If ‘leader’ or ‘leadership’ is associated with your role in business or community then I recommend you take this crash course in Ethical Leadership.

Author, Dennis Gentilin and his research assistant Vanessa Kirby have digested every possible finding, study and research relating to ethics; analysed it rigorously and regurgitated into useful supportive information which reinforces the most important message of this book: how powerful your choice of behaviour impacts the sustainability of an ethical organisation.

If you’re accountable for organisational culture and curious if you are supporting or sabotaging this culture, then this is one hell of a read; it guarantees to confirm your thoughts and suspicions.


Leaders lost their roles in this building.

Gentilin was the courageous foreign exchange trading scandal ‘whistle-blower” at the National Australia Bank (NAB) in January 2004 which uncovered $360 million of unauthorised currency transactions resulting in the company being on the front cover of most Australian tabloids for 100 days, reporting on senior leadership sackings; dragging the NAB from its powerful company position status.

Whilst working in NAB’s Risk division at this time, I witness followers (staff) questioning their relationship with the company. We spent many months ensuring we retained our talented team whilst reviewing how authentic we were living our company values. (I now realise we were examining our ethics.)

Gentilin politely identifies what went wrong at the NAB. He summaries and describes how management behaved badly and has turned this failure into a book of lessons for leaders; applicable to all sectors and industries, not limited to those in financial services.

Four lessons resinated with me:

This is a must read for leaders.

Power: how you shape systems and create context - where your choice of actions and decisions are either supporting or sabotaging your personal and business values

Self Esteem: how the role of your ego, how you evaluate your own worth and importance, your capability to opt on and off the ‘flow of success’ have a consequence far greater than your fear of losing face

Moral compass: how your ethical vernacular is heard and how you apply it in your decision making – is it a business decision or an ethical decision – what is guiding you?

Diversity: how recruiting similar powerful attributes in teams, will deindividulise, submerging and transforming peoples’ morals and thinking

To commence your personal ethical examination, consider how you would answer these questions:

·        Is your business an incubator for ethical failures?

·        Do you represent and live the values of your business, 100% of the time?

·        What is your moral compass telling you?

·        Are you a ‘first class noticer’?

·        Do you reward ethical champions?

·        What signals do your behaviours send to others?

·        Are the choices you make aligned with your values?

·        In a business dilemma, is ethics in your vernacular?

·         Are ethics evident when you make decisions?

·        Does your business have a Chief Ethics Officer?


How did you go answering these questions? If you were able to answer these quickly, I suggest you didn’t take enough time. As Gretilin suggests, you need to take your time to reflect, to make ethical decisions.

Connect with me if you’re enjoying what you’re reading and learning. I am a specialist in Leadership Development and Performance and spend my days turning managers into leaders.

I’m endeavouring to read 52 Business/Professional/Personal Development books in 52 weeks. Yep, that’s one a week. As I read each book, I’ll share my thoughts, learning and recommendations. If there is a book that you’ve been meaning to read, let me know and I’ll read it for us!