Is Your Ethics Training a Band-Aid Approach to an Artery Problem?

By January 30, 2015 No Comments

By: Frank Bucaro

bandaidWhen you look at your ethics training programming, has it been designed to forestall possible future ethics lapses or is it lost in compliance requirements and therefore muddying the difference between ethics and compliance?

Is your ethics training just to fulfill a requirement (a “have to”) or is it a chosen proactive approach to help deal with future situations?

When ethics training  is a “Band-Aid” approach to the artery problem…

•  It is a temporary fix. No real problem will be solved.
•  It lacks thoughtful consideration about the cause and effect of such an approach.
•  The concept of ethics is cheapened due to sporadic training and reinforcement.
•  Are the skills of discernment, moral decision making, case studies and analysis taught, or are yes and no answers the modus operandi?

When ethics training embraces a “sutures the artery problem” approach:

•  Time is taken to develop an ongoing ethics training program.
•  Actual skills are taught, modeled and reinforced.
•  Ethical theories, research and their applications are explained and internalized.
•  Ethical resources are made available in ways and formats all can access and use.
•  Case studies and real life examples are examined and discussed in order to apply ethical theories.

So which is it – the Band-Aid approach to the artery problem or taking the time to suture that problem up?

Think about this:

You use a Band-Aid for a scratch or a minor cut, as the wound is not that serious; eventually you remove the Band-Aid and all is well.  No skills and no training required in putting on a Band-Aid, meaning no real technique and only minimal knowledge are needed. Anyone can do this.

When a more critical wound, such as to an artery, needs to be sutured, it is serious and if not done right, could cause more suffering and pain. A suture needs the attention of one who is highly trained and has the skills and techniques to do it right, so you go to a professional.

Would you let just anyone suture a wound or do you go to a medical professional?

Doesn’t this analogy relate to ethics training? Can just anyone do ethics training (Band-Aid) or do you partner with an expert or thought leader on ethics, one  who has the training, the experience and the skills to do the job?

Here’s a worst-case scenario: you put a Band-Aid on an artery problem. Now what? It still bleeds and causes long-term problems.

Suturing is a proactive, skilled approach and practice of solving the problem for the long term. Putting a Band-Aid on an artery program is a short-sighted approach not really dealing with the seriousness of the issue and only temporarily stemming the flow coming from the problem. It doesn’t work!

You don’t need a professional to put on a Band-Aid, but you do need one to suture an artery problem.

Where are you investing these training dollars? Which will really cost you more?

Is your ethics training proactive or reactive? A suture approach or a Band-Aid approach? And are you willing to pay the price?


Frank Bucaro is an ethics expert and a leading crusader – speaking, training and writing – on the benefits of ethics.  Coming from a background in teaching, with a master’s degree in Religious Studies, Frank’s career in business spans two decades with the message: not only is good ethics good business, it is also good for businessAs an author of numerous articles on ethics and author of the book Trust Me! Insights into Ethical Leadership, Frank has developed unique and humorous insights into the challenges of taking the high road. He provides practical ideas to help with difficult decisions as well as strategies for combating the sometimes blurred lines between right and wrong.

A member of the National Speakers Association, he has earned the designation of CSP which stands for Certified Speaking Professional. This award has been earned by less than 20 percent of the 3,800 members of NSA. He was also presented with NSA’s prestigious CPAE Speaker Hall of Fame Award for excellence and professionalism, an award currently held by fewer than 200 people worldwide.

He is President of Frank C. Bucaro & Associates, Inc. located in Bartlett, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.

A few of the organizations that have invited Frank to speak include BP, the Canadian Pacific Railway, Caterpillar, ENMAX Energy, Fiserv Insurance Solutions, Global Compliance, the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario, Merck, Talecris Biotherapeutics and RE/MAX International.

You can reach Frank at 1-800-784-4476 or through his website www.frankbucaro.com. Follow Frank on his blog, Ethics Shmethics, and on Twitter at @FrankCBucaro.  Frank is a columnist for Corporate Compliance Insights. For a complete list of his articles, follow this link.

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