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color bullet "Enron Redux"

By Kenny Moore

Hereís yet another article about that large, international, multi-billion dollar corporation that got itself into trouble by engaging in business practices that wound up being hidden.  And they made it all undiscussable.  

Then the undiscussability became undiscussable.  Just like other self-sealing processes with sinister foundations, it was just a matter of time before the massive cover-up hit the press.  Then executives brought in the lawyers, denied any wrongdoing and did a lot of back-pedaling.  There were quick changes made to auditing procedures back at headquarters.  Some heads rolled.  But a lot of small people got hurt and the broader world community remains bewildered.

No, itís not Enron.  Yes, it is the Catholic Church.

In particular, itís Cardinal Law over in Boston and a pedophile priest whoís been around for decades.  The cardinal said he didnít know.  When he found out, he took appropriate action.  Back in Rome, the Pope said theyíre changing the self-auditing policy to make sure this never happens again.  The mediaís been on a frenzy to write about the sexy, hot news.

Iím not here to further castigate Catholicism.  My intent is to put the Enron debacle into a broader context.  All organizations, religious as well as secular, are fallible institutions made up of frail human beings.  Never perfect.  Often honest.  Occasionally flawed and greedy.  Itís in all of us. Donít forget: tax season is right around the corner.  Weíre all praying that the understaffed IRS doesnít look too closely at our returns.

I spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest.  For the last 18 years Iíve worked in big business.  Truth be told, itís not all that different - except now my payís a lot better.  What Iíve come to find is that the vast majority of people are good.  Often doing their best in a flawed, human system.  When the proverbial dung hits the fan, we rush to judge and condemn.  Especially those in authority.  What goes unexamined is the deeper question: whatís my contribution to the problem?  Evil doesnít exist in a vacuum.  It resides in the community.  Iím not just a passive victim, dependent on the errors of those in power.  I collude.  I perpetuate the flawed system. Sometimes, actively; often, passively.  To the degree I believe that Iím somehow outside of the problem, to that degree I contribute to it.

My intent is not to be mean-spirited; itís to be liberating.  To the extent that I can own my personal contribution to the problem, to that extent I can become free.  While I may never get the CEOís attention, I can effect change on a personal level.  And in the business world, itís one of the most powerful things I can do: become a living model of those wonderful ideals I so glibly throw out to others.  Corporate values and professional integrity take on meaning with me ... in the present moment.  How I respond to co-workers and conduct my menial business tasks make a difference.  A rather powerful one.

My monastic course in moral theology taught that we couldnít demand the heroic of people; we could only invite it. Enron has given us the invitation.  Iím hoping I can muster the courage to respond to that invitation when I show up at work tomorrow.

About the Author

Kenny says, "If youíre thinking about writing me, give in to the temptation.  I love getting mail ... and being influenced by what you have to say.  Please E-mail me at kennythemonk [at] yahoo.com."

Kenny Moore is co-author of ďThe CEO and the Monk: One Companyís Journey to Profit and  PurposeĒ (John Wiley and Sons, 2004), rated as one of the Top Ten best-selling business books on Amazon.com.  He has over 20 years experience with change management, leadership development and healing the corporate community.  Prior to his work in corporate America, Kenny spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest Ė doing a very similar kind of work, but getting paid a lot less.

Kenny has been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning News, and interviewed by Tom Peters, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company magazine regarding his unique leadership style.  He can be reached at (973) 956-8210 or kennythemonk [at] yahoo.com

Copyright (c) Kenneth Moore 2002, used with permission of the author.  Thanks, Kenny!!

Page updated: June 05, 2009   

This page is http://www.itstime.com/km_enron.htm             

The 10th Need: Mischief    :)

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