Lead Good Education Ethic Madness

Watch the Ethics Madness 2023 Podcast Here!

Welcome to Ethics Madness 2023

Ethics Madness is back, baby!

Welcome to the 2023 edition of Jason Meyer’s nearly-annual exploration of the intersection of ethics and sports, in celebration of the NCAA basketball championships. 

This year, Jason is joined again by Tom Fox, the Texas-based FCPA guru and “The Voice of Compliance,” for this special joint presentation of The Eight Mindsets Podcast and Tom’s Compliance Podcast Network.


Ethics Madness Podcast


Jason and Tom talk trash about ethical challenges in the world of sports, and about sports as an object lesson for ethics and compliance programs and professionals. Among the topics they attempt this year:


      • Alabama Basketball: Can you love the play but hate the player (can you love the art but not the artist)? And was this any way to build a culture?


        • Coach Rick Pitino and the Houston Astros: What does it take to be redeemed for past misconduct?


          • Kansas Coach Bill Self: Some personal lessons in compliance.


            • DEI in higher education: Schools are walking the tightrope. 


              • The ESG Rule: So I can bet on sports, but I can’t bet on compliant companies? Huh?

            Correction:  In his discussion of the shooting incident involving Alabama players, Jason Meyer referred to the victim as a man. Jamea Harris was female. We regret the error.

            About the Eight Mindsets:

            These Eight Mindsets range from thinking like an advertiser to thinking like a storyteller. But the overriding mindset that we always focus on is the Mindset of a learner – to thinking like your audience and not like a compliance, risk or HR expert.  That’s why we make compliance personal to you so you can make compliance personal to your audiences. To learn more about the Eight Mindsets and get access to complimentary courses that teach you how to produce training, simply subscribe at www.eightmindsets.com.

            If you want to be on the show, get in touch with us: nicolerosesydney@outlook.com

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              Ethics Madness Transcript:

              Tom: Hello, everyone, this is Tom Fox. And as you know, it’s March and more importantly, it’s March Madness. And the best thing about March Madness is I get to get together with my good friend, Jason Meyer to do ethics madness. So Jason, welcome to 2023 my brackets busted. I have no distractions. 

              Jason: Yeah, welcome to Ethics Madness. 2023. It’s, it’s great to be back for this. This joint production of the eight mindsets podcast and the compliance Podcast Network. Tom, great to see you again. My bracket looks terrible. But there is one thing that matters to me. That’s still alive. And I’m wearing my colors. My Princeton tigers are still alive. At least as of the time, we’re recording this on Wednesday going into the sweet 16 weekend. But you know, for the uninitiated. This is, you know, this is like a mostly annual event for Tom and I, it’s our excuse to sort of talk trash, about ethics and sports, and to use sports as an allegory to talk about ethics and compliance, and maybe to see what lessens the sort of world of corporate ethics and compliance and for that matter, higher education, ethics, compliance, you know, like, what lessons can we gather from what’s happened in the sports world that has rankled over the last year, right.

              Tom: And as usual, the sports world has not failed to disappoint.

              Jason: Oh, no, no, no. What do you got? Well, we usually start with basketball, right? Because this is this, okay. He’s in a basketball. So it’s March Madness. And there’s there is some ethics madness happening there. And the first thing, Tom, to get me is the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, which you know, is known as a football power, but this year, has a number one C team in the NCAA Men’s championships. But there’s something else about that. It’s a really good team. But there’s something else about that team, which is two of its starting players. Brandon Miller, who is the team’s top star, maybe college player of the year. And another starter Jaden Bradley. Well, the Foreo. Early in the season, it turned out they were both present at a shootout. A shootout that led to someone’s death, the death of a [wo]man named Jamia Harris. They were both present at earlier activity. This shoot that was like an in like two, three o’clock in the morning. Earlier that evening. They were both present at a verbal confrontation, which escalated and maybe most damning. It was Brandon Miller, the star player who brought the fatal gun to the scene, handed it to a friend who handed it to the eventual shooter. There are still a lot of unanswered questions about this. The university is kind of minimizing the whole thing. Alabama’s head coach is not even talking about it. No charges have been leveled. But it’s some you know some way you look at this. Maybe not technically, but you’ve got two starting players who played a role in a murder. And maybe to make matters worse, Brandon Miller, the star player has this little routine he did when he was introduced to the crowd at the beginning of games, where he was when he was part of a Panton pantomime of being patted down for a weapon. That was like his show of cool or strength. So not very cool activity on the part of Alabama public outrage finally ended Brandon Miller’s pregame routine. You know, did they break a rule not clear? Did they break a law there are no charges yet, but it’s sort of setting tone at the top goes. This was not great and has led to a lot of criticism  of Alabama. So Tom, my question for you is, you know, one more example of ”can you love the art but not the artist.” Can you love the play of Alabama’s basketball team? That’d be not me not to be so crazy about the player or the way they approach the situation.

              Tom: So I’m a southerner. This was Alabama football, I would completely understand. But it’s not Alabama football. It’s Alabama basketball. And this has been a series of missteps. By Alabama by its players by its university president its Board of Trustees, obviously the basketball coach. And if you are thinking about drafting Brandon Miller, you have to consider this behavior because of what it may lead to. An NBA pro player named Ja Morant, one of the young, very top stars of the NBA got into some serious trouble and to the point where it may cost him 30 minus $9 million for brandishing a gun at a men’s club. And, unfortunately, when you brandish a gun, the get used a whole lot more if they’re brandished than if they’re left at home. And so here, we had actually a couple of things. One, there was a murder charge filed against the shooter. So there have been some charges filed. But Alabama has just completely fumbled this, the pat-down routine that you mentioned as just absolutely catastrophic. The coach’s explanation now withdrawn was he was just at the wrong place at the wrong time. Yeah. Well, you correctly noted he actually got the gun and brought it to the scene. And at the request of the individual shooter, so some serious missteps in judgment from Brandon Miller, Alabama,

              Jason: Alabama football, you know, whatever you want to say about it, I think their legendary coach has a little bit better sense of what public leadership looks like. And a lot better, I would, I would like to think he wouldn’t have gone that way on the on this play. But it, you know, it leaves a bad taste in the mouth for what is the number one seed? It got the number one seed anyway, and I didn’t hear a lot of criticism for the for the NCAA? Because, ultimately, on what basis? Are they supposed to see the teams? I do have sort of a personal ethics question, which is, should I feel guilty that I put the tight in my bracket. And I ultimately found that I was not able to carry them all the way to the final for number one, because I thought, you know, I think this is gonna be a distraction and take them down number two, because I want my bracket to be different than other people’s brackets. So number three, it was just like, there comes a point where like, I do not want to be rooting for this team.

              Tom: And all three are valid. So I just everything has been done wrong by Alabama. And this. You see, I think you see in this, how important it is for employees, or excuse me, corporations to really look at their employees that they promote. And I won’t speak for you. But I made some serious misjudgments of error when I was 18 19 21 22. And long after that. So I understand that. But people who do things like that tend to keep doing things like that. And that’s what gets corporations in trouble when they bring on employees who can either have a certain moral flexibility, depending on the circumstances, or feel like the rules don’t apply to them, period. And I don’t know which, if either of those apply here. But it certainly gives me pause to wonder who would want someone of that character associated with their brand?

              Jason: Yeah, and sort of the lack of remorse, the lack of apology, the lack of understanding of the gravity of the situation. You know, this wasn’t, this wasn’t just like, you know, you know, I corrals too hard probably been if it had been matter of carousing too hard, the team probably would have penalized him for that. And somehow, you know, being handing the gun to the murderer basically, we’re supposed to laugh that off. So you know, certainly a lesson here about what you project publicly but you have raised another point which takes me to another topic, which is, okay, we have indiscretions in our past. You know, sometimes we have ethical missteps in our past. What at what point should someone be redeemed for that and this year in sports we have, we have a lot of examples of that, but to come to mind, one is from the tournament. So Rick Pitino, the peripatetic Hall of Fame coach, a great basketball coach, I have rooted for teams because Pitino was their coach. He’s been the head coach of Kentucky, the New York Knicks the Boston Celtics, Providence University, Boston University, and most recently Iona which is a small school from a small conference. They won their bid, he brought them to the tournament. I had them in my bracket and they lost they did not upset in the first round, and probably after losing in the first round. Rick Pitino announced that he would be going to a school with to go owing to St. John’s, which is in the ACC and much more likely to get a tournament bid even if they don’t win their conference tournament. This is leaving after a short time Iona which as Sports Illustrated put forward put it I own ahead rescued Pitino from Grecian exile. Why was he an exile because his 17 years at Louisville came to an abrupt stop under scandal. Ford’s recap that the scandal is as good as any I’ll come up with Ford said. Here’s the recap a patina staffer arranged for sex acts for players and recruits in the basketball dorm. It led to the schools itself imposing a postseason ban. It led to Louisville’s 2013 National Championship being vacated, and it led to Pitino being suspended by the NCAA for five games to other staffers who were found to have committed level one violations and an FBI-related case. Pitino personally accepts avoided sanctions, although under current NCAA rules, not the rules enforced at that time, but under current NCAA rules, Pitino as head coach would have been held personally responsible for the errors of his staff. Footnote see Joe Paterno and Penn State in terms of what’s your liability for the errors of your staff, so Pitino didn’t do so hot from an ethics point of view. He spent some time out of the game. He spent some time at Iona now apparently he is redeemed goods. The other example of redeeming goods, I’m going to mention, Tom, because I know it gets your blood going. And that would be the Houston Astros, who defeated my beloved Phillies in the World Series after their cheating scandal of the previous decade of their Stein sign-stealing scandal and various other things. But now apparently the Houston Astros are okay, so the question is basically, what does it take to be redeemed for post misconduct past misconduct? And can you be redeemed for all past misconduct? I know you’re still angry at Stroz. So tell me what you think.

              Tom: So this is a specific question I have struggled with for a long time. And we both know people in our space, who went to jail for ethical violations were actually legal violations. And they pay their dues to society as defined by the prosecutor in the courts of time in jail. And some people say well, that that that should be enough. And they may be right that that should be enough. On the other hand, the last example I gave about Brandon Miller, and now John Moran in basketball. Does that type of character really put your brand at risk? Whether that brand is your corporate brand, whether it’s a company or other brand, or Nike with Kanye West, the artist formerly known as Kanye? Kanye West, I should say. So I still struggle with that question. At some point. Think forgiveness is appropriate. I’m going to shout out though, to Evan Drellich. For his great book, winning fixes everything just released on the Houston Astros. And what I learned in that book was two things. One was the conduct was much worse than I ever dreamed. It had one of the most toxic work environments, employees are treated no but no, no better than anyone else. And it was just terrible. The other thing, unfortunately, I learned was that the Astros cheated during the World Series. So in 2018, or 2019, I said publicly, they should return the trophy because I didn’t think they want it fairly. The best I can tell you is I was able to put that out of my mind last October, and fully revel in winning a World Series at home. And I will say, if I can pull it up. The absolute best thing, Jason, was that my wife and I went to game one. And my wife 17 year American living in America. Six Month US citizen catches Wow, World Series Baseball. It’s awesome. Now in 60 years of going to ball games, I will give you one guess how many baseballs I’ve caught ever. She gets a World Series Baseball, so it was worth it just for that. But let me, I have to digress to the World Series. That was an incredible World Series. And for those who think the Astros took this or the Astros steamrolled the Phillies, it was literally a game of inches every game, except the game that the Phillies stomped the Astros, the excitement level was incredible. I wasn’t really disappointed at the time, Bryce Harper was in a slump. But you know, I was pulling for him because he’s a, he’s a face of baseball that hopefully will be with us for a long time. The play was just outstanding. pitching for the most part was just outstanding. It was as great of baseball as you could ask for. So, um, so you’re right, I’m still mad at 2017 Astros, I’ll probably always be mad at him a matter now after I’ve read relics book, but it was a complete toxic work environment. And the question I want to post him when I interview him is, how did they do so? Well, if it was such a terrible place to work? So fascinating. That’s kind of where I am.

              Jason: Yeah. I think we can model we can look at the last at recent history and see all kinds of people who made what I think were relatively minor errors who have never been redeemed. I can think of former US senators in that category, for example, who for youthful indiscretion, you know, are suddenly out of the political spotlight and yet sort of outright cheating at what I do is, is, you know, it’s like, oh, well, hmm. You know, what makes a difference? What do we do? How do we redeem people? I think, remorse. I think it admission that you did something wrong. You know, when you talked about colleagues, we know who spent time behind bars, you know, when they come out? And they say, Well, I really blew it. Here’s what I learned. Let me share my lessons. Let me make let me pull no punches about my guilt. You know, I think that’s a lesson for companies coming back from wrongdoing. I think the glass house rule certainly applies. And, you know, facing up to what you’ve done wrong, admitting it, sharing your lessons, I think goes a long way towards us really being able to say, you know, okay, we’re, we’re ready to move forward now. You know, at another level, Tom, I have never been crazy about corporate zero-tolerance policies, in part for this very reason, because, you know, none of us are perfect. And, to me, there is something different about slipping up once and needing to understand something and slipping up to 234 or five times and okay, maybe that’s who you are. I also fear that zero tolerance just for its reporting, it raises the stake on reporting, it means that your fellow workers know if they report on you, you’re going to face the corporate equivalent of capital punishment, with no chance of redemption. And that will make them less likely to speak up. Whereas if it, you know, if it’s like, we’d like to help people who are wrongdoers, maybe we’re more likely to get speaking up in our communities. So I’m not crazy about zero-tolerance policies. But I’m also not crazy but the estrus? I don’t know where that puts me. Yeah, before we get, we’ve got some other sports stories. But I just want to ask, like, how’s your year been? We did this last March we did this year ago. Like, what’s been happening over the last year, you’ve been devoting a lot of your professional efforts, maybe most of your professional efforts to the compliance Podcast Network, like, how’s it going? What have you learned in the world? Like, what’s your big takeaway in the world of ethics and compliance?

              Tom: Well, I actually have three podcast networks now. So I’m really trying to see what I can do with all that. And here’s the thing I tell people, I just sit around and talk to smart, intelligent, fun people all day. And I have two criteria for success. Oh, no, no, no. Number one, how much did I learn? And number two? How much fun did I have? If we hit 10 or 11? On those, then it’s a great podcast. Yeah. So I just get to talk to people all day. And it’s a lot of fun. I learn more, because I’m consuming education. And it’s given me an ability to see broader pictures, because I’m talking to people from as disparate groups as you can to see how it all sort of fits together. I was on a stage at a podcast conference and someone asked me the question, What’s hard about podcasting? And I sat there for a minute. I said, there’s nothing hard about podcasting. Try being a lawyer for 40 years. That was miserable, not there’s nothing hard about podcasts and it’s just a great job to have

              Jason: Well, you say I think you sell yourself short. I mean, that’s first of all, you’re being an entrepreneur, you’re running businesses. That is, to me the greatest mental puzzle and challenge that there is. And it is not everybody who can say, Look, I’m ready to talk to anybody. I love having a conversation with everybody, and I’ll talk about any topic. And that is a skill. It’s skill. I cherish my dad for having he was a lifelong journalist. And I tried to learn that from him. And, and, you know, I think it’s just great.

              Tom: So today, for instance, I interviewed a Ukrainian compliance professional who escaped Ukraine at the start of the war, and is now in the Netherlands. And we talked about doing compliance in the Netherlands, I interviewed a woman who is a huge, a women’s basketball fan, and she wrote leadership lessons from Pat Summitt. And then I interviewed a new president of a multinational or multibillion dollar company, media company, who, she just became president, and she granted me an interview about her leadership style. So it’s as varied as it can be, and now we’re talking sports. So how much better can it be than this? Jason?

              Jason: How much better can it get? Been been a busy year for me and for LeadGood education. We actually did a little rebranding this year, went from just the name LeadGood to LeadGood education to underline the role we’re playing in our consulting work that we focus on helping education programs, and compliance and ethics education programs within companies and helping the education sector with its compliance. been loving doing the eight mindsets podcast with the great and Nicole Rose is just, you know, so creative, always, always brings a different perspective to what’s going on always opens my eyes to things and we’re doing work under the mindsets, of trying to bring those ideas to other ethics compliance teams and help them do in house what they’re doing. And spending more time and more attention now helping organizations with including and engaging with the neurodivergent people in their workforces, and trying to involve those workers in ethics compliance. And that’s been fascinating work as well. So it’s, it’s been a great year, and another year, where I’m thankful for something that ties us back into sports. And the sports story for me, maybe speaking of redemption, is Kansas coach, Bill Self. Kansas has been under some heat, they have tried to, I think, recover from their NCAA violations. Another strong team, but they’re out this year. And they were limited in the tournament, only a couple of weeks after Bill Self underwent fairly emergency cardiac treatment for the implementation of stents. A few years ago, then they’re done that. That was, you know, 150 points of cholesterol and 50 pounds away to go for me, was a turning point in my life. And it was a lesson in compliance for me. You know, I have to say, on a very personal level, I learned the difference between the sort of compliance, like sort of complying with what I ought to be eating, sort of doing exercise, and more perfect compliance, and I’m, you know, I’m not perfect in my diet, but I’m pretty close. And I work at it every day, and I get a reward and the reward is, I feel great, I’m doing strong. I think Bill Self will get the reward of, you know, many, many more years of successful coaching. And it’s just, you know, to me, it was just a real personal lesson, again, and the difference between fake and you’re doing okay? And what it really takes to follow the rules and to do what you need to do and the payoff for doing what you need to do. So you know, shout out to Bill Self and you know, he doesn’t know me from Adam, but wishing him the best of luck with that journey.

              Tom: So I took that story in my head in a little bit different direction, because I thought about it from the Mental Health angle. And I’m a recovering trial lawyer, also a recovering alcoholic. And I work with the State Bar of Texas lawyers assistance program. So I know the mental health struggles of many lawyers, but I want people in the compliance profession to understand that can happen to them just as easily. And that they’re number one. You need to take care of your own mental health, the ultimate end of the day, you’re responsible for it. But there’s still a wide variety of resources. And please reach out. For the longest time I didn’t reach out except to a bottle. And that brought a whole nother set of problems to me. But from the mental health perspective, and we have some in our profession who are talking about there, they’re talking about mental health, they’re talking about the pressures, compliance professionals are under and a wide variety of other mental health issues that I think it’s frankly high time that we in our profession, really put on the front burner and talk about. So I want to shout out, thank Lisa Beth Lentini, and her work is the one that comes to my mind most but a lot of people are talking about it. I know Mary Shirley and Lisa fine. Talk about it on the great women and compliance podcast. So please take care of yourself. Both, as Jason said, from the physical perspective, also from the mental health perspective, and if you need time off, take time off, if you need help get help every company has an EAP program. But there’s a lot of us that I know in the compliance profession who are either like me in recovery, or that they have had issues that they needed help with. And we got help for it.

              Jason: Yeah, and you know, for the grace, I didn’t reach for bottle I reached for pepperoni, cheesesteaks. But a lot of that was for the very, you know, I’ve learned with for not dissimilar reasons. And I think, you know, isn’t really talked about it, I’m projecting here, but I think, you know, Bill Self kind of set an example by saying, you know, look, physically, he was standing, he could have been on the sidelines, he did put himself on the sidelines, and that, that self-care, you know, self-care was more important than whatever additional points he might have brought to his team. And that is definitely, you know, the lesson. And, you know, you mentioned, you mentioned, colleagues you admire, I’m going to give a shout-out to Amy McDougal who’s frequently a project partner of mine, we call each other apart nerds, who has been doing a lot of work and love speaking up about self care, especially among veterans, and how that relates to their professional lives. We always talk about the air, the airline rule, the airline rule, you know, put on your own oxygen mask before helping others. Lawyers, HR professionals, ethics, and blind professionals were in the help of bringing others to serve, serving others and helping others we got to take care of ourselves first. And I love that lesson. So I’m going to ask you another question. I’m going to switch. I’m gonna I’m gonna put out a hard segue here and switch to a whole other topic. But it’s it’s one that’s really been front of mind for me, because it’s a huge intersection of sports and the world of compliance to me. And that’s, that’s diversity, equity and inclusion programs and the whole DEI effort, and especially in higher education, and I just really feel for colleges and universities who are when it comes to the AI right now, you know, walking the tightrope. I think, you know, most college administrators and leaders long since have come to a place where they’re seeking diversity. It improves their recruitment, they believe it improves their communities. big corporate world has been there for a long time. No question about, I think, you know, where you’d find most companies hard when it comes to DEI. But there are state schools especially in the south-south, especially in red states who are facing enormous political pressure from a primary source of their funding. In the form of criticism of di m in Florida is seeking to ban di programs at universities and banned DEI related curriculum. In Texas DEI is under criticism from the state summer state government. So many universities and colleges in Texas are doing away with DEI and others are defending DEI. It’s a tightrope. It’s a goal that companies want and yet it’s under this political pressure. And to me, Tom, this debate feels like a debate at the core of ethics and compliance because this is an example of what are some core values how many companies have the core values of, you know, inclusivity diversion building community, and yet suddenly This is being thrown in the trash bin labeled woke. What’s you know, I’m in the northeast, I’m in New Jersey, there is not quite the political division here that there is in the part of the country you live. What’s this feel like? And How’s it feeling for compliance and ethics professionals, you know, in Texas in the south, to face this, you know, this shaking of the bedrock of core values.

              Tom: So I grew up in a town where I went to segregated schools until high school. That was 1972. And we had segregated schools. That’s the reality of the South. You don’t have to scratch very far to get there.

              Jason: I’ll add, I grew up in Gainesville, Georgia. My father was a newspaper editor, daily newspaper editor in the 40s 50s. And 60s. campaigning in favor of segregation did not make me personally popular with several of the kids I went to school with, got our share of threatening calls. On top of which I was the only Jewish kid in the school system for three years because my brother and sister had gone to private school. So been there with you, buddy. And it’s tough to see.

              Tom: So, let me stick with Texas since I know that state the best. I know the governor, I practice law with the governor. And I don’t think for a minute, he’s a racist. What he has said is, I don’t like DEI, but I’m not a racist. So I’m gonna be a little bit charitable and say, no, he’s not a racist. What I think he is trying to do, in addition to pandering to a very base level of voters, trying to move from the I, the inclusion to affirmative action, back to 1964 – 1968 Affirmative Action. And that’s the diversity, that’s all the diversity they’ll allow is affirmative action, which means x number of percent get in. And they can’t say, we’re not going to have diversity, because in state schools would be in violation of federal law. And they can’t do that. So they cover it up by saying, oh, dei is woke. What they’re missing is some of the things you alluded to, that it actually makes whatever your organization is, from a primary school, to secondary school, to a higher School of higher education, to a corporate organization, it makes you better if you are inclusive. Number one, it’s the addition of voices different than anybody’s watching this on YouTube, seeing how we look. And of all why guys. But number two is inclusion doesn’t mean simply, having someone who looks different than us sounds different than us talks different than us, or thinks different than us. It is giving that person or those persons providing them a safe and trusting environment where they can raise their hand and speak up. And to me, that’s what inclusion is, is not simply affirmatively actioning, bringing in someone who looks different than me, but it is okay. I’m, I’m going to listen to them. And I’m going to take whatever counsel they may give me. And I’m going to use that. And if I have that attitude, I as an employer will be better. I as a university will be better. And what’s going to happen? I’m afraid in Texas. I won’t speak to what I think about Florida. But what I’m afraid is going to happen is Texas is going to lose that they’re going to lose those voices, they’re going to look inward. And when you start looking inward and talk to the echo chamber, you get one voice and that’s not what is going to lead this state into the mid-century and beyond. And states that do have inclusion in their university systems will turn out better graduates and they will go to corporations that embrace inclusion, and they will become better corporations simply because people even the old white guys won’t be afraid to raise their hand and speak up. So I sort of see it in that way. And I can bring it back maybe even to some compliance issues. That’s what a speak-up culture is, is creating a trusting environment while someone is willing to speak up, yes, they may be a whistleblower. And yes, me trying to stop illegal or unethical conduct, but they may be trying to improve the corporation, or they may be trying to improve the business process. And that’s what I see as the ultimate power of the improvement of your organization, whatever that organization may be.

              Jason: That’s an interesting perspective, Tom, and, you know, in part it, it puts this debate in the context of what has been a more recurring challenge to the idea of ethics compliance, which is just short term thinking versus long term thinking, right? It’s the short termism. Like I gotta make numbers this quarter. Right. You know, the used to be Mr. FCPA, you’re still kind of Mr. FCPA. You know, what’s, what leads? What leads to that kind of wrongdoing? What, what leads to, you know, bribery and kickbacks. It’s like, I gotta make my numbers this quarter, right? That’s a short term thought, right? Short term, when I’m not worrying about the long term consequences. And I love how you have put the DEI debate kind of in the same framework, right? You might get some political popularity now. You might pander to the base right now, in the long term. This is not what leadership looks like. And we’re not going to get a result for it. And long term. I guess what concerns me about this coming from the political sphere is, you know, this isn’t talking about what do we spend taxes on? How much do we tax you? You know, what are our budgetary priorities? It isn’t even a debate over what are our core values? It is a debate about whether you’re allowed to act on core values. And sort of dissing, diminishing, attacking the entire idea that we may use core values to drive what it is we do. And I think, you know, I am not. Not everyone in the community agrees with me about this. But I think that the ethics complaints community can’t hide behind “we don’t want to deal with politics.” You know, my history included longtime living in the South. It also includes a mom who was born and grew up in Nazi Germany, and who barely escaped. And there are a lot of business people and a lot of great business leaders who spent time in Germany in the 20s and 30s. It’s politics, you know, I’ll let him go. It’ll fade, you know, sometimes it doesn’t fade. And we’re the people who understand the importance of core values. And there may come a point where we need to say, this isn’t about politics, this is about the bedrock. And I just feel for the people who are trying to lead these efforts at universities who are getting in both directions. So here’s, here’s another place where this core values debate comes up, Tom, that, that, I’m going to relate to sports. Okay, so we just in the last week, had the Biden administration’s first veto. And what it vetoed was the fall was the ESG rule by the Labor Department. Just to explain this, right, the Labor Department, in the Biden administration adopted a regulatory rule that said, if you are managing retirement funds, it’s okay. If you look at ESG factors, that’s not a per se violation of your fiduciary duty if you evaluate investments in companies by that company’s ESG performance as well as its pure economic performance. And Congress struck that using its powers attempted to strike down that rule. It wasn’t that you have that fund managers must look at ESG factors is that it was okay for them to choose to use ESG factors. The Biden administration has vetoed this overturning but here’s where this here’s my sports comparison in this time, so I can bet on sports. I can pick up my phone and parlay all I want I can bet on you know which player is going to make a three-point shot. Next, I can just spend all the money I want on my phone betting on sports. And yet somehow I’m not allowed to choose to bet on ESG-favoring companies. What?

              Tom: Well, I hate to once again bring up Puritans, but no gambling in the great state of Texas. I can’t even bet on sites that are internet sites outside that are domiciled outside the state of Texas Because we can bet in the great state of Texas, so I’m protected from myself from betting now I can go to an Indian reservation and play poker. And we do a pair of mutual betting on horses. But that’s horse races. But that’s it. So it will probably not surprise you to hear that I see ESG through a business process lens, given my discussion of DEI. And what I say to all those MAGA-hat wearing idiots is the following. What ESG does, it gives you, you the corporation either through a chief sustainability officer or a board or some committee visibility across a wide variety of corporate issues that were not looked at uniformly previously, whether you know, you want to break it down to the E, the S, and the G or whatever you want to call it, somebody is looking at business processes. And that when someone looks at business processes, it gives you the opportunity to improve those, because you’re looking at them through the lens of numbers. That’s what the E in ESG is and what the SEC has talked about, and their scope one scope two, scope three proposed regulations. And when you start looking at the numbers, that’s when you can measure it. And if you can measure it, you can improve it and all those other things. So that ESG, to me, is essentially an enhanced business process, we have picked those letters, to name it or moniker it. But within each of those letters, we are putting numbers around something that may not have had numbers around them before. But if there were numbers around it, they were siloed. And the safety guy was looking at safety numbers. And compliance person was not looking at safety numbers. Nor were a wide variety of other corporate disciplines. So that and if you move to G, that’s governance. And so when you put all three of those together, I think it can be a very powerful way to improve your business process. So I think it’s appropriate to look at ESG. And the market also seems to think this, whether the market is the investing market, whether it’s institutional investors, hedge funds, private equity, whether it’s banks lending money, whether it’s insurance companies who are going to insure your risks. So I’ve worked for 40 years in the energy industry. And I still do legal work, drafting contracts for subcontractors to go into chemical plants or energy processing plants. And there are now ESG requirements in every contract. Now, they’re limited perhaps, to the safety numbers and safety components. But they specifically put that now in contracts, whether you’re doing contract with Exxon, Shell, Cisco, Chevron, it doesn’t matter. And this is exactly what I saw on the compliance field, which was the real change came when the business model changed. And what happened once again, in the energy industries, because that was the first FCPA industry sweep, the business response was to, we’re going to put a compliance program in place, and we’re only going to do business people and compliance programs. And we’re going to drive that all the way down the supply chain, I’m seeing the same thing in ESG. ESG is not going away, because it’s such a powerful business tool. It makes sense from the business perspective. And if I can broaden this out to once again, the great state of Texas has said we’re not going to put our money with institutional investors who look at ESG factors, okay, you made a decision that you’re not going to invest state pension funds in those institutional investors. So you’re gonna get a less rate of your return on your investment, that’s going to increase the taxes in the state of Texas. How brilliant is that? Thank you very much. Because guess what, even energy companies are doing ESG because they see it in their self-interest. So I try to talk about ESG as a business process. And it’s one of the factors that you can look at. So that’s sort of the way I try to look at things.

              Jason: You know, it’s naive or futile of me to sort of expect consistent values-based leadership from United States Congress. But it just, you know, I just got a flag for a minute, sort of, like, you know, okay, you know, liberty, freedom, the ability to make the choices I want to make, that’s, you know, that’s the American way. But you can’t make the choice to go with a fund manager who likes who follows ESG performance You know, of all the choices I’m denied. You’re denying me that one, maybe not the model of sort of consistent values-based leadership just just just gotta say.

              Tom: So before we leave, can you tell me the odds for Princeton to make it to the final four?

              Jason: Well, I can’t I can’t tell you the odds. I can tell you. I can tell you that I saw that they’re 10 Point underdogs to Creighton and the sweet 16. Round that seems like you want to go with Princeton on the betting side, they’re I think they’re, I think they’re a better team than that. There are 100% odds, or close to 100% odds that I’m going to treat myself, my son and I are going to be unlovable and watch that game. And I know that there’ll be I know, there will be an exciting game. I know there’ll be a close game. And I guess the thing I would add for our purposes is should I feel virtuous? Because I picked Princeton in my bracket not because it was you know, whether it’s a good betting choice or not like it’s a school I went to. I got my alumni hat right here. But here’s the thing about Princeton and the success of the Ivy League in the tournament because Ivy League’s punched above its weight for several tournaments in a row here. Here’s the thing about the Ivy League, there are no athletic scholarships, not there’s no fifth-year eligibility. In the COVID year, they didn’t play valued in that play. The Ivy League did not grant players an extra year of eligibility. So the players on the Ivy League teams in the 2020-21 ones in the 2020 season, basically took a gap year to avoid losing a year of eligibility. They just, you know, they lengthened their educational career for the sake of playing. And they didn’t have scholarships. And yet, the Ivy League team this year has beaten Arizona and beaten Missouri, and that kind of thing to kind of be creating. Pac, you know, Pac 12 SEC and, and Big East that would be a nice trifecta for an Ivy League team to pull off. So maybe you can root for Princeton because you’re a fan of doing things the right way. What do you think?

              Tom: So, the last time the ivy League’s in the 10th, and Final Four was Penn in 1979, losing the Michigan State in the semi-finals. So number two, the NCAA finals.

              Jason: I must add, yes, you hold a degree for that fine basketball institution.

              Tom: But the final four will be in Houston. So perhaps you will be in Houston seeing the Princeton tigers.

              Jason: Here’s an idea. I’ll come knocking on your door. I’ll need a place to stay.

              Tom: I have stayed at the Princeton Club in New York City. So I have a personal connection from that realm as well. And absolutely, you should feel righteous about your support of your Princeton tigers.

              Jason: Thank you. Um, if you don’t mind, Tom, I’m going to wrap up with a way that we wrap up the 8 Mindsets Podcast, because I’d love your thoughts about it, which is, at the end of every podcast, we pick our compliance Anthem Of The Week, and it’s, you know, it’s a song that can help compliance and ethics professional sort of like, get, get spirited up for the work ahead. And I have heard several conversations, especially in the coverage of the women’s bracket. on CBS, I heard reporters and coaches talking about the song of The Climb by Miley Cyrus. Sometimes I’m gonna have to lose, and about how fast I get there, and about what’s waiting on the other side, it’s the climb, and how inspiring they found it. And so I’m gonna throw that out as our anthem of the week to make a little sports connection in there. And Tom, fun as always to have this conversation with you.

              Tom: Well, let me see if I can pull this off. 

              Jason: Okay

              Tom: so that was Won’t Get Fooled Again by the Oh, there you go. And I play it for three reasons. On the number one spot, one of my favorite songs of all time, great song. Number two, it was instrumental in Top Gun Maverick soundtrack. And the third reason is that song has always meant a lot to me from a political perspective. Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. And so as a compliance professional, please keep that in mind. Have professional skepticism. You don’t have to be an auditor to have professional skepticism. But when the new boss comes in, make sure it’s not the old boss. And don’t get fooled again.

              Jason: Right and in the world of redemption. I get fooled once. But it’s the second time that counts Tom. I love doing ethics madness with you again, thanks so much for providing the platform. And for another great year. If the Houston Cougars are in the Final Four, and you have the pleasure of seeing that at home, I’ll be thinking of you. And if the Princeton Tigers make it to the Final Four, I’m going to be looking for a couch.

              Tom: So here’s why karma will put the Cougars in the Final Four not simply because I picked them to win it. 40 years ago, five Slama Jama was one of the greatest college basketball teams ever. And last to knee North Carolina State. I think it’s time for redemption for the University of Houston. And so that’s why I’m taking them all the way to the finals.

              Jason: Good luck to you, man. All right. Take care, everybody. That’s a wrap



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