In his seminal work, "Frames of Mind," written in 1983, Howard Gardner presented research into the theory of multiple intelligences. In the March 2007 issue of the Harvard Business Review, Gardner spoke about his continuing work, distinguishing five types of cognitive minds, the most refined of which Gardner described as the Ethical Mind.
The Ethical Mind thinks with the mission of long-term gain. Can the Ethical Mind have its central place in business, where short-term gain seemingly drives bottom-line decision-making? Gardner asks two compelling questions: (1) What if businesspeople were constrained (guided) by a code of professional ethics? (2) What if every executive and manager took the equivalent of the Hippocratic Oath, vowing to never do harm, to act for "the good" of customers and shareholders? Managing conflict.
This is the work of leaders of integrity as they maneuver in the challenging, oftentimes chaotic waters of "make the sale; close the deal" while seeking to be hold fast to long-term values-driven undercurrents.
Gardner poses his question and provides counsel to leaders who seek to apply Ethical Mind clarity to conflicted business thinking.
1. Take time to step back and reflect upon the nature of the work.
2. Undergo positive, periodic inoculations, focused on rethinking what are we doing and how are we doing it.
3. Use observation as a strategic action especially in difficult times.Mission Integrity Action
As a business leader, you can use the tool of observation as an integrity catalyst. Be attentive this week with yourself and colleagues for telltale signs of conflicted organizational thinking identified by the George S. May Co. These five statements are integrity-breech indicators:
1. Nobody will care.
2. No one will know.
3. I don’t have the time.
4. That’s close enough.
5. It’s not my job.
Appreciating you on the ethical edge!
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge ethicaledge.org