No values? Here's a promotion!

My insight into how those with no values are promoted: If a supervisor instructs an employee to do something, then an employee with values will push back if the action conflicts with their values. The employee with no values will immediately execute the instruction without hesitation. From the supervisor’s point of view it can look like the former employee is obstinate and the latter employee is loyal.

Of course this false view can easily be corrected by remembering that it is final outcomes that count and ensuring that long term performance is measured and reviewed. Not to mention that the mirage of the loyal employee is the foundation of the fraudulent employee (no values, remember?).

I got this insight from a young compliance officer who was struggling to do his job and keep it. I was told that a bank CEO was let go precisely because of this. The list continues. Is this a self-reinforcing downward spiral? Of course what’s true of governance is also true of risk-taking.