As anyone following the Olympics on even a casual basis knows, a few days ago four badminton teams were disqualified for trying to intentionally lose matches in order to improve their position in subsequent rounds. They were shown the dreaded “black card”.
At first, I was not going to write anything, then a British cyclist intentionally crashed half-way through a team race on the velodrome, which entitled the team a chance to restart. On the “do over” the team, indeed, had a superior time. There was no disqualification. Then today, a runner was disqualified for not running hard enough in a qualifying heat, it being reported he was “saving himself” for another event in which he was entered. So, similar behavior in different sports, and with different outcomes. But, there is unanimity in the ethical conclusion the behavior is not acceptable.
Now, I am truly perplexed. Are there any circumstances in business where one might wish to intentionally “lose” in competition? Once you start thinking about it, you realize there are tons of situations where losing on purpose makes sense. Securities markets trade “short” and “long”; employees “throw” transactions in exchange for other consideration, etc. So, in designing your business systems, what controls are needed to protect your company against the possibility that an employee may wish to pretend to play the game?
Using my Trust Prism is somewhat like a truth serum. Just like a prism disperses light, my analytical process demands that all of the operating data from a system or process be capable of being examined. Only by doing so can we expose the type of data that may be indicative of when someone on our team is actually playing to lose.