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Season 3, Episode 13: Melissa Stapleton-Barnes | “Facing the Same Storm in Different Boats”: Navigating through COVID-19, Efforts in ESG, and Global Purpose

Melissa Stapleton-Barnes
April 15, 2021  |  By Cindy Moehring

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Melissa Stapleton joins Cindy Moehring to further the discussion on the future of ethics and compliance. Melissa is currently the Senior Vice President of Risk Management and Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer at Eli Lilly and Company. The two industry thought leaders trade ideas on company culture, the Business Roundtable's statement about shareholders, COVID, and the role business schools play in the future of business ethics.


Episode Transcript:


0:00:15.3 Cindy Moehring: Hi everybody, and welcome back for another episode of The BIS: The Business Integrity School. And I am really excited to have with me today, my dear friend and colleague, Melissa Barnes. Hi, Melissa. How are you?

0:00:26.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Hello, Cindy. How are you?

0:00:28.8 Cindy Moehring: I'm good. It's great to see you.

0:00:30.8 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Super to be here.

0:00:33.0 Cindy Moehring: Yeah, well, you guys, I can't wait for the whole entire audience to get to know a little bit more about Melissa, and I'm sure by the end of this video podcast, you'll understand why she and I have really become really great colleagues and great friends in this industry that we are in. But let me tell you a little bit about Melissa. So Melissa is a Senior Vice President of Enterprise Management, and she's also the Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer for Eli Lilly and Company, which I think everyone knows is a global pharmaceutical and healthcare company. In that role, Melissa leads Lilly's Global Ethics and Compliance function, and she's an executive officer of the company and serves on the executive committee.

0:01:11.4 Cindy Moehring: And since 2016, Melissa has also served on as an independent board member for the board of directors of Algonquin Power and Utilities Corporation that's headquartered in Toronto. Melissa is also the immediate past chair of the Ethics and Business Integrity Committee for the International Federation of pharmaceutical manufacturers and associations, and she serves as a board member for the Ethics Research Center. Melissa holds an undergraduate degree in Political Science and Government from Purdue and a law degree from Harvard Law School. Hi, Melissa, how are you doing today?

0:01:41.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Hi, Cindy. Doing well, doing well. Happy to be here and looking forward to a great conversation as always with my times before it.


0:01:48.6 Cindy Moehring: So first, I just have to say... So you went to Purdue and you got a government and political science degree at Purdue.

0:02:00.6 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: I did.

0:02:00.7 Cindy Moehring: I had another dear friend in law school who went to Purdue who was an engineer, and I've come to know since then that Purdue is a huge engineering school. So how did it feel to be a political science, a Government major among a bunch of engineers at Purdue?

0:02:14.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Okay, so first of all, I do love Perdue engineers and happened to marry one, so that's the good news about Purdue engineers. I actually chose Purdue because when I was choosing my undergraduate, I thought I was going into pre-vet or pre-med, and I was leaning toward pre-vet, which is why I chose Purdue. Purdue is a fantastic Veterinary Medicine School. And so that's how I ended up at Purdue, and I was... There are a couple of routes to veterinary medicine, one... At Purdue anyway, one is through chemistry and biology, and the other is through agriculture.

0:02:52.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Well, if you know me very well, you know I was not gonna go through agriculture, and so I was a chemistry and biology major for about a year, and I tell the story that it was three in the morning and I was five pages into a chemical equation and decided that is not how I wanted to spend the rest of my college career. And so I changed majors, and happened to... As an elective had taken a political science course from a fantastic professor there, and there were a few fantastic professors there in Political Science in my time, and I just developed a love for it and pursued that, and that's how I ended up a Political Science and Government major at Purdue University.

0:03:35.9 Cindy Moehring: Well, now you had been in this field, Ethics and Compliance, now legal ethics and compliance, governance, Enterprise Risk Management, all of that for a long time, and you've had such a wonderful, long, storied career at Eli Lilly. 27 years, and that is something that is really to be commended. That's fantastic. But I gotta imagine, working at Lilly must have been like none other with COVID, so what must it be like to work at a company that's actually trying to scientifically develop something the entire world needs on top of just dealing with the regular COVID stuff?

0:04:13.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Yeah. So it has been sort of an unbelievable time, I would say, for all of us really around the world, no matter what industry you're in, but certainly in the healthcare space. This has been an opportunity really for our purpose to shine, I would say. People who work at Eli Lilly and Company, companies like ours, people in the healthcare industry... Look, it's a heavily regulated space. And as well it should be, I always follow that with as well it should be, given what we do. We make medicines to give to people who are ill, who are sick, and so they are at their most vulnerable points in their lives, so that we are regulated is completely understandable and accepted.

0:04:56.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So if you're gonna work in that kind of environment, you have to love what you do, and I think that's why people at Lilly come to work, get out of bed and come to work every day, because they're so motivated by our purpose, and our purpose has never been more crystallized, and I would say as in this past year. I say, not only did we need to ensure that the 40 million people around the world to count on our medicines every day, we had to make sure that they were getting their medicines, but we also had to make sure we're keeping our employees safe, that we were serving our community, that we were doing all... And frankly, kinda harnessing science, if you will, to fight this virus with everything we had in us, not just with ourselves, but looking for collaborations and looking for ways to do this in a way that is meaningful and serving the needs of patients who are waiting.

0:05:57.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So it has been an honor, I would say, to stand back and watch team Lilly rise. It's amazing, the amount of effort that people have been willing to give. And the amazing thing I've seen, Cindy, is that we haven't had to ask anybody to do really anything much, people are willing to just go the extra mile, run the marathon at a sprinter's pace. [chuckle]

0:06:22.5 Cindy Moehring: Right.

0:06:24.2 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And do what needs to be done. Just amazing things that you would... If you had asked us before all of this got started, is it possible to do these things, I think you would have got varying answers. So it's been just a privilege and honor, and sometimes tiring. I'll admit it.

0:06:45.8 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:06:46.8 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Like everybody else. Sort of make this all happen with those core principles at the heart of it all.

0:06:55.1 Cindy Moehring: Which is fabulous to hear, but to run as a marathon at a sprint pace is truly superhuman. So how did the company like... How do you deal with that? People must have just been at their wits end more than once just because of the situation.

0:07:18.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: You know, look, we're all human, all of us, and there is a lot going on in everybody's world, right? There were people who were trying to take care of their little kids at home, who no longer had daycare or who were trying to teach their little kids at home, right, or big kids, depending on... Mine are big now. But I certainly have all the respect in the world for everyone who was trying to juggle all of that and keep things moving at work at the same time. So we spent a lot of time and effort as an executive team, frankly talking about the well-being of our employees. How to keep them engaged, how to give them the flexibility they need to make it through this time, because we care about them for the long term.

0:08:03.4 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:08:05.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So we have a fantastic well-being program at Lilly, and I think we really doubled down on that. Another thing we did is doubled down on communication, because I think people were... In order to engage people, in order to really keep their hearts and minds, they didn't know what was happening. And I think one of the good learnings that came out of this for us at least, was how important just amped up more regular, more communication than you ever thought you would ever do, how helpful that can be.

0:08:41.3 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:08:41.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And I think we're gonna take that lesson with us well beyond this pandemic about the importance of just consistent, regular communication with our employees using various media, various ways of reaching them, giving each person what they need when they need it.

0:08:58.3 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:08:58.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: I love... There's an analogy I've heard that while we were all facing the same storm, we were in different boats. And so depending on which boat you're in and what your boat looked like, you needed different things. And I think recognizing that and providing flexibility more than anything was key to all of that. 'Cause again, it's not gonna help everyone, if you say, for instance, "We're not gonna have meetings after 5:00." Well, you know, sometimes for the person who needs to get their kids and get them, that doesn't necessarily help them. So I think the key was focusing on flexibility and what works best.

0:09:38.5 Cindy Moehring: So I think another thing that we're gonna take into the future post-this pandemic is going to be a greater and continued focus on ESG. Because not only were we fighting one battle and all being in different boats, we had the other issues that rose up last year too with racism issues, and a lot of that. And that came on the heels of really the business roundtable changing it's statement on the real purpose of a corporation, from focusing just on the shareholder to saying, "No, no, no, the purpose of the corporation is to focus on all stakeholders." And I think many of us had worked for companies and Eli Lilly being one, Walmart being one that was already leading in that way. But it does say something different when you actually put it on a piece of paper, and have 181 CEOS of some of the world's largest companies sign that piece of paper. So all of a sudden, there's this much greater focus on all stakeholders, which came out of partially the pandemic and fighting that storm, fighting the racism storm, you have the business round table statement that preceded that. You've got ESG issues that have been coming up. 25 years ago, nobody was talking about this stuff, Melissa, you and I both know that.


0:11:01.0 Cindy Moehring: Just very little. Just a little bit...

0:11:04.0 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: That makes the point that I was around 25 years ago. So I can definitely confirm.


0:11:08.3 Cindy Moehring: There just really weren't. So what do you think... Let me just ask you first, what do you think was the tipping point, if you can pinpoint that at all? What do you think has caused this change?

0:11:21.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Yeah, I don't know if I would call it a tipping point, I think it's been sort of a consistent crescendo, I guess, is how I would say. I don't know if I can point to a tipping point. But I think it's the recognition that a profitable company is a well-run company, and a well-run company is more than just profits, right? And it's maybe highlighting the tension between can do and should do in that mix.

0:11:50.6 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:11:53.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So I'll use an analogy. You and I were in the ethics compliance profession for a while, right? And if we go back, which is really fairly, I would say immature profession at this point, if you compare it to law or medicine or whatever.

0:12:08.5 Cindy Moehring: Sure, right, right.

0:12:09.0 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And so if I go back a few years to ethics... Excuse me to compliance 1.0, right, 'cause that's what it was, it was compliance. And it was, "Maybe you should have a compliance officer, right? And maybe you should have a compliance program and maybe it should include these kinds of elements." And that's what I call compliance 1.0. And it was a focus on what you can do, right?

0:12:40.5 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:12:41.0 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And that's where the efforts were focused, and that's where corporations frankly, we're focused. That's what I was focused on.

0:12:47.5 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:12:49.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Then comes what I call ethics and compliance 2.0, right, where there was a recognition that you can have a beautiful program on paper and you can have a compliance officer and all of those things, but if it is sitting inside of an ugly culture that it's not going to be effective and it's not going to get you what you need. And so I think there was a few corporate scandals, and I won't call anyone out in particular, but I think we've done all to choose our favorite one, the most infamous, that prove the point that a corporate culture is absolutely critical.

0:13:20.0 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:13:22.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: To a company doing what it should do and can do right, can do and should do. So I think the focus on culture and what we're doing there brought into the mix, the ethics and compliance officer, and an ethics and compliance program and you're focusing less on... Well, you're focusing still on the can-do, but as a subset frankly, of a much larger and more important topic, integrity and ethics.

0:13:51.6 Cindy Moehring: Right.

0:13:51.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And that's when it kind of broadens to include things like what we used to call corporate social responsibility.

0:13:57.3 Cindy Moehring: Exactly, exactly, right.

0:14:00.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And you start thinking about that the should do kinds of things. I think there's also been a lot of research, frankly, that points to the fact that companies that focus on those sorts of things, the should dos, the ethically run company. The company that are not just thinking about the short-term profits but the long-term sustainability. Those companies tend to do better, right?

0:14:23.0 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:14:23.5 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: There's a lot of studies that show that those companies are well run and they're... Or they tend to be profitable, and that you kinda get the best of both worlds in that situation. So...

0:14:34.1 Cindy Moehring: I mean, anybody can go look at the research done by Ethisphere for the world's most sustainable companies and they have the statistics to show and the analytics to show that the companies on that list outperform the large cap companies. And sometimes it's by as a little much as it's been 5%, it's been 7%. It's been a lot that they outperform by. So if anybody's looking for hard metrics for the fact that a profitable company is a well-run company, to use your words and a well run company is profitable. That goes together. It doesn't have to be an either or.

0:15:06.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Yeah, I think that's absolutely right. Well I think that's the whole point behind ESG. I mean you have investors, banks looking for ESG metrics and things... It's a recognition, frankly, of the investor base, that that's true. We're gonna pay attention to this, right? Because we believe that that correlation is there, right how well the company, and again, one that's thinking about the long-term and what society is thinking about 'cause it's the... Eventually what we're as a go society, so goes policies and regulations and all of those things. And so if you're operating with that in mind, and looking around those corners and planning for that is one of the reasons I love enterprise risk management is you try to use your crystal ball and look for those things that are coming. And you can mitigate against them, and a well-mitigated risk is an opportunity. I think, I think this is a nod to that, honestly...

0:16:02.6 Cindy Moehring: Yeah, yeah, I think you're right. I think you're really right about that. So let me ask you about some examples, so last season in my video podcast series, I talked to a host of academics from all over the world about the future of business ethics. And when we brought up the topic of the Business Roundtable and a change to the stakeholder theory, many of them commented, "Well, it's really great to have it on a piece of paper, but it's really going to depend on what the companies do to bring that statement to life." So can you be... So let's be clear, Eli Lilly was a signatory, Walmart was a signatory as well, proud signatory. And I would love to hear if you've got some examples of what Eli Lilly has been doing that exemplify its position as a signatory to that new stakeholder theory?

0:16:57.5 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Sure, yeah, I think I have a few and we both are fortunate to have worked for companies that have a heritage of this kind of philosophy.

0:17:08.5 Cindy Moehring: Right.

0:17:10.6 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Lilly's 145 years old and aging, and still a company that is based on its founding principles and core values. Which is core values being integrity, excellence and respect for people. And that's guided the company, not just how we run the company internally, but how we interact with the world around us and in our communities. So this is honestly a pretty natural extension for us. It's not necessarily true of all companies, and I have respect for those companies who are newer frankly or a amalgamation of several cultures coming together right, we're all, again, in different boats.

0:17:50.4 Cindy Moehring: Right.

0:17:51.2 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: But we're fortunate to have our heritage to stand on as a foundation. So we're looking at things like when we think about as a healthcare company in particular, and we look at one of the biggest issues around the globe, it's access to quality healthcare. Right so one of the things that Lilly is committed to is an initiative that we call 30 by 30. And the idea is that we will put into place actions that will affect quality health care for 30 million people in a given year by 2030. And we do that by collaborating with different kinds of organizations or governments or not-for-profit organizations and creatively coming up with ways to reach people in resource-limited geographies and marketplaces to help them access quality health care.

0:18:42.9 Cindy Moehring: That's awesome.

0:18:43.0 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: An example of... An example of one of those kinds of collaborations is the antimicrobial resistance fund, right? And it's a fund that we're involved with, but it's a beautiful collaboration of many pharmaceutical companies and other partners, including investors and philanthropic organizations. And the idea is that this fund will bring necessary resources in terms of money and expertise, frankly, to look for new antibiotics to treat people. And that's a huge need for global economies, including in particular, right, those in resource-limited areas that antibiotic need. And so that's an example of one of those things among many others, of course, of the 30 by 30 initiative. So that's kind of our... A global example. From a community standpoint, we are a big partner with United Way. We have a long-standing commitment and partnership with United Way, and we're very proud of it. One of the things we do, we've been doing it since 2008, is a global day of service, and we kinda keep track of that. And on any given day, all Lilly employees everywhere don our red t-shirts and we go out, and we work for our community, and as a result of that we have a 1.2 million employee hours since 2008.

0:20:06.0 Cindy Moehring: Wow.

0:20:07.6 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: We've donated to our local communities, and that's wherever we live and operate in the world. So that kind of has a broad span, and just for 2020, contributions of $13.4 million to local communities, and that's from employee contributions and matching funds from our Lilly Foundation, so it's something that we take very seriously at Lilly and that our employees are... Again, it's fun to watch on these situations team Lilly rise to the occasion and really give back to community, so it's a great thing. And you mentioned social justice, and that's kind of another area that I would say, that we've taken very seriously and really tried to lead particularly in our community and started a social justice fund. We've contributed $25 million over the next five years to really try to make a difference in the social justice space and in the Indianapolis area. So that gives you a feel for community. I don't wanna leave out our own employees, 'cause I think that's such an important piece too when we think about diversity and inclusion, and we've made such great progress. So again, I've been at Lilly heading toward 27 years, and so I had the opportunity to see the progress firsthand in this space, and I'm just so proud of all we've done here.

0:21:30.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: I think we've taken a bit of a research approach to it in the past, I would say the past five to seven years, that's made just a huge difference. In our typical work space, and when we're bringing a product to market, we really need to understand exactly what's happening from a patient's perspective, right, so we do what's called this patient journey, and how does the disease affect the patient, what are the moments of truth along that, the treatment journey, if you will, how do we understand all that's happening in that patient's world so that we can develop the product in a way to meet the needs, develop the kind of data that healthcare professionals need to treat those patients along that disease journey. So we took that idea and applied it to an employee's journey at Lilly, so in different kinds of employees, types of employees. So we started with women and then we expanded to include our black employees at Lilly and the Hispanic employees at Lilly, etcetera. And what's their journey like, what are their moments of truth, and really apply a research-based approach to this, it's kind of quant and qual research, and in finding those moments of truth and addressing that, those specific needs for those specific populations, we've been able to set some aspirational goals since 2017, make real progress in this space.

0:23:03.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And as a result, we won a Catalyst Award and some other things, and it feels this methodology has been seen as something that's worth celebrating, and we're starting to see the results of that, and so really taking opportunities to make sure our employees understand that we truly value diversity and inclusion, and we're not just talking about it, we're doing something about it. And frankly, that has a huge impact for ethics and compliance, because as you and I both know, that trust piece is so important, and the willingness to speak up when and if you see an issue, certainly if you see an ethics compliance issue, well, that's very tied with if you feel comfortable bringing your authentic self to work and speaking up on any topic, right?

0:23:51.6 Cindy Moehring: Exactly.

0:23:52.6 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So you can sort of link those two very neatly together, and so I would say having a diverse and inclusive environment is absolutely linked to having an ethical business ethics kind of environment or one that's conducive to business ethics, for sure.


0:24:05.7 Cindy Moehring: So Melissa, we talked about kind of compliance 1.0, and we talked about ethics and compliance 2.0, so if you did have a crystal ball and looked into the future and you're thinking about what ethics and compliance 3.0 should be, what do you think that is?

0:24:27.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: So I actually have a theory here. Culture is important and we know that, right, but what's culture and culture is the amalgamation of individual behaviors, so I think really, truly understanding behavioral ethics, understanding people and how people react to different fact patterns and situations, that fraud triangle ripe with the human propensity that we all face, right, every single one of us, you and I included, right?

0:25:00.8 Cindy Moehring: Sure yeah.

0:25:01.5 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: If you're put in the right situation and you've got a lot of... I always make my triangle with my fingers. If you've got a problem that you're facing and you're put in the right situation or significant pressure, there's an amazing propensity, right, all the research shows to rationalize, right, and good people, really good people can make some really bad decisions in that kind of world. So I think understanding that more, and why... Not because we wanna provide an excuse, not because it's just an interesting academic endeavor, rather, if once you understand the risk, then you can mitigate against it.

0:25:38.8 Cindy Moehring: That's right.

0:25:38.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Right. And so what we talk about at Lilly, and what I think is this profession is going to move into, is how do we best mitigate against those risks? We talk about things like, back to diversity and inclusion, surround yourself with people who have different lenses, and who will speak truth.

0:26:00.5 Cindy Moehring: Yes.

0:26:01.0 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: If you know that in certain situations, you run the risk of rationalizing but surrounding yourself with people in an environment, right, in an environment where they feel comfortable speaking up, where... And so leading that way, with that kind of diverse population around you is one way to mitigate against that risk. Assigning a contrarian to a particularly difficult area, putting the patient in the room. I know some teams actually have a chair and that's... The patient is represented in the room, understanding that if we keep the patient at the center of our decisions, we're gonna get it right 99.9% of the time.

0:26:37.3 Cindy Moehring: Yeah, yeah. Yup.

0:26:39.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And so I think thinking about it in that way, and then as leaders understanding, Okay, if I understand that construct and I understand that human beings can rationalize, even really good ones, 'cause I only hire really good ones, right. Then what am I doing? So really it's self-analyzing what am I doing as a leader to put pressure on my team.

0:27:03.0 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:27:03.8 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And we all have that, right? We have pressure to perform, we have performance metrics, all those things.

0:27:07.9 Cindy Moehring: Yeah.

0:27:08.4 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: But then what am I doing to mitigate against rationalization? If I do that, how am I keeping tabs on? What questions am I asking? How am I measuring whether or not that pressure is appropriate or not? And so it's... I think that human behavior part is gonna take a much, much bigger role, and here's the other part, we're gonna need to marry it with data, right? So as we understand that there's this huge proliferation of data and transparency, we all have more data on us than we ever thought we would, for sure. At least I do. And there's data on everything, and so looking for and capturing that data and understanding what that means from a human standpoint, right, it... This... When I think about leaders looking at their teams, if you see three key metrics and they triangulate in a certain way, does that... Is that predictive of bad decisions or the perfect storm for the kinds of rationalizations that none of us want. So harnessing the data that we have, the more and more and more increasing more and more data that we have as organizations, harnessing that, getting smart about how we use it, using technology to mine it and pull together that predictive piece, I think is gonna be part of Ethics and Compliance 3.0. That's my prediction.

0:28:35.9 Cindy Moehring: I do too. I think you're right. So if that's your vision, if you only have three words to really describe what you think the future of business ethics and responsible business growth should be. What would those three words be?

0:28:52.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Okay. This is easy, and I say it all the time. So that why it's easy, so it's Win with Integrity.

0:28:57.3 Cindy Moehring: Oh, that's great.

0:28:58.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And it's win because look, I happen to work for a company with an awesome purpose, so we unite carrying a discovery to create medicines to make life better for people around the world, and I think everybody would say, Yeah, we want you to win at that. So I think winning has an integrity all to its own... Well, of course, we want to win with integrity, the how matters.

0:29:22.5 Cindy Moehring: Yeah, yeah.

0:29:24.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: It matters so much in the healthcare space. Trust is important to every industry, but trust is particularly important in the healthcare space. Again, why I mentioned earlier, people are at their most vulnerable points when they need our medicines, and so they have to be able to trust us.

0:29:39.2 Cindy Moehring: Alright, so you mentioned academics, so my last question to you before a fun one at the end is, What do you think that business schools ought to be really focusing on right now to best prepare students to enter this turbulent world and still win with integrity, to use your words? What do we... Should we be focusing on?

0:30:02.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Well, I think from a business ethics standpoint, the one thing I always say is you have to know the business, and so I would say business schools in particular are teaching a pretty critical skill set, if you will, in and of itself. So in any chosen field, if I were talking to a student, I'd say, whatever field you're going into, you need to understand it the best you absolutely can. You need to know the business front to back, and you need to understand it because you're not gonna even recognize ethical dilemmas if you don't understand the business, the markets, your competitors, what those products are intended to do, the unintended impact of metrics, for instance. So understanding how your business works, well, how it functions in the marketplace, I think is foundational, okay?

0:30:57.7 Cindy Moehring: Yup.

0:31:00.5 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: From there, I think... I'm gonna go back and pick up a point I mentioned before, I think understanding human behavior...

0:31:05.0 Cindy Moehring: Got it.

0:31:06.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Is absolutely critical. So that you know it for yourself and you can... You can do your own work, create your own teams, find your own space in a way that allows you to mitigate against the risks that you yourself face, those rationalization vulnerabilities, as well as as you move through your career when you're leading teams, I think it's that human piece will... I think it's what really separates leaders, right?

0:31:35.7 Cindy Moehring: Yup, yup.

0:31:37.8 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: It's putting those two things together. I think what really takes leaders the farthest, I would say.

0:31:47.6 Cindy Moehring: I think you're right. Well, and you have clearly mastered that skill, in my opinion, measuring... Putting together both the IQ and the EQ, so this has been a really insightful conversation, Melissa, and I appreciate you sharing with us everything you did about Lilly and what kind of year this has been and examples of how they're living out the business roundtable statement and thoughts on ESG in the future of ethics and integrity. But I have one last really fun question for you, I know you've been super busy this last year, but have you had any time at all to watch anything or read anything for fun, for a little bit of release. But they also had a really kind of cool ethical dilemma to it the more you watched it, or read it.

0:32:32.9 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Okay, yeah, yeah, yeah. Okay, so here's a fun one, it's a bit of a mindless one, but I think it makes the point, so my husband and I actually have watched a few episodes of Good Girls.


0:32:47.1 Cindy Moehring: I love that one. I do.

0:32:48.6 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Okay, okay. Okay, and I actually joked with him that I think this should be required watching when you're coming into Ethics and Compliance, because I think it makes the point exactly that you can rationalize... Good people, otherwise good normal people can rationalize terrible decisions, right, and that once you get started down that road, so this is about... For those people who are listening who may not know what this show is about, it's about these three otherwise normal suburban women who are in pretty rotten situations personally, each of them, and that's what causes them to find themselves, where they find it somehow wise in their minds, to rob a grocery store. And then it just... The snow ball starts rolling.

0:33:40.1 Cindy Moehring: Right.

0:33:40.8 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: But isn't that true though, as you think about the various corporate scandals you've read about or dealt with heaven forbid, it starts with just one bad decision, right, and before you know it, that decision snowballs into something and rolls farther than you ever intended it to go, right?

0:34:00.2 Cindy Moehring: I know. Right.

0:34:01.1 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: And so I think it's a great example of making just this point that we've started talking about, but it's also very funny and entertaining and something that's fun to watch after a long day.

0:34:14.8 Cindy Moehring: After a long day when you just needed to be mindless, and you laugh a little bit, but you're like, Oh my gosh, they are totally normal women!

0:34:21.3 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Exactly, exactly. It makes the point. It makes the point.

0:34:24.6 Cindy Moehring: Yeah, it does. Melissa, this has been fabulous. Thank you so much for being so giving of your time, I appreciate it, and I know these are very busy times for you, so thank you again, I really appreciate it.

0:34:36.7 Melissa Stapleton-Barnes: Well, thank you, Cindy for the opportunity, it's always fun to talk business ethics with a fellow professional, so thank you.

0:34:43.6 Cindy Moehring: You're welcome. And that's it. It's a wrap for this week. We'll be back again next week for another episode of The BIS: The Business Integrity School. So we look forward to seeing you all back then. Thanks. Bye bye.


Matt WallerCindy Moehring is the founder and executive chair of the Business Integrity Leadership Initiative at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. She recently retired from Walmart after 20 years, where she served as senior vice president, Global Chief Ethics Officer, and senior vice president, U.S. Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer.

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