It’s easy to play the cynic and say everything’s going to hell in a hand basket when overwhelmed by the more than 1,650 ethics-related stories from last year. It’s far more difficult to live up to a higher standard in spite of ethical failures.
This is all the more reason we need to acknowledge those individuals and companies who do it right. With that in mind, the following made my Top Ten Honor Role for 2007:
10 – I.D. Theft Down. Government survey says identity theft is down 16% from previous year. Not bad, but don’t scrap that shredder yet!
9 – “Congressman’s $10-Million Gift for Road Rebuffed.” Lee County, Florida officials turned down Alaska Congressman Don Young’s gift because the road is not a high priority. (The road happens to abut the property of a major political fund-raiser for Young.) Kudos to Florida officials for keeping them honest!
8 – Two Hedge-Fund Guys Give back by creating GiveWell which studies charities and ranks them on their effectiveness. Who says The Street is only about the money?
7 – New Credit Card Scanner Reduces Time and Potential Theft. The bill comes to your table: check it, swipe your card, electronically sign, you’re done! “I’d like to BlackBerry my tab, please.”
6 – Dali Lama and Others Call for Understanding. Religious leaders call for tolerance among the world’s religions. Isn’t that what they’ve been preaching to us?
5 – NBA Best at Being Colorblind. “The NBA got an A- when it comes to the number of minorities and women in top jobs, according to the annual Racial and Gender Report Card. When the season began, 40 percent of the NBA’s head coaches were black. It has the only black CEOs and presidents in men’s pro sports, and three of its 30 teams have black general managers.” They shoot, they score!
4 – “It Feels Good to Be Good!” Neuroscientists at the National Institutes of Health have discovered that acts of giving and helping others actually stimulate pleasure in the brain similar to that of food and sex. Give me a “hit” off that donation check!
3 – “Doing Good on Company Time.” Looking for new ways to build teamwork, Sam Walker, chief legal officer for Molson Coors, wanted something that could help the community. “As a result, the 11-member executive team spent a full day of their Las Vegas meeting this year helping build a house under the tutelage of Habitat for Humanity.” Cheers!
2 – “A Pax on Both Our Houses!” More than 60 Christian, Jewish, and Muslim leaders sign a call to U.S. and religious officials in Iran to open direct negotiations and stop planning for war. Memo to Presidential Candidates: This should be part of any foreign policy plan. To read the full statement: interfaithpeacecommittee.org.
1- No One is Above the Law. Wisconsin Sheriff Dennis Kocken wrote himself a ticket after he was involved in an accident. Kocken said the accident occurred after he started following a driver who had sped past him. The sheriff said he was distracted by a snowblower. As the driver ahead slowed, he hit her. There were no injuries.
He sighted himself for making an unsafe lane change and paid the $160.80 fine. When asked why, Kocken said, “I didn’t feel good about it. I couldn’t sleep that night.”
If we all had sleeping habits like Dennis Kocken, imagine the world.