Jun 26, 2012

Fakes Fraud Broadway Lessons Learned for CEOs

Fakes Broadway GRC CSR - Lessons Learned for CEOs. ASQ's  CEO Paul Borawski had asked the Global Influential Voices to blog on taking Quality to the C-suite, the CEO's. 

Faulty parts. Planes falling from the sky. Taking military pilots & their crews to their deaths. Unlucky? Pushing the technology boundaries in an urgent war time era? 

Or something more sinister? 

Perhaps an aircraft parts factory co-owner, Joe Keller, pushed to keep an impossible deadline? Crucifying penalties if he didn't ? 

So a compromise to keep the factory afloat? To ensure the planned legacy for his own son and heir, Larry Keller ? But blinding himself & in denial to the risks he was creating for other men's sons ? 

So another Quality case study - the human story behind the investigation into yet another corporate train wreck over the last few years? 

But would it not be a foolish, albeit brave, action to name this factory manager who so recklessly flouted GRC & CSR principles ? Even worse when the dodgy parts causing the planes crashing finally came to light, the blame was sheeted to his factory co-owner, Steve Deever, the future father in law of his own son and heir. 

What are the root causes under-pinning this sorry saga- not unlike what we have read of late? There have been Toyota, BP &  Wall Street finance controversies. 

The lessons in quality, integrity, values that I learned from this issue came not from the pages of an ASQ article or a quality training course. But instead from a then-young Californian English Literature teacher on exchange in the 1970's in regional Australia just south of Sydney. Eschewing the traditional British literature the young teacher Roger Zelus opened our minds to mid 20th Century American writers: Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, William Faulkner, John Steinbeck and Robert Lowell. 

This tale of morality and corruption shared by the young American teacher  was of course "All My Sons" - a Broadway play of the mid 1940's by Arthur Miller and recently revived in 2008 - again on Broadway - starring Katie Holmes as Ann Deever

In some ways, with the Toyota and BP debacles, it seemed that life was imitating art. In Australia we had the Equine Flu which sickened and killed many horses - shutting down horse racing for weeks and months. Quality and integrity given way to short term approaches without due regard to the risks and not enough resources applied? 

Has quality too often been overshadowed by safety environment and financial drivers ? Rather than being seen as an equal partner in the long term sustainability of organizations ? Thus was my first formative lesson in quality of Arthur Miller's All My Sons shared by Roger Zelus - a lesson in Quality CSR and GRC for CEO's.

1 comment:

KerrieAnne Christian said...

For those unfamiliar with All My Sons :

Following the many plane crashes due to dodgy parts, the factory owner's son uncovers his father's corruption and moral lapses. The son, himself a military pilot, cannot live with the shame. So he crashes his own plane deliberately - after leaving a note for his fiancee - explaining all. However his mother lives in hope that he is still alive - MIA somewhere. Ultimately the fiancee reveals all to his parents after the war. Katie Holmes played the fiancee in the recent Broadway revival.

On reading his son's suicide note, the factory owner, only then takes responsibility for his actions - acknowledging responsibility for the deaths of other men's sons because of the dodgy parts he had knowingly shipped.

Belatedly he sees that they were "All My Sons".

Sadly we still read reports each year of dodgy parts supplied to the US military.