If you have been anywhere near planet Earth in the last few weeks you probably heard about the Volkswagen scandal.
In case you missed it, here is the gist of it:
- Diesel engines have very stringent emissions requirements, particularly in relation to Nitrogen Oxides, which at certain concentrations cause smog and acid rain
- The problem is that to control the formation of Nitrogen Oxides the temperature of the combustion has to be limited, which also restricts performance and fuel economy
- So, some engineers had the brilliant idea to program the electronics so that when the vehicle is being submitted to the official emissions test it “behaves” well and produces low level of Nitrogen Oxides, but in normal driving it optimizes performance and fuel economy while producing significantly higher levels of pollution
In other words: the engines were programmed to cheat.
This will cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in penalties, image loss, law suits, etc.
If you have been anywhere near Brazil in the last few months you probably heard about the Petrobrás scandal.
The gist of it:
- Companies were paying corrupt politicians to be awarded contracts with the government
- Billions of dollars were involved
This has caused some politicians and company CEOs to go to jail, and could cause the impeachment of Brazil’s president.
These are the big ones, but what about the smaller ones we may never hear about?
The cheating on the tax return forms…
The lie in that report at work…
One of my favorites is the time when I went to the restroom at work and found the janitor sleeping at the corner. As he woke up he said he did that because his supervisor was a woman, so she couldn’t catch him sleeping inside the men’s room. He was being corrupt at the level he could.
So what about us?
How far do we go to take advantage of a situation? Where do we stop?
Isn’t everybody doing it?
Is it OK as long as we are not caught? Is it a matter of risk management?
I don’t think so. I believe it is a matter of integrity.
I understand the temptation is huge. In some situations a small lie can save us a lot of headaches.
We are very quick to throw rocks on the corrupt politicians and businessmen, but I would like to challenge all of us to start by doing our part.
There is a case for integrity. Let’s go for it.