Tone at the top

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NBC’s Silence on Brian Williams Speaks Louder Than Words

“In business, there is an unwritten code of conduct set by something called the ‘tone at the top.’

‘Tone at the top is a term that started in the field of accounting. It is used to describe an organization’s general ethical climate in regards to financial controls. Today, its meaning has gone beyond finance to encompass overall business ethics’.

Tone at the top also sets the culture of an organization whether it is a political administration, company, or sports team. …

Tone at the top matters and should matter to you in your job. I have worked on behalf of many organizations. And each one has a different personality, or tone. Some are quite formal – some more freewheeling. But, no matter what their personality; each sets a tone of ethics that goes beyond honest reporting of finances.

Think about your own company. Does it have an ethics where it is one of teamwork, or one of every person for himself or herself? Are you supported, or hung out to dry? …

… Dean Smith, the iconic coach of North Carolina basketball who recently passed away. One thing I noticed was that Coach Smith taught his players to point to the passer, person who made the assist – not the one who made the basket. He had his team notice the person usually left unnoticed. It is a tone at the top of support.”

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