Salesforce And Trust: Leadership From The Top

2019 began with a trust “bang” when Salesforce (CRM) CEO Marc Benioff announced a new position in his company. Essentially, after some deep soul searching, this CEO recognizes that most large organizations, including the tech sector, have a trust problem and he is committed to solving that. Marc is one of a small yet growing cadre of enlightened leaders, and with the appointment of Paula Goldman from Omidyar Network, Salesforce now has a Chief Ethics and Humane Use Officer.

I recently asked a few of Trust Across America’s Trust Council members to weigh in on how Paula can be most effective in her new role.

Donna Boehme who heads Compliance Strategists and has been a leading voice for Compliance 2.0 had this to say:

As the CEO says, it’s been “dark days” for the tech industry, which is by no means an overstatement. With so much change leading to an aggregation of power in the big tech companies, the industry is long overdue for a reckoning. By appointing a senior executive to begin to manage such issues at his company, the CEO is demonstrating intuitive foresight and risk assessment. I also imagine he has seen the disasters that befall companies that fail to value ethical leadership and culture as a key company asset.

That’s quite a high minded and open-ended title to the extent it opens the door to confusion and misinterpretation. Ms. Goldman should do what I often coach new chief compliance and ethics officers (CECOs) to do: refine her title and ensure she has a clear written mandate for the role that is understood and agreed by all of senior management.

In that vein, Bob Whipple at Leadergrow had similar advice for Paula:

Make sure to have clarity of your role.Many a “Chief Ethical Officer” has found out that he or she is ultimately like an appendix. I have always believed that ethical culture is a line rather than a staff function. Also, try to figure out what “humane use” really means.

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