Courage by definition is the willingness to do something that frightens oneself.
In a business context it usually requires people to do the right thing rather than acting in their own financial interest. Doing the right thing is frightening for those with a lot to loose.
Ethics and compliance with regulations is comparably a low bar for businesses but still a challenging hurtle for companies focused on maximizing returns to shareholders.
Tenet is a good example of a leading edge company focused on maximizing shareholder returns that has experienced compliance issues.
The company has made early investments in technologies that help them reduce operating costs, streamline revenue cycle processes and accurately report revenue related numbers.
The problem is that some operators put the financial focus ahead of the company’s purpose of providing high quality care to the patients in the communities that they serve. In some instances, patients paid a very high price.
If you need details, google Tenet’s issues in Redding, California. Nurses at the facility eventually “blew the whistle” but given the company’s focus on financial operations, others likely new something was wrong but they didn’t have the courage to question the physician or Administrators involved.
Cases like Redding create trust issues with payers, partners, employees and healthcare consumers. The company pays a hefty price for years even when corrective actions are taken.
The question that remains to be answered, is it worth it?
Did you know that CVS stopped selling tobacco products in all of the company’s pharmacies in 2014? Despite the loss of $2 Billion in annual sales, executives decided it was the right thing to do.
The company couldn’t be an authentic partner to healthcare providers when they were selling a product known to create significant health issues. They put their mission ahead of their financial gain.
Reportedly, the company didn’t suffer because they were able to replace the revenue stream with new and enhanced services that better aligned with their core mission. Apparently, people in communities with a CVS have changed their tobacco consumption habits as a result – not their purchasing habits.
Other pharmacy companies have continued selling tobacco and claiming they are complying with all laws and regulations. Those companies continue to profit from the sale of tobacco and people continue to smoke.
Is compliance enough when we already know the negative impact to the consumer?
Your answers will reflect your belief and values. For companies, the answers need to reflect how they operate in order to operate authentically and to attract the employees, partners and others that align with their beliefs and values.