ETHICS, RATIONALIZATION,
DECEIPT (& WORSE)

by Joel Saltzman


 

Recently, I became a whistleblower against fraud, taking one-small-step towards truth and fair play.

Reviewing an Explanation of Benefits, mailed to me by my health insurance company, I discovered that my new chiropractor had submitted claims totaling more than THREE-TIMES the amount I'd been billed. More than a little curious (not to mention suspicious) I called him on the phone, asking: "Did someone make a mistake here?"

"No, we're just helping you get closer to meeting your deductible."

"Isn't that fraud?"

"Not at all! It's only fraud if I start collecting money that's not due me.
And that's not going to happen because once your deductible is met we'll start billing differently."

"So you bill differently based on whether the deductible is met?"

"Exactly."

"I gotta tell you. This sounds a bit like Enron-accounting."

"You don't understand insurance. And that's okay. It took me a long time to figure it out myself."

"So you're not doing anything unethical?"

"Not at all."

"Let me ask you this," I pressed on. "If you and I were sitting with a representative of the insurance company and he was listening to our conversation, would you be the least bit concerned that he'd view your actions as unethical or illegal?"

"Not at all. In fact, I've lived my entire life by the highest ethical standards."

And that's why I felt compelled to blow the whistle on Dr. Ethics. The insurance company has launched an investigation and I'm in the process of looking for a new chiropractor.

How does someone possibly arrive at such delusional thinking?

It's easy. Take a simple ethical dilemma -- like "Should I fake the numbers?" -- and align your thinking so it benefits YOU. If necessary, add a pinch of rationalization ("everyone does it") and you're on your way to increased profits.

Left unchecked, however, this slippery-slope thinking will lead certain individuals straight down to that magical place where, as they say: "UP is DOWN ... LEFT is RIGHT ... and I am RIGHT no matter what the TRUTH may be."

For the mathematically inclined, the formula looks like this:

ME + "everyone does it" = trouble for everyone

For more information on making sound ethical business decisions, see my 2-page guideline sheet, "What Should I Do?"

(Alternatively, feel free to hire me for your next meeting or conference.)

And remember:

"In times of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act." - George Orwell

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Biographical Information:

Joel Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator, and consultant who teaches people in business to Shake That Brain! - for winning solutions AND lots of fun. His latest book is, Shake That Brain!: How to Create Winning Solutions and Have Fun While You're at It (Wiley 2006). Website: www.shakethatbrain.com


 

 

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