Practicing Business Ethics Is As Normal As Breathing Air
VNR500 (giới thiệu)
"…if you ask any American CEO about the business ethics, they won’t think too much because the concept is as normal as breathing air and drinking water." said Dale Carnegie Chairman, Mr. Peter Handal in the round-table discussion with VietNamNet and VNR500 on August, 17th.
Please follow part 1 of the round table discussion and participate debating this topic with VNR500. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Peter Handal and Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu at the online discussion with VNR500 of VietNamNet. (Photographed by Le Anh Dung).
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: It is a pleasure for VNR500 round-table discussion to have a special guest, Mr. Peter Handal, Chairman and CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates, a non-governmental organization with a long reputation of consultation, education and training business management.
Most of us have heard of the book "How to win friends and influence people" and Dale Carnegie. Therefore, knowing about this round-table discussion, a lot of readers sent mails to us about the morality in business. Would you please tell us the situation of business ethics in America at the moment, especially after the global economic crisis?
Mr. Peter Handal: At first, I want to thank VNR500 because this is the first time I attend a online round-table discussion like this, I has always waited for this occasion. There is something I want to share that is Dale Carnegie organization is celebrating our third anniversary to be present in Vietnam.
" Humanism relationship between human beings is the core factor in business leadership. We should know how to share responsibility and support staffs to achieve the proposed objectives. Talking to employee with the earnest heart makes them ready to devote to the success of the company. And leaders need to learn how to listen and understand. When listening, do not hurry thinking how to respond. When conversing, do not immediately criticize but positively begin with a sincere attitude, fully understand the opposite person’s values.
We realized a very large potential in Vietnam in the coming years, because from the very first steps, we have established good relationships with companies here; the demand for our services is very strong. I am very glad to be here today and hope that I will be able to come back here next time.
Now, I will give a straightforward answer for your question about ethics and values in American business environment; this problem has become more and more important as time goes by, it is not a sudden or coincident matter required to be addressed, people are getting more and more concerned about it.
From a business point of view, a standard approach that American companies are using is to set a value system as a compass. For example, in our Dale Carnegie, we must live with all the principles Dale Carnegie preaches. They are honesty and sincerity regarding to high moral values.
Every company has a value system as such; they record it in staff handbooks and give them to everybody. Whenever someone starts working in the company, they show the handbook and say these are their values and how to achieve it.
A more important thing is how to achieve these values. Firstly, CEO, the company leader has to be a good model for employees by living in compliance with those values.
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: Is the reality in America that perfect?
Mr. Peter Handal: Obviously, this is the ideal model. In most cases, this model is correct in reality. It is like an arc, people who are at the middle of the arc practice correctly the principle of values, but there are also people who want shortcut or quicker ways by doing wrong things.
Few years ago, a negative case in US was CEO of Boeing, the world’s biggest airplane manufacturer. He had a love affair with a female colleague in the same Boeing company. Boeing leader committee had to fire him right after the scandal was exposed.
Or like Mark Hurd, CEO of HP. He was suspected to have affairs with a female working partner, a subcontractor for HP. Even though the suspicion was wrong, it was discovered that he gave her 20,000USD, which is unsuitable with HP principles. At last, he lost his CEO position for HP.
During 5 years Mr. Hurd holding the highest leader position in HP, the stock price of the largest manufacturer of laptops and printers had double-increased, raising the capital market value of the company more than 40 billions USD. Also in this time, he had developed HP to a world IT corporation with the largest sales.
However, HP leader committee was still ready to say goodbye to Mark Hurd. Mark stopped working and the company value on the stock market immediately tragically dropped; I do not remember exactly but it is about 15% of the value. But the Management Board was still keen to set an example for other CEOs.
In other countries, the usual moral violations are bribery or corruption… But these reasons are not popular in America. The problem in US relates to sexual affairs, and it belongs to human nature.
In my opinion, the most important thing is companies should have a set of principles clearly noted down and obeyed by everybody.
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: There are many readers inquiring about many violations by corporations and companies, especially governmental companies are originated from the corruption of the government. How about in US?
Mr. Peter Handal: This situation in US is not so serious, you know that there are companies managed by the government after the consequence of the economic crisis such as CitiBank, GM. But these are unusual cases.
Considering the corruption of the government or the company, I think it is only an individual corruption. I do think about the situation where the government negatively influencing on the companies or otherwise. This is simply individual nature.
I only often see in the private sector environment, moral violations are quickly punished and even more strongly; in the state sector, it is not always like that.
"A company leader must be the best model for employee by living according to those values" said Mr. Peter Handal. (Photographed by Le Anh Dung)
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: If you are CEO for Vietnamese companies, what are your 3 basic principles you require from all companies?
Mr. Peter Handal: I will concentrate in 3 points. Firstly, they are values, morality and everything we represent as a human being. It is very important for any business activities.
Secondly, it is strategy; every company needs to have a clear plan, where we are at this moment, what we want to be in the next 5 years, how we do to reach that target. A reasonable strategic plan is very important.
Thirdly, it is human resource. I think, it is necessary to treat all employees so that they feel attached to the company. No CEO want an employee to come and go without thinking about the job he is doing; no one wants such a staff, we want people enthusiastic with the job and considering the company as the wonderful working place, people saying they want to sell more, people wanting to persuade people this is the best place to work.
Their hearts and souls must be placed in the job, not only their bodies. Morality, strategy and human resource are three combining factors make people realize whether they like their jobs or not.
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: I am ready to lobby shareholders to vote you for the Chief Executive Officer when you put humanism first, I think that without humanism foundation, CEO does not work for anyone’s benefit but his own; so why do you place humanism first, because you think Vietnamese businesses are lack of it or other reasons?
Mr. Peter Handal: I did not specifically talk about Vietnamese businesses, I place morality first because I think it is what we should do and Dale Carnegie’s members always do, we are very strict and respectful about this. We really think so.
In 11 years I work for this organization, there were 3 moral violation cases, we have staffs specializing in morality, and we voted 3 staffs for the role. If there is anyone saying something is going wrong, he will come to the morality staff. Trust and confidentiality are obeyed, no one knows whoever say or whatever is said.
Staffs responsible for morality are usually high-ranking leaders, they will investigate what really happened; we strictly follow the procedure so that anyone who concern about someone’s moral problems even mine can call the morality staff. This was also one of the first thing I did when I started working at Dale Carnegie.
Big companies in US always have such systems. Everybody does not discuss much about it because it is as extremely normal as air breathing. Therefore, if you ask any American CEO about this matter, they will not think so much because it is as ordinary as drinking water.
Reporter Nguyen Quang Thieu: A question from a reader, everyone knows business requires morality but if in a certain environment where success needs immorality, how do you interpret this and are there any solutions?
Mr. Peter Handal: You had better leave that environment. It is a world different to the reality I live in and may be it is difficult for me to imagine such a circumstance.
Translated by Dale Carnegie Vietnam