Computer showing hacking alert and critical error message flashing on screen

I’m baffled, that doesn’t happen very often.

This is a personal insight post, with little connection to my normal topics. If you feel like reading it to gain a better perspective on my thought process or care to engage in conversation, feel free.  I apologize if the specifics of the situation are vague, but due to confidentiality and relationships I don’t have the luxury of disclosing the problem at this time.

Today I shot coffee out my nose. I wanted to laugh, but it was too painful.

In dealing with executive teams, I give expert level insight to both tactical and strategic questions. I am also usually one of the handful of voices that has the character and professional understanding to ask the really hard questions or the questions that no one knows.

Don’t get me wrong. I am the nicest guy.
I can be casual and personable, but I can also be a hatchet man (disclaimer, I am a Gemini.)

It is my default nature to be casual and personable. I don’t like finding myself in situations that require me to declare my intellectual business side. It is my fundamental belief that push should never come to shove… but when I find out that I am standing on a cliff and the only way I can save the group behind me is by shoving someone off it…

I simply think “Adios” and give the required nudge.

Does this make me evil? No…. it makes me a leader.

Leaders are forced to make really hard decisions for the greater good.

But I don’t claim any pleasure in the sacrifice.

With that said, a situation has presented itself regarding a good number of clients and worldwide business consumers.

The root problem: technology and social change is happening so quickly that ethics become victim those who are savvy enough to take advantage of them.

  • I’ve taken every possible step to prevent a catastrophic failure in occurring, to no avail.
  • I’ve extended a “no charge” prospect pipeline for ninety days to educate, to no avail.
  • I’ve connected with industry thought-leaders, communicated expert level debate, and sought external guidance… to no avail.

The correlated problems:

  • Information overload often causes the lack of interest in most executives
  • Many executives have little ability to connect digital value
  • Most executives bluff poorly (and usually have few cards or safefy nets)
  • Most executives have limited legal / policy experience
  • Most managers have limited public relations experience
  • Most people don’t know what they don’t know
  • All executives watch the “career warning indicator”
  • Enterprise organizations support “passing-the-ball” and “hot potato”
  • Few executives have the personal character to hire people smarter than they are

The end result:

  • Has yet to be written. The situation at hand exceeds the $10m mark, with a potential to grow past that point in a flash.
  • It has the ramifications that dozens (if not hundreds) of employees could be affected.
  • It has the ramification of hundreds (if not thousands) of consumers are affected.

The future:

  • Will be guided by ethics and morality, not profit.
  • Will be guided by the good of the greater, not of the few.
  • Will rest on the shoulders of not only myself, but of those who take responsibility and don’t look the other way.

My question

At what point in time do you draw the line between being ignorant of a situation and the specific avoidance of an issue that has potential downfalls? For instance: if you know that someone you are doing business with is creating an unethical margin of profit based on deceit, how do you define the moment when you cut the rope of education and let them fall?