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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Promote value in your business
Shape and sustain leadership


“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.”
— Warren Bennis
 
In her recent article in Business Ethics magazine, Gael O’Brien, an O.C. resident, author and national consultant to businesses, asked this question: “Will CEO commitment to sustainability have the enduring motivation to do the hard work of building ethical and responsible corporate policies and practices?”

Basically, O’Brien was probing the backwaters of whether the current explosion of pursuit of ethical corporate cultures shaped by trust will have lasting traction in American business on the other side of our economic tough times. O’Brien offers a CEO commitment game plan in her "Stepping Stones to Ethical Leadership." These 10 action items are keys to shaping and sustaining leadership and organizational credibility. These actions are especially important for leaders facing ethical challenges:

Own what the organization stands for, its mission, vision and values. Listen to what is alleged.

Resist the reflex to defend, explain or justify. Make it safe for people to talk to you.

Seek out facts through unbiased, independent channels. Convene smart people with relevant expertise to discuss and disagree.

Focus on whether the right questions are being asked. Ensure a credible process for arriving at decisions with the will to withstand public scrutiny.

Believe in and utilize the value of two-way, transparent communication. Understand that employees watch and trust a leader’s actions more than a leader’s words.

These 10 items provide a pathway for business leaders to walk with clarity of commitment in building ethical practices that create the culture of trust.

Mission Integrity Action

No organization is immune to ethical challenges. The question of sustainability of organizations facing such challenge rests on the shoulders of leaders who choose either to build a wall or build a path. As a leader of integrity, the choice to build a path of managing ethical turbulence can shape trusted organizations. Trust-driven firms and their Leaders of Integrity can find sustained value by institutionalizing the placement of these stable stepping stones!

Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org