** Disclaimer: The following is an ethics commentary. If any of the recommendations conflict with your Company policy, you should adhere to your Company policy. **
Over the past several years our Chief Compliance and Privacy officer, Charlotte Nafziger, has provided the T System Solution partners monthly “quick tips” around ethics, privacy, security, and compliance. This content is just too good not to share with the industry and we are pleased to bring Charlotte’s Corner to the CorroHealth Industry Insights page. Follow this link to connect with her on LinkedIn. You can look forward to hearing from Charlotte monthly on our Industry Insights page.
People aren’t perfect (shocking news, I know.) Everyone can say the wrong thing, make mistakes, rush and create a problem, make people mad, hurt someone’s feelings, forget to do stuff and sometimes, they just straight up do the wrong thing.
From an ethics perspective, the thing to consider when one of the above happens, is determining if someone made a mistake or an intentional decision to do the wrong thing.
Let’s say I go to the store and I load my grocery car up with a week’s worth of groceries. I put a big jug of laundry detergent on that part of the cart that is under the main basket. I get to the checkout, put all of my groceries on the belt, pay and start to leave the store. I look down and notice I forgot to put that detergent on the belt and subsequently, I didn’t pay for it. That is a mistake. Let’s say I shrug it off and walk out of the store without going back to the cashier to pay for it. That is a decision with the intent to steal something without paying for it.
Generally speaking, people understand and accept mistakes. But how do you know whether someone did or didn’t mean to do something wrong? Here are some suggestions:
- Seek to understand. Talk to them, get their perspective on what happened. Does their side of the story sound reasonable? Are they sincere? Is whatever happened a pattern of behavior or a “one off” event?
- Consider the information they had at the time of their action. Was the information correct? Was it complete? Did they have everything they needed to go the right direction?
- Be careful with this one (rationalizing behavior can easily occur here if you aren’t careful) but are other people doing the same thing? I’m not talking about other people who are intentionally doing the wrong thing being an excuse for others to follow suit. But, is what should have been done have any ambiguity behind it? Has the general populous been doing the wrong thing not knowing it was the wrong thing?