There is a high demand for a business to build an ethical culture that permeates the strategy of the company. Both society and the regulators automatically expect this. Consumers have a much louder voice than they ever did before. Trip Advisor, watchdog, Facebook and social networks all have the ability to make or break a business and its workforce.
A company should imbed its ethics into a management culture, the leaders should perform with integrity which will filter through into all other areas of the corporation. There are five areas that every company should adhere too when building an ethical business. These are Commitment, Relevance, Positive Value, Influence and Means not ends. If all of these are used then they will uphold the ethical structure of a company.
When building a business this is an essential stepping stone. A leader needs to show and share with their colleagues his or her ethical position. They need to clarify their own values and match them with the organisation. This makes sure those values are shared frequently and explain why they matter so much. Within all of your business actions you should demonstrate integrity, fairness and respect. If you put into motion structures, and procedures and processes people will then understand the commitment expected of them also. This form of commitment is part of building an ethical business.
If you are faced with a business choice then consider how relevant it will be to the corporation both long term and short term. Check the ethical implications of a company’s goals and business plan and explore for any hidden benefits or potential drawbacks. Consider an ‘ethical filter’ whereby any business decision is assessed for the wider impact socially.
This is about prompting leaders to look at ways to add positive value rather than negative value to a company. Always look on the bright side of life!
Business leaders have many choices when it comes to influencing. What criteria should a company use when trying to make the right choice? Certain values do however have a universal appeal for example courage and integrity, love and kindness. In an organisation this will be reflected in the heart of the company, where compassion, kindness and mutual respect will offer the guidance needed if or when ethical challenges are apparent.
Converting ethical influence into practical action is also important. By identifying the core values of the company it is possible to make sure the organisation has direction and strategy. Through establishing a framework of expected behaviour it will be possible to review standard operation procedures and work out means of measuring performance.
This is about the means a leader uses to show concern with HOW the organisation achieves its goals not just about the end result itself. Involve the stakeholders and engage them so that they in turn will incorporate ethics to their delivery. By bringing consistency and transparency to any decision making process, ethical practice and leadership will follow. Ethical training is one way that can produce successful results in this area.
Harry Price is a writer and artist from the south coast, where he lives with his wife and 3 dogs. They all love long coastal walks especially on wet and windy days.