Imagine This… Misappropriation?

December 13, 2012 — 1 Comment


Imagine this…

You are a senior level Finance executive in a large, very prominent nonprofit organization in South Florida.  You are responsible for managing the funds provided by the federal government designed to help put Americans back to work – the so-called Stimulus. Many meetings are held to ensure that everyone understands what the money is to be used for – and what it is not to be used for…

Several weeks have passed when you receive a request from a large department to purchase an extremely expensive product from the manufacturer in Canada… with Stimulus funds. You refuse the request based on the fact that the Stimulus money is specifically earmarked to help put Americans back to work – and this clearly does not meet the designated guidelines!

Within hours you are contacted by your superior and told to approve purchase and apply the Stimulus funds … despite the fact that no new jobs would be created for the company or for the US in general.

What would you do?

The bottom line is that the US government did not put the appropriate checks and balances in place to ensure this type of scenario did not occur. Unfortunately there are companies – more importantly, the people who run them – that are more than willing to take advantage of the government oversight and intentionally overlook their ethical obligations in favor of getting what they want, when they want it. In the mean time, unemployment numbers remain high and the US taxpayers Stimulus dollars have just vanished into the mist…

This brings the ethical dilemma for leaders reporting up the chain of command to the forefront:  How do you keep your integrity intact and keep your job?

I would love for you to engage the discussion and let us know what you would do or tell us about unique experiences that you have had that called ethics to the front and center. Please feel free to contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

Please note: The names of both the guilty and the innocent have been omitted for the protection of all.


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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

One response to Imagine This… Misappropriation?

  1. Really appreciate you sharing this article. Keep writing.

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