values, you can help lower the risk of corruption and ensure that your company remains a model for others to follow.
Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash