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color bullet "Enron Redux"

By Kenny Moore

Here�s yet another article about that large, international, multi-billion dollar corporation that got itself into trouble by engaging in business practices that wound up being hidden.  And they made it all undiscussable.  

Then the undiscussability became undiscussable.  Just like other self-sealing processes with sinister foundations, it was just a matter of time before the massive cover-up hit the press.  Then executives brought in the lawyers, denied any wrongdoing and did a lot of back-pedaling.  There were quick changes made to auditing procedures back at headquarters.  Some heads rolled.  But a lot of small people got hurt and the broader world community remains bewildered.

No, it�s not Enron.  Yes, it is the Catholic Church.

In particular, it�s Cardinal Law over in Boston and a pedophile priest who�s been around for decades.  The cardinal said he didn�t know.  When he found out, he took appropriate action.  Back in Rome, the Pope said they�re changing the self-auditing policy to make sure this never happens again.  The media�s been on a frenzy to write about the sexy, hot news.

I�m not here to further castigate Catholicism.  My intent is to put the Enron debacle into a broader context.  All organizations, religious as well as secular, are fallible institutions made up of frail human beings.  Never perfect.  Often honest.  Occasionally flawed and greedy.  It�s in all of us. Don�t forget: tax season is right around the corner.  We�re all praying that the understaffed IRS doesn�t look too closely at our returns.

I spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest.  For the last 18 years I�ve worked in big business.  Truth be told, it�s not all that different - except now my pay�s a lot better.  What I�ve come to find is that the vast majority of people are good.  Often doing their best in a flawed, human system.  When the proverbial dung hits the fan, we rush to judge and condemn.  Especially those in authority.  What goes unexamined is the deeper question: what�s my contribution to the problem?  Evil doesn�t exist in a vacuum.  It resides in the community.  I�m not just a passive victim, dependent on the errors of those in power.  I collude.  I perpetuate the flawed system. Sometimes, actively; often, passively.  To the degree I believe that I�m somehow outside of the problem, to that degree I contribute to it.

My intent is not to be mean-spirited; it�s to be liberating.  To the extent that I can own my personal contribution to the problem, to that extent I can become free.  While I may never get the CEO�s attention, I can effect change on a personal level.  And in the business world, it�s one of the most powerful things I can do: become a living model of those wonderful ideals I so glibly throw out to others.  Corporate values and professional integrity take on meaning with me ... in the present moment.  How I respond to co-workers and conduct my menial business tasks make a difference.  A rather powerful one.

My monastic course in moral theology taught that we couldn�t demand the heroic of people; we could only invite it. Enron has given us the invitation.  I�m hoping I can muster the courage to respond to that invitation when I show up at work tomorrow.

About the Author

Kenny says, "If you�re thinking about writing me, give in to the temptation.  I love getting mail ... and being influenced by what you have to say.  Please E-mail me at kennythemonk [at]"

Kenny Moore is co-author of �The CEO and the Monk: One Company�s Journey to Profit and  Purpose� (John Wiley and Sons, 2004), rated as one of the Top Ten best-selling business books on  He has over 20 years experience with change management, leadership development and healing the corporate community.  Prior to his work in corporate America, Kenny spent 15 years in a monastic community as a Catholic priest � doing a very similar kind of work, but getting paid a lot less.

Kenny has been profiled on CBS Sunday Morning News, and interviewed by Tom Peters, The Wall Street Journal and Fast Company magazine regarding his unique leadership style.  He can be reached at (973) 956-8210 or kennythemonk [at]

Copyright (c) Kenneth Moore 2002, used with permission of the author.  Thanks, Kenny!!

Page updated: May 11, 2023   

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