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The ‘pig factor’: tales from the trough

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

Rudy Giuliani has a pet name for greed in the corporate world: “the pig factor.”

A common example of piggishness: overstating the cost of the travel or lunch, which throws the whole honor system into jeopardy, says Giuliani. Not only is that stealing, the former New York City mayor says; it’s a form of bullying.

“And it doesn’t even have to be overt fraud,” Giuliani writes in his book, Leadership. “Sometimes, people can even overdo legitimate expenses. Soon enough, the company cracks down and imposes limitations that hamper even justifiable and reasonable expenses.”

The Enron mess provides a spectacular example of the pig factor, he says. Many organizations use the same accounting rules for benign reasons, but Enron abused those rules so ruthlessly to hide its losses that the company was bound to fail.

The result: Now, all public companies face stricter accounting rules, which require a new and expensive layer of accounting that doesn’t produce any product. So, guess who ultimately will have to pay for it? Everybody.

— Adapted from “The Pig Factor,” Rudolph Giuliani, Across the Board.

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