Knowing Right from Wrong

A few values that wouldn't go amiss down at the House of Commons - courtesy of my "code of conduct" training:


INTEGRITY: Integrity is at the heart of everything we do. We are honest, ethical and upfront because trust is at the foundation of our relationships with our customers, our communities, our stakeholders and each other.
RESPECT: We know it is critical that we respect everyone at every level of our business. We champion diversity, embrace individuality and listen carefully when others speak.
PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE: We hold ourselves to a very high standard of performance. We prize innovative ideas and the teamwork it takes to make them realities. We never stop asking ourselves how we can make the customer experience better, and every day, we find an answer.
ACCOUNTABILITY: We take responsibility for our actions as individuals, as team members, and as an organization. We work together, support one another and never let the customer — or our co-workers — down. 


What these are, are principles: tools to guide decision-making. Not "rules" - there are far too many real-world scenarios to possibly create rules for in black and white. Instead, with these principles, we use our skill, judgement and honesty to choose what is right and wrong. You can't claim "it was within the rules" if it breaks one of the principles.

Tough huh? Reality, actually, Mr. MP.

I do actually agree with Stephen Fry's blundered attempt (by his own admission) to highlight that there are more important matters of business at hand for politicians to be dealing with. But - and maybe I differ from Stephen here - it raises a significant issue for me: without an even basic level of integrity, do I trust those hands to deal with those bigger matters? I have a bitter taste in my mouth. Personally I have never cheated any expense system, no matter how strong the temptation; even though Stephen reckons most people would. Sad day.  

Here's a couple of scenarios that one can use these principles to judge:

I had some personal expenses on a business trip and didn’t have a personal credit card to pay them. Can I use my business card for personal expenses and reimburse the company later? 

(the answer is "no", of course)

An employee, who travels often and usually documents her expenses well, makes a business trip from Boston to Chicago. On her T&E reimbursement submission she lists a flight valued at 600 but does not have a receipt for the ticket. When questioned, she explained that she has a friend whose family lives in Chicago. “So instead of getting one plane ticket,” she says, “I got two first class train tickets and took my friend with me. It didn’t cost any more, so I figured that it was okay.”  Is this acceptable?

(the answer is also "no", of course)

The latter plays straight into the grey area that many MP's seem to habit - one's mind can only boggle at what actually went on before receipts had to be submitted for expenses claimed - a practice unthinkable in any modern corporation. 

Time to flush out the cistern?