Build or burn?

Ethics, where do you draw the line

Here are some ethical questions I’ve faced with the answers I gave.  Don’t judge me too harshly.

Dilemma My Answer Comment
1) If your employer could guarantee you would pass your professional exams first time, would you work for free? Yes The person who this question was actually put to answered no.  He showed greater strength of character than me, but it was an interview.  You can say whatever you like.
2) If you don’t pay this bribe, your competitor will and will steal the business. Yes We called it ‘facilitating payments’.
3) An employee has announced plans to retire.  He’s had a so-so year but there has been a practice before of giving such people big pay rises in their last year because it will boost their pension (we had a final salary pension at the time). No He’s had a whole career to build up his final salary.  I don’t want to reward so-so performance, no matter what stage in the person’s career.
4) You want to buy a struggling company and know if you buy up some of its debt you can force it into default and bankruptcy thereby buying the assets for a lot less than if you approached the company to purchase it as a going concern. No Although I’ve worked with lawyers and consultants who would say yes, I think this is messing about with people’s lives and bad practice.
5) If you withhold shipments in the final weeks of the year you can ‘transfer’ the profit to the following year thereby flattering next year’s result. No It only ends up confusing the true underlying position for the whole of the following year.
6) If you cut staff numbers by 10% you could increase profits by 5% Yes My philosophy is to cut staff numbers as low as possible but, for the staff that remain, pay generously and invest in their training and development.
7) Is there a limit to executive pay? Yes A CEO’s basic salary should not exceed what an average person could make in a lifetime:  £1,104,000 (2018).
8) During a recent business trip you buy a sandwich and coffee, paying £5.00.  Do you claim it back on expenses? No You earn enough as it is, don’t embarrass yourself with small claims.  An HR guru once said to me if you want to get rid of an executive, comb through their expense claims.
9) Your dog does a poo during a walk.  It’s dark.  No one is around.  Do you pick it up? Well… If it’s on the pavement, always.  If it’s on the grass, sometime no.  I’m sorry.
View all blog articles