Archive for October, 2012

 

WORKSHOP AVAILABLE: “IDENTIFYING, RESOLVING, AND PREVENTING INTEGRITY PROBLEMS”

October 27th, 2012
Jim Thomas

Professional speaker and seminar leader, Jim Thomas, and Alliance for Integrity, LLC (AFI) are offering a Workshop developed to address a critical need. In today’s super-charged, fast-paced market place, its lessons are more valuable than ever.

Designed for businesses, corporations, and professionals alike, the Workshop delivers time-tested tools: (1) for preventing litigation, violations, fines, and penalties; (2) for eliminating conflicted interests, lack of accountability, loss of credibility, diminished standards, self-dealing, fabrication, scandals, and ethical fiascoes.

The Workshop draws from Jim’s expertise, years of experience, study, and research. After illuminating the real meaning of Performance with Integrity, the program presents a collection of cases based on actual events from a wide range of circumstances. Attendees analyze and assess them. Did the parties exercise Integrity? From which end of the transaction? Did they breach Integrity? Was a better path open to them? Did they deliver as promised, when promised, in the manner promised? Did they demonstrate that HOW they perform is as important as WHAT they perform?

The Workshop emphasizes pay offs when Integrity is preached and practiced. Among them: heightened trust and reputation; a magnification of the company, firm, group, and brand. Additional benefits are loyal staff, employees, customers and clients; confident investors, share holders, and partners; a sharper edge among competitors.

Engage this Workshop as an additional means of gaining Integrity’s everlasting assets and advantages. Strengthen the enterprise, organization, or practice from top to bottom. For a date go to the website allianceforintegrity.com. Or call Jim at 478 272 8480 or 706 395 6223.

IN THE CORPORATE CULTURE: THE HIGH COST OF EVADING THE TRUTH—THE JACK IN THE BOX CASE

October 22nd, 2012
Jim Thomas

In any organization, suppression of the truth, in all of its myriad variations, is a lethal adversary of Integrity. Without Integrity good works, products, and services find fewer and fewer takers. The competitive edge is diminished and damaged. The penalties, too, are often high.

Note the case of Jack in the Box, as reported in Johnson and Phillips’ book, Absolute Honesty, American Management Association, 2003.

The case arose during a period marked by contaminated and poisoned products appearing in the market place. The Tylenol case was among them. That company’s upright chief executive minced no words and told the unfettered truth, while removing its product from the market. It came back stronger than ever because consumers believed they could trust it.

Jack in the Box adopted a different approach. From 1992 through January 1993 accounts were publicized that contaminated beef served at company stores was linked to the illness of 700 people. The Center for Disease Control in Atlanta concluded the culprit originated in tainted meat. The material was insufficiently cooked at company restaurants.

Washington State Health Department confirmed findings at Disease Control. Whereupon Jack in the Box immediately denied all responsibility. It claimed its sickened customers had dined at other restaurants before becoming ill. Six days of silence followed.

President Robert Nugent of Jack in the Box admitted his company was in fact the source of the contaminated food. However, he combined the admission with an attack on the Health Department’s failure to distribute food handling regulations in a timely manner.

His approach proved ill-advised. Public response was as negative as it was disastrous. Newspaper editors far and wide accused Nugent and his company of shirking its responsibilities. By the end of March 1993 the debacle had cost Jack in the Box in excess of $30million in lost revenue. Liability damages eventually exceed $100 million.

Harry Beckwith, one of the country’s leading authorities on marketing, author of the acclaimed book, Selling the Invisible, has this advice for his clients: “Invest in and preach Integrity. And tell the truth, always. For even when it hurts it will help.”

A Mistakenly Shipped Cargo and the Tenets of Integrity

October 12th, 2012
Jim Thomas

[This incident transpired in interstate commerce in the early 1950s. Only names are disguised.]

 Broad River Kennels in Kentucky traded in hunting dogs. It advertised nationally in Field & Stream and other outdoor publications. Wording of its ads was limited. They listed hounds for sale by type, breed, and cost. Payment F.O. B. by rail.  Buyer was granted a ten-day trial.  If the hound proved unsatisfactory, buyer could return the animal for a refund, provided he paid cost of shipment. No other words appeared in the ad save those stating “first class hunters.”

 Hank Jones, a Georgia resident, was a serious hunter and hounds man. Relying on a Broad River ad, he ordered via letter a Blue tick Coon Hound, listed for $50, plus shipping costs.  In due course, the animal arrived by rail in the customary wooden crate. Shipping documents stated the dog’s name was “Rattler.” The hound was not a Blue tick.  However he was a good looking dog, lanky, red-ticked, with a tongue like church bells.

  Jones liked the looks of the animal and his deep-throated tongue. He neither objected nor gave notice of the kennel’s failure to ship a Blue tick. Instead, he paid price and costs and assumed ownership. Payment was received and accepted.

  In field trials, Rattler promptly proved a dynamite coon hound.  Jones recalled that years earlier he had seen one similar hound. With help of a librarian, he identified the animal as an American English Coon Hound.

  Two weeks after expiration of the ten-day trial period, Jones received a certified letter from Bill Boswell, owner of Broad River Kennels. The letter stated Rattler was one of Boswell’s personal hunting dogs. He had paid $1500 for him three years earlier and had the “papers” to prove it. An inexperienced worker mistakenly shipped the wrong hound. He asked Jones to return the dog, with an offer to refund the purchase price and pay shipping and handling costs.

 Jones refused. He asserted that purchase and sale of the dog, in every respect,     was an above-board, arms-length transaction. Rattler was his, fair and square. He intended to keep it, and did. 

 The Cardinal Virtue of Integrity turns on doing the thing one should do because it is right, notwithstanding no rule, law, or regulation require it. Justice Potter Stewart of the U.S. Supreme Court wrote “There is a difference between what you have a right to do, and what is the right thing to do.

 

 In light of the foregoing:  How do you come down? Did Jones act with Integrity? Was he justified in keeping Rattler? Or, should he have complied with the original owner’s request and returned the animal?