Is your ambition in life to accumulate wealth without taking into account the moral issues? That it does not matter how you do it provided you accumulate wealth? Are you using the resources of your organisation in a sustainable manner? Are you allocating resources unfairly for your personal benefit? The examples of being greedy are many and the following can be used to illustrate the point;
Are you always looking for weaknesses in the system to take advantage of?
It should not be your habit of always finding loopholes in the system in order to take advantage of them to accumulate wealth for yourself. The existence of a weakness in the system does not mean you exploit them to your advantage. You should strive at closing the loopholes instead of keeping them open. Probability is high that greedy people may be reluctant to address certain weaknesses as they may wish to take advantage of them at a future date.
Have you designed a generous bonus system not based on performance?
I find it alright for staff and management to earn bonus remuneration provided the income is based on sustainable performance of the organisation. The income should not be created for the sake of earning bonus through understating expenses and overstating income. I have reservation on bonus schemes where the bonus is earned and payable irrespective of the performance of the organisation. There are also question marks where the performance bonus is too generous. It is considered to be too generous when it is based on top line (gross income) and in situations where it is based on the bottom line (profit) but the percentage of bonus is too high.
Are you too close to the customers and suppliers?
It is good for business for you to have a good business relationship with your customers and suppliers for the benefit of your organisation and not for your personal benefit. Any discount given or received or commission earned should be for the benefit of your organisation. Do you only deal with organisations which give you a personal benefit in form of commissions? What are the reasons for the supplier to give you commissions? I guess to influence your judgement. Do you think you can earn commission from your suppliers and at the same time negotiate with them to get competitive prices from them for your organisation? I highly doubt it.
Basis of employment
Some organisations do not recruit their employees in a transparent manner for a number of reasons. A non-transparent manner of recruitment brings staff on board not on the basis of technical ability but of technical know who. You cannot have quality staff if you are recruiting new staff recommended by your friends and relatives. I have faced challenges in my career of saying no to my friends and relatives because of recommending to me their children and relatives who cannot pass the interview. When you compromise quality so that you can have your relatives and children of friends on board, you are cheating your employer. You could have rare exceptions of bringing one or two people on board through the window of technical know who because of business reasons. I am sure you will agree with me the reasons for recruiting new staff on the basis of technical knowhow are rarely for the benefit of the employer but for personal benefits. You want to please some people for personal gain or to fill the positions with incompetent people to allow room for frauds to go through. Anything done for personal benefit tends to have some immoral tentacles attached to it.
Are professional advisors independent?
Are your professional advisors your former school or college mate or close relatives? What are the reasons for putting them as non-independent advisors on board? Did they qualify through a transparent system? Do the advisors have the capacity to give you to walk the business journey with you and at the same time remain independent to give professional opinion? Professional advisors who are not independent tend to rubber stamp whatever they are requested to do by the appointing authority. Non –independent advisors are a liability to the organisation.
Do you have inadequate management information system?
I have had a chance in my career to advice organisations which had inadequate management system in place. Many of them if not all were fertile grounds for frauds because of lack of correct and update information for decision making. I found out the poor management information system made it difficult to prevent and to promptly discover the frauds. I also confirmed the reasons for the existence of inadequate information systems. The system existed as a result of either incompetence on the side of management due to recruiting staff on technical know who as opposed to technical know how or deliberate action by management to keep the system confused for purposes of making it easy to commit frauds.
If you are too greedy in accumulating wealth there is a high possibility that you condone immoral activities within your organisation. You cannot also have an organisation with morally correct culture if it is headed by greedy people. For sure you cannot trust a greedy person to properly manage your organisation as you cannot trust a hyena to keep your meat safely.
John Muhaise Bikalemesa
Director: Big Drum Advisory Services Limited