The Other Side of the Coin
The personal experiences of ordinary people are also a test for standards of governance, leadership and performance in business and public organizations today. Many are sorely lacking on that score.
For the past eight years, these pages have focused on the need for well- governed, ethically-driven organizations and the consequences of their absence. We captured and analyzed many of the seminal events that led to the greatest crisis in capitalism since the 1930s, and were the first to highlight the boardroom failures of companies from Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers to Nortel and Hollinger. In ground-breaking revelations, we brought to light shortcomings in the governance and oversight practices of the New York Federal Reserve as a contributing factor to the banking crisis of 2008. Our thoughts on responsible capitalism, excessive CEO compensation and the need for common sense in the boardroom have made their way into government circles, been quoted in best-selling books and are required reading in university courses around the world.
But what has often been missing in these frequently tectonic events is how major organizations interact at the consumer level and the damage they can cause, through arrogance, incompetency and dishonesty, to ordinary individuals.
It’s time to look at the other side of the coin: the personal experiences of individuals and the impact of organizations on their lives.
We begin with a huge Canadian financial institution that dropped the ball in the handling of a personal bank account and, when challenged, misrepresented its policies, lied about its actions and acted maliciously to discredit the customer who complained. What is even more striking is that the new CEO doesn’t seem to care. You might think that’s odd, until you realize that it’s the same bank that has found itself with more than one public black eye in recent years over practices that saw its ethics and integrity, and sometimes even its basic competency, called into question. In another twist of irony, I was once hired by this bank to advise it. It’s a very different bank today, to say the least.
We’ll be talking more about this bank, and the CEO who leads it, soon.