My world is one of organizational trouble and troubled leadership. One of the serious collateral damages to trouble is trust loss in leadership due to often intentional ethical lapses. I define trust as the absence of fear because when trust is severely damaged or gone, it is replaced by fear, uncertainty and doubt.
Over the years, I’ve developed, taught, coached and advocated a powerful and helpful communication philosophy that reinforces the value an independent adviser can bring. At the same time, this approach defines my ethical approach to life, to work and to trouble. I call these “intentions” because this is how I seek to operate my life every day, and to teach others to do the same.
Working in ethics and giving ethical advice is among the most challenging tasks we have as practitioners and advisers. Developing a personal core value approach, which you can talk about and teach to others, is an essential part of having the access, impact and influence required of a trusted strategic ethics advisor.
When the subject is ethics, I’m always drawn to a simple statement made by Will Durant, who with his wife, Ariel, spent several decades writing an amazing series of books called The Story of Philosophy. His definition (a philosopher’s I grant you) of ethics is “the search for perfect behavior.” Some translations say “the search for ideal behavior.” You get the idea.
Civility and niceness begins with each one of us. Here’s one great example of a lot of people being helpful and decent to others, and the source is surprising.
Well, we have a whole bunch of companies, laudably, it would appear, withdrawing their advertising from the Fox News O’Reilly Factor program which is currently experiencing a substantial scandal involving more sexual harassment charges against the show’s star, Bill O’Reilly. Fox News’ parent company has already paid five accusers $13 million to settle these grievances before any charges or allegations could be filed.
Probably the most important lesson I ever learned, years ago, about urgent and crisis situations was that whatever the nature of problem, it very likely had happened to someone else before it has or would happen to me.
Featured in the January edition of Minnesota PRSA Perspectives Blog
When giving opinions to senior management some middle managers and most front-line workers tend to give advice without thinking about how to craft it so that decision-makers will be receptive to it. That can doom a good idea to oblivion.
Tripping points are the ingredients of trouble, those decisions, actions or instigation steps in the process smart people initiate or allow themselves to undergo to get in to trouble. I guarantee you’ll recognize every one of them, especially if you listened to your mom growing up.
Tripping Point #1: Looking for Trouble
Wells Fargo took another meaningless step to avoiding their clear responsibility to clean up the mess they created, involving hundreds of thousands (perhaps even more now) of their customers. They separated the chairman and CEO posts, a gesture which is simply beyond understanding. It reflects again, their misguided focus on fixing operations without paying the price of fraud, deceit and despicable behavior toward their customers.