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Diversity of Views


Went for training for the past two days. Learnt about Personal Effectiveness and found out that the trainer was an ex teacher too. They are everywhere :)

As part of the early morning exercise, we were asked to craft questions to ask each other. So our group asked what should you do if personal goals weren’t aligned with company goals.

On reflection, it will likely be that goals weren’t be aligned in a close fit.

More important that values are aligned.


Remember the whistle blower who raised the alarm on Enron? Her value system wasn’t aligned with the values that Enron espoused.

What about the current hue and cry over Goldman? It is perfectly alright for a company to seek profit and be profit motivated. But what if it is at the expense of the customers? Is it right to take a position against what you ask your customers to buy? Profit, yes, you will make lots, from both the customer and later when the position you take comes true. Ethically or morally?

Then you have Arthur Andersen, at one time one of the largest accounting firm on the face of the planet. They hampered criminal investigations by shredding documents that were damaging to themselves in their flawed ‘audit’ of Enron. What if you were the employee asked to shred these documents?

For the purpose of this article, what about the German soldiers and citizens who are ordinary human being just like you and me but they chose to drive the trains, guard the camps and press the buttons that gassed and killed millions of Jews in the death camps? The citizens knew and chose to look the other way. They smelt the fear, the saw the disappearance of their Jewish neighbours, some even lived near these camps which were perpetually burning evidence and it rained ashes of human remains and bits of bones.

I remember a famous quote I saw online in Germany about this:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

Right here in Singapore, remember the collapse of the Kallang part of the now opened Circle line? Well, this article on LTA official grilled on ‘two hats’ shows that the Qualifed Person with conflicting interests, passed the site as safe even though he knew LTA engineers suspected something was wrong and were asking the contractor to relook the design.

So the next time, as a leader or employee, you hear dissenting views and opinions in the workplace. Stop judging the person’s loyalty to you or the company. It could be that it is an ethical issue, or moral issue. It could be that the person feel that the decision is wrong, will lead to a loss of time doing this product, pushing this service etc. In the end, you could be right and the dissenting person could be wrong. But he or she cared enough about it to make people think again.

Celebrate diversity.



1. Martin Niemoller- Wikipedia.

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la papillion said...
May 19, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

Hey lemi,

It requires great courage to stand up to your conviction. It's certainly not easy.

Watched kick-ass, the movie? I think it talks about the same theme too :)

Lemizeraq said...
May 24, 2010 at 9:33 PM  

Hi LP,

Yeah. Sometimes, I think I wouldn't have the courage like some who tried to assassinate Hitler or do something about what they feel strongly against. So courage is in short supply.

Nope, didn't watch the movie "Kick-ass" will look for the abstract online.

Sorry for the late reply.


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