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Governance, Risk Management, and Compliance: It Can't Happen to Us—Avoiding Corporate Disaster While Driving Success by Richard M. Steinberg

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Being Legal, Honest, Candid, and . . .

Critical to a corporate culture founded in integrity and ethical values is how people within the organization communicate with one another as well as with external parties. We all know there's a significant difference in providing technically accurate information versus communicating in a way that provides a true picture of what's really relevant.

Several years ago a business columnist noted, and I'm paraphrasing, that honesty has been downgraded to mere compliance with contracts and laws, a demand too easily satisfied, as opposed to candor, which is bluntly facing the facts and exhibits the qualities of light in a dark room. Taking a look at the dictionary, we find that candid means “honest or direct in a way that people find either refreshing or distasteful and free from prejudice or bias.”

Certainly when we are involved in discussions with our own company's personnel and others, we want people to communicate using the characteristics of candor. Unfortunately, too often that doesn't happen. You may recognize some of the following interactions:

  • Employee to manager. How many times have we seen an inexperienced employee bring forth what he or she considered a great idea, working hard to sell it upstream in the organization? The facts are accurate, and there's no blatant dishonesty in presentation. But there's bias, in omission or skewed emphasis and focus. Getting personal for a moment, I'm sure in my early days as an associate in the firm ...

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