Tone at the middle

July 29, 2013

By  via inc.com   Article

How to Defuse an Ethical Time-Bomb in Your Company

“Maybe you think that problems can’t infect your company because you’ve got clearly stated rules against them. Boy, are you in for a surprise.

Nothing keeps a business owner up at night like the nagging feeling that ethical time bombs are ticking somewhere in his or her company. Human nature being what it is, no company is immune from problems–from the deliberate frauds and rogue actions of traders gone wild to the gradual erosion of values and ethical standards because “everyone does it.” … If there is a time bomb in your company, people know about it. You just need to get them to tell you. …

An ounce of prevention…

Traditional ethical strategies focus on compliance programs, ethics training, and traditional operational risk assessment. But you should focus instead on:

  • Emphasizing not only “tone at the top” but “tone at the middle.”
  • Creating a culture where people can discuss risk and dubious behavior
  • Popularizing the use of ethical “tests”: for example, “How would we look if this business practice became public?”
  • Encouraging story telling about respected company leaders who overcame moral dilemmas in the past.
  • Ensuring that reward systems don’t create conflicts between business objectives and integrity norms.”
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Giving liars a second chance

July 15, 2013

By Dan Rockwell via Leadership Freak Blog   Article

“Liars lie for gain, protection, or harm. Lies are self-serving manipulations that violate trust. Some lies are malicious. Others are spoken for personal gain. Still others are silent omissions. The lies we tell include:

  1. I’m sick.
  2. Customers come first.
  3. There’s just this one little problem.
  4. People are our most valuable asset.
  5. That’s great. …

Caught in a lie:

… giving liars second chances … ‘It depends.’

  1. … Was the liar protecting someone? Were they protecting some deeply held secret of their own, the exposure of which would harm them? …
  2. Did the person fess up about the lie, or were they caught?
  3. Is the lie an outlier? Or is it an extension of other lies, or worse an escalation.”

Women and ethical compromises

June 10, 2013

Via Knowledge@Wharton   Article

Why Emphasizing Ethics Matters to Female Employees

“The first study found that women on average felt more moral outrage than men when confronted with decisions that went against their values, and also thought those decisions made less practical business sense. … ‘When ethical values were compromised, people were as outraged when social status was gained as when money was gained’ …

when presented in the second study with simulated job descriptions in the fields of consulting, private equity and wealth management, women only reported less interest than men when the blurbs stated that the firms required employees to prioritize profits or status over ethics when they conflicted. But when the position outlines indicated that a company valued ethics, or when they simply didn’t mention ethics at all, women expressed as much interest in the jobs as male participants …

In the final study … researchers asked men and women to classify words they associated with either business or law. Women’s reaction times showed they were more likely than men to correlate words like ‘wrong’ or ‘unethical’ with business, even though the legal field typically isn’t devoid of ethical dilemmas. ‘The research doesn’t clearly say that women are more ethical than men … and it doesn’t say that business actually is more unethical than law or medicine. It says that women perceive it to be more unethical’ …

‘… the research suggests that, to the extent that businesses want to retain talented women, they should be holding ethics training, selecting leaders who have high ethical standards and emphasizing ethics within the core culture of the company’ ….  ‘It could also be a good reason to encourage all employees to voice ethical concerns when they have them.'”


One’s principles

May 27, 2013

It is easier to fight for one’s principles than to live up to them.”

— Alfred Adler,
Austrian medical doctor and psychotherapist


Moral flexibility

May 20, 2013

SourceMoral flexibility


The tree is the real thing

March 11, 2013

By Helen Raleigh via cobizmag.com   Article

Reducing the trust deficit

“Today’s leadership coaches spend a great deal of time on qualities such as vision and communication skills, but one important element is often missing: character development. The kind of character I am referring to is being truthful – say what you mean; mean what you say; and back up what you say with action.

Unfortunately, we as a society are so consumed with being politically correct, we not only stop saying what we mean and meaning what we say; but also stop expecting the kind of truthful character from our leaders ….

… Trust is not only the core of a society’s moral fiber, but also the foundation of our economic system. Trust cannot be demanded. One has to earn it. In a free economy, you will only exchange goods and services with someone you can trust ….

… we are not in business to sell goods and services. What we are selling is a guarantee that we will make good on our promises. Abraham Lincoln said, ‘Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.'”


Etsy’s Model

March 11, 2013

By Kelsey Campbell Dollaghan via Co.Design   Article

How Etsy’s Model Could Solve The Tech Industry’s Diversity Problem

“A grant program targeting women increased Etsy’s female engineer count by 500% in a year. It’s a model that could work for increasing diversity across the board. …

Anyone can succeed in tech, regardless of their gender, race, or choice of footwear, as long as they’ve got the smarts. Right? In theory, the answer is yes. But take a look at the makeup of most major companies, and you’ll find a wealth of white, male employees.

As Etsy CTO Kellan Elliott-McCrea pointed out in a lecture recently posted on First Round Capital’s blog, the lack of diversity in the tech industry isn’t always for want of trying. Faced with problems created by an all-male engineering team, Elliott-McCrea set out to increase the number of female engineers at Etsy in 2010. After a year of miserable results (they actually lost 35% of their women engineers), he tried a new approach that has since transformed the gender makeup of Etsy’s team. Brett Berson explains: ….”

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