The Ethics Challenge
The newspapers (and our blog) are full of stories of unethical politicians; the sports pages full of rule-breaking players and parents; the business news full of sleazy companies and greedy CEOs; the education pages full of students who cheat on exams. What’s a person to think?
“True service to oneself and one’s constituencies must be built on a basis of trust, truth, and transparency. Please read The Ethics Challenge. Please act on it. Your professional and family life alike literally depend on it. Bravo!”
–Tom Peters, uber-guru of management (The Economist)
and author of In Search of Excellence
Perhaps you really do have to cheat to win. Perhaps you need to shade the truth to get ahead. Good people hear that “everybody does it,” and wonder.
Read THE ETHICS CHALLENGE: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World and wonder no more. This breezy, story-filled guide to becoming a more ethical person explains why ethical behavior is a winning strategy, then lays out six things everyone can do to keep strong and to follow their good intentions:
- Embrace your purpose: Clarity of purpose leads to clarity of conduct. If you’re not clear about your non-negotiable values you’ll be unclear when faced with ethical uncertainty.
- Test your excuses: “It’s not my fault.” “I didn’t have time.” Everybody else was doing it.” It is human nature to make excuses, but our excuses deprive us of the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Two minutes of brutal honesty can save months of regret.
- Harness your moods: It’s easy, especially in pressure situations, to let our moods master us. The more pressure we are under, the more likely we are to violate our own sense of what’s right. First be aware of our moods, especially under pressure. Then harness them.
- Insist on integrity: Everyone has an integrity gap—the distance between what we say we believe and how we actually behave. The key is to continually be growing in integrity so that the gap lessens and our beliefs and our behaviors come closer to alignment. The successful person is intentional about closing the integrity gap.
- Cultivate trust: Act in a trustworthy way and trust others to do the same—until you have a good reason not to. The Golden Rule applies in the area of trust as well.
- Self-differentiate: Self-differentiation is clarity about who you are as distinct from those to whom you’re connected. Failure to self-differentiate promotes group-think, the careless willingness to let the group do your thinking for you. Don’t ignore the group, but be aware enough to know where the group ends and we begin.
LeadershipTraQ partners with The Ukleja Center for Ethical Leadership as an advocate of teaching and developing young leaders to live and work to a higher standard.