Would you do that?

We visited the Erebus memorial at Waikumete Cemetery yesterday on the Authentic Leadership Programme. Then we travelled back to Waitakere Estate through the beautiful Scenic Drive and watched a powerful movie of corporate greed and fraud.

Our natural instincts are that we wouldn’t get involved in that sort of activity – we wouldn’t cover up the mishandling of the flight path that might have caused a plane crash – we wouldn’t sacrifice our values and integrity for money, would we?

We’d hope not. But circumstances can make people do things that they wouldn’t think they are capable of. I know, I’ve seen it in multiple fraud cases over the years. When I was at the Serious Fraud Office, most of the people we prosecuted didn’t start out as crooks. But a combinations of circumstances (pressure or greed), opportunity (no one can see) and justification (I deserve it or it’s mine) can turn ordinary, honest men and women into criminals.

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So what to do about it? I think of my values as my valuables – I try not to leave them lying around, I protect them and I know where they are at all times. Of course there’s a lot more to it but that’s a good start.

We should also pay attention to our lies. Sound confronting? Wise leaders are intentionally clear about their communication and don’t use weasel words that allow for mis-interpretation.

As I write this the leaders on the Programme are recording those five ethical considerations that they won’t allow to be compromised. Then they’re drafting a legacy.

One goes with the other.

Stephen

Sacrificing your reputation for short term gain

When I visited and stayed at the FBI Academy at Quantico, Virginia in 2000 before 9/11 I was issued with an access card to get around the facility. Part way through the stay I mislaid the card. I went to the public reception and a harried receptionist thrust a box of cards at me. “Take what you need“she said, so I reissued myself with a card and carried on. She had no idea who I was, whether I was entitled to be there, whether I should have access or if I did what my purpose was. You wouldn’t have needed a leaker inside to find the secrets of the FBI then!

I assume things are a bit tighter now. It certainly seems that way traveling through LA.

Since the FBI Director James Comey released information that a batch of emails on an unrelated investigation may be relevant to Hillary Clinton (but that he had no actual idea whether or not they were), it’s come out that FBI Agents have been leaking information to the media because they dislike Clinton.

The FBI has always held a special place in the world of law enforcement. It has led and continues to lead, many facets of forensics – in fraud, technology, weaponry – and the physical environment. It has shown itself to be impartial, thoroughindependent and thorough.

That deserved reputation has been built up over decades by thousands of Agents on thousands of case.

That reputation is at serious risk right now, and may be damaged for some time if the allegations of leaking and partiality prove to be true (or even not disproven).

Whatever you might have in your trust bank can unwind a great reputation quickly by hasty actions in the heat of the moment. For law enforcement independence is often the first thing that fails.

Whatever your big thing is, treasure it and don’t give it up for short term gain.

Stephen

 

 

The value in a road trip

Driving from Avignon to Florence is one amazing drive. Viaduct follows tunnel follows viaduct. The count on the trip in 2013 was over 150 tunnels. The road is narrow compared to most New Zealand motorways and expressways – there isn’t a wide verge that is the norm here. The driving is fast, accurate and everyone keeps right except when overtaking. I loved the cars too: Fiats, Lancias (we don’t get them here now), Porsches, Ferraris, Range Rovers, oh and of course a few BMWs.

Acting out our freedom value
Acting out our values

Despite the fact I commute mainly on two wheels now (see next blog), I love a road trip. The other day I was in Taupo and with the traffic light on the Waikato Expressway, drivers mainly keeping left, on cruise control I had a mini relapse back to Italy,

There were four of us for about 40 kilometres –  me, a Chrysler V8, a BMW motorcycle and a fourth car I didn’t identify – all travelling in convoy, in respect, at steady speed. A great part of a great road trip.

In the past I’ve reflected on the joy of the road trip. Whenever I’ve thought about the ideal holiday, car travel comes to mind.

I’ve enjoyed driving since the day I first drove on my 15th birthday. That feeling of freedom behind the wheel on the open road is still with me.

What’s your most important value? What do you do to exercise that value to bring meaning and joy?

Tauranga on Friday! Can’t wait.

Stephen

Competition for Carlton

Saving up my paper round money I bought the beautiful Raleigh Royale 5-speed from Linwood Cycles, I think for about $145. It was a lovely machine, I wanted a ten speed but this was the machine on offer at the right time. It got stolen once by local ratbags (who turned into more serious criminals I learned), but I recovered it. So when I traded it up for a Carlton Competition from the bike shop in Papanui Road, I memorised the serial number and for some strange reason that number has stayed with me.

Rides up Dyers Pass Road, all around the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula, no helmet but toe clips to add power. I was so taken with it I kept it in my bedroom. Gleaming white and fast.

A few decades have gone by and I’m back on a road bike. The principle is the same, but a few things have improved. Weight, combined brake and gear shift levers, smoother gear shifts and a computer that tells me things I don’t yet know what they are (but apparently if I keep it at 80 then I’m having a good workout I think). The tyres seem pretty skinny and although there’s a puncture repair kit under the seat the Uber App might be the solution if I’m on my own when the inevitable happens! Chris at Cyco told me that you don’t glue patches onto the inner tube any more! Crushed. Toe clips have been replaced by clip in shoes and so far so good, I haven’t forgotten to come out at the lights.

Cycling is really so so much fun and being back on a commuter bike for the last 18 months I’ve learned quite a bit, with mostly good experiences. The road bike though, takes me back to being a teenager and the freedom I felt on the bike then is back.

I never articulated to myself at the time that it was freedom-giving, but for sure that’s what it was then, and what it is now.

The Carlton was a beauty at the time, just as the new one is special now.

So although Trek won’t be coming into the bedroom anytime soon, it’s a link back to an early experience of a most important value that so many don’t have.

Stephen

p.s.  Linwood Cycles is still there, by the look of Google Maps in the same place.