Supping with the devil

I am sometimes asked to work with organisations whose activities give me cause for concern. I have on occasion said no. Most of the time I take the view that if I can help even one person in those organisations to wake up, find their voice, and stand up to be counted then that is a good thing.

Maybe they will find the courage to say “Is selling sub-prime mortgages really such a good idea?”; “Do we really need to add that dodgy additive to that food?”; “Isn’t this patient record system taking too long and costing too much?”.

If I can create enough “sleepers” then maybe, just maybe, when the time comes they will do the right thing and some of our worst corporate excesses might be avoided.

4 thoughts on “Supping with the devil

  1. I was talking about this with a friend the other day. It reminds me of this sketch where the question arises, are we the baddies? If you work for a cardboard company and they win a deal supplying Philip Morris, how do you feel? Mitchell and Webb: "Are we the baddies?": http://youtu.be/ToKcmnrE5oY

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  2. I think you’re right, Euan, when you point out that consultants can and should sometimes turn down work for organisations that trouble them. (It’s a privilege denied to many who have no choice about their employment and we should exercise it thoughtfully.) I am less sure about building an army of "sleepers" and would rather focus on helping people get more from the time they spend "at work" (and outside it) and open up the possibility of more direct engagement with the ethics and practices of their organisation.

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    1. Err…. that’s what I do John! My comment about sleepers is just that some of them work places where change is slow and difficult. They may not be in a position to affect change now but helping them see possibilities is what I do.

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