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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

An Outdated Strategy

Given the range of human ability and temperament, it's likely every profession will have a share of people who give the rest of that profession a bad name. For every corrupt cop, there is somewhere an unethical lawyer or incompetent doctor.

When encountering people like this, what is an honorable professional posture? I come from a family of teachers. I'd like to claim we agree on effective methods to weed out substandard teachers - we do not. Hell, we can't even agree on whether teachers need regular supervision. Imagine our conversations about the wisdom of tenure, the efficacy of Unions, performance reviews. When any profession embraces "circle the wagons" as a default posture, how do the good guys, i.e. most of us, have any hope of maintaining the public trust? How do we resist becoming complacent and cynical when we let the losers do their damage and remain silent? 

How many times have you heard this - "You don't/can't/won't ever understand what it's like to be a (fill in with a profession)."  No I don't. But so what? Because I don't understand what it's like to be a financial adviser, you as a financial adviser get to excuse, ignore or condone the crooked ones? And how is that helping the situation? I'm not naive and have myself overlooked lousy performance in colleagues and subordinates more than once in my life. But it's very possible circling the wagons has outlived any usefulness it ever had as a strategy. Your thoughts?       

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