The Week In Ethics Blog

Wells Fargo Culture Lessons 8 Months Later

The Week in Ethics

Wells Fargo Culture Lessons 8 Months Later

Sunday, May 21, 2017

After eight months of headlines, with likely more to come, Wells Fargo’s consumer fraud (affecting at the very least two million customers) echoes so many other corporate crises….what some of us did isn’t who we are. The drama playing out at the bank underscores the importance of companies regularly addressing how their values and actions […]

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Corporate Citizenship in a Trump Administration

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Circumstances have caused an increasing number of companies and CEOs to speak out in recent years on hot-button social issues that previously weren’t part of traditional corporate citizenship. For example, nearly 400 companies filed an amicus brief on marriage equity with the Supreme Court, and employers and organizations banded together using economic leverage to fight legislation discriminating on the […]

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How Owning Purpose Tames the Unexpected

Friday, December 30, 2016

Benjamin Franklin was brilliant, but in 1789 he forgot to include an essential element in his famous remark, “…in this world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes.” He should have said “nothing can be certain except death, taxes AND dealing with the unexpected.” We use religion and spirituality to deal […]

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What We Can Learn About Optimism & Leadership from Simon Sinek

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

“A good leader doesn’t only inspire us to have confidence in what they can do. A great leader inspires us to have confidence in what we can do.”  Together is Better: A Little Book of Inspiration (Simon Sinek, 2016) The adage “what we focus on, we get more of” is as true in leadership as anything. And, conversely, […]

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Wells Fargo’s Next Move? 10 Suggestions

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Update: See my 12/10/16 Business Ethics column on Where Wells Fargo Goes From Here . Update: In October 2016 Timothy Sloan replaced Chairman/CEO John Stumpf, becoming CEO and President. The chairman role was split and given to independent lead director Stephen Sanger. Update: September 27, 2016: Wells Fargo Independent directors issued a statement  they will […]

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Women Leaders Galvanize Detroit Around Justice

Sunday, November 8, 2015

When things fall apart for lack of human and financial resources, becoming overwhelming, the key that enables leaders to transform the impossible to solvable is a compelling sense of greater purpose that is shared. An illustration is the story of how Kym Worthy, Prosecutor of Wayne County, Michigan raised, and is a catalyst in efforts […]

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The Way Forward from Public Shaming

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Students in a middle school painted words important to them on rocks placed under a tree. “Patience,” “courage,” “strength,” and “peace” were scattered under the limbs. However the lineup of a yellow heart, “tolerance” and “healing” held my eye during a walk in 2013; they were an antidote to the lack of humanity words as […]

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Project 22

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day in the United States is more than remembrance; it is also a catalyst for a discussion that needs to occur throughout the year. As a day, it is about respect and remembrance honoring those who’ve died in wars or military actions as well as remembering those dead who were also veterans. However, it […]

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How Market Basket’s Board Misread Employee Engagement

Saturday, July 26, 2014

In a battle of cousin against cousin, how important is the culture of a family owned business?  Thousands of voices among the 25,000 employees and the customers who shop at the 71 New England locations of Market Basket (a supermarket chain with $4 billion in annual sales) have made clear in their rallies and online […]

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Marathon Runners and Lessons of Resilience

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The 2014 Boston Marathon grew into a symbol. It wasn’t just a race; it was about facing down hate and destruction with community and courage. It showed how runners, spectators, individuals and families affected by the 2013 bombing at the Marathon finish line handled tragedy and came to embody and teach resilience. It is also […]

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Leading by Example Makes Change Real

Photo: Treasury Secretary Paul H. O’Neill appears before the House Ways and Means Committee, February 2001. Wikimedia Commons. The pandemic’s challenges escalate pressures on company leadership at every level. Leaders who ask questions, listen and genuinely value employees make it easier for employees to do their best work. The most powerful tool of leadership is leading […]

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Finding Inspiration in a Pandemic

Inspiration in a crisis comes from vulnerability and resilience. COVID-19 has increased leaders’ challenges in creating more engagement. Finding inspiration in a pandemic is an opportunity for leaders to rally their troops and help each other get through these difficult times. Leaders Reduce Harm What we’re experiencing highlights the importance of community and how we […]

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Making Ethics Real Makes Leadership Real

What is the key to effective leadership? The answer is ethics. However, if this doesn’t seem an easy sell…stay with it. Making ethics real makes leadership real. We’ll look at four ways to bring this home. First, some context. Ethical Failures When ethics isn’t a key driver in an organization, the fallout from ethical lapses […]

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I’ve worked with Gael on some of her business ethics research, particularly in corporate governance and leadership. She has a unique ability to transform important and complex ideas into real world models for business practices. I’ve profited greatly from our collaboration.

W. Michael Hoffman PhD
Executive Director, Center for Business Ethics, and Hieken Professor of Business and Professional Ethics, Bentley University