Verne Harnish summarized it in his recent "Verne's Insights" blog, "Frank Rich at the NY Times, beat me to the label (I added the word "big"), but in reflecting on the last decade, it felt like one big con job! 9/11, Wall Street, Big Pharma, the Government; plus Madoff, Woods, and the space-balloon fiasco -- I've never felt more lied to and deceived than in this last decade, though the increased transparency provided by the internet likely means the big cons are just being exposed more."

What can you do to protect yourself going forward from the big cons and other ethical misconduct?  Here are some practical pointers:

* Establish a code of ethics.  Does your firm have a code.  If not, create one.  If so, post it and review it with your people.  As a member of the Institute of Management Consultants, I pledge to abide by the IMC Code of Ethics (http://www.imcusa.org/?page=ETHICSCODE

* Surround yourself with ethical people.  Make sure you hire people people who live up to your standards.  Include such a pledge in their employment contract. Are you a member of a professional organization with a solid code of ethics?  You should be. 

*  Sharpen your ethics knowledge.  Recently I prepared for, took, and passed an ethics exam from the IMC.  I thought I knew a lot about ethical behavior, since integrity is my highest core value.  I learned a lot in the process.  What can you do to explore and learn from ethical dilemna?

*    Attend the Friday 1/15/2010 "Ethics and Business Success" IMC breakfast in Denver.  Dr. Kevin O'Brien, ethics expert, will lead an interesting program at the Denver Athletic Club from 7-9am.  Learn more and register at www.imcusa/coevents

Avoid the Big Con in 2010.  Take action to protect yourself and your company from ethical misconduct.  You will reap more rewards and results in your pursuit of passionate purpose.

Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com and www.PursuitofPassionatePurpose.com)

@2010.  All Rights Reserved.



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