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GRC Professional : GRC Winter 2012
profile 22 GRC Professional • Winter 2012 Simon illingworth Simon uses his experience as a former police investigator in his new career as head of consultancy Ethical Strength. former cop and anti-corruption whistleblower Simon illingworth Taking a stand against entrenched corruption in the Victorian police force made the former cop a ‘dead man walking.’ Today Simon Illingworth leads Ethical Strength, with a mission to support and assist those facing ethical dilemmas in organisations. He talks to GRC Professional about lessons from his time on the force, and how organisations can safeguard integrity and build culture under pressure. Your autobiography filthy rat is a sobering account of crookedness on the force. what can organisations do to promote ethical behaviour? An important lesson of my experiences is that for organisations to safeguard ethics, those who do the right thing need to be encouraged and supported. The idea that an ethical culture requires both the carrot and stick approach is a good one. What is strange however is that we often focus primarily on the stick. Punishment, new rules and laws are fine but this is only one part of the equation. Good employees often leave because they’re fed up with the lack of encouragement, the long hours without reward and making tough decisions that go unrecognised. This isn’t a money thing, it is as simple as the boss giving them a pat on the back for a job well done. Focus on the carrot. That’s good practice towards building a culture receptive to ‘speaking out.’ in your book you talk about the movie stereotype of the rogue cop who breaks rules to get the job done. what can organisations do to ensure policies are followed? In the book I call this “tackling wrong with wrong.” Nobody wins. The rogue cop is just the same as a rogue trader. They’re likable, they have plenty of friends and contacts and they ‘shoot the lights out’ with their results, but, unfortunately, they’re just crooks. They don’t follow rules or the law and hence they’re cheats. Their results are fake. Unfortunately they often deliberately compromise other employees with their actions. They are a great risk to any organisation. You have said that a good cop socialises with civilians and doesn’t isolate from the public. is this a useful principal for organisations? I am a firm believer that no matter what you do, you must have outside interests and friends. This keeps us interested in things beyond work, it gives our brain some downtime and ‘keeps it real,’ which is especially important for upper management. This was critically important during some of my complex homicide investigations By OBelia MOdjeska
GRC Autumn 2012
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