It’s All About The Trust

Trust is pivotal because it is the basis of every human relationship, every transaction, and every market.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Monday I received the wonderful news that I was in the Trust Across America-Trust Around the World 2015 Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trust. I consider this a great honor because trust is critical to successful business. Trust improves communication, culture, performance, engagement and results.

Today I’m sharing some inspiring quotes from recent trust reports about why “it’s all about the trust” – why trust has such broad importance and impact in work relationships and organizations:

“Gaining trust from society at large also requires understanding what value means to a wider range of stakeholders than many companies are used to—including not just shareholders, but customers, employees, local community members, government officials, and others.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

 “Well-being promotes the greater business good and what’s good for the individual is good for the organization and its customers. Because of this, an organization needs to think about the work experience from their employees’ point of view and consider whether policies, structures and workplace culture are adding to their well-being or detracting from it.”

Justin Heifitz, Gallup Business Journal, December 15, 2014

 

“80 percent of respondents said that they chose to buy a particular product or servicebecause they trusted the company behind it. Sixty-three percent said they refused to purchase a product or service because they distrusted a particular company.”

Edelman Trust Barometer 2015, Executive Summary

 

“By focusing on building trust, companies can develop a compelling identity, one that sets them apart from competitors—assuming that they have the intent to deliver and the capabilities to do so.”

Dennis Nally, The Trust Agenda, Strategy & Business, PwC Strategy& Inc. Summer 2014

 

“For their part, senior leaders need to invest in systems, rewards, and habits that make it easy for managers faced with complexity and constant change to make solid commitments, connect the dots with other groups, and remember their promises. This is how thriving businesses create an upward spiral of trust and strong results.”

Elizabeth Doty, Does Your Company Keep Its Promises? strategy+business, July 18, 2014

In every dimensions of success, from employee engagement to stakeholder confidence to customer retention, building successful organizations really is all about the trust.

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522

41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

7 Lenses (Foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey) is a practical roadmap for learning the kind of proactive ethical leadership that builds lasting trust.

 
7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses  
 
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Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™    
 
 
 
             
 
 
 
 
© 2015 Leading in Context LLC
 

Leader Development 2015: Human Growth Required

By Linda Fisher Thornton

When we want to prepare leaders for success in the trenches of business leadership, we don’t get very far by providing a cushy “spa-like experience.” We can easily focus too much on creating “events” for leader education and miss the much deeper preparation that leaders need.

What prepares leaders to handle their tough everyday challenges? Their success requires much more than knowledge building. It requires rewiring mindsets and developing new capacities. The best way to do that is through experiences that lead to real human growth. Leadership development should stretch leaders and help them develop the capacity to handle bigger challenges. These recent reports describe the need for leaders to stretch into new capabilities:

Josh Bersin, in his Forbes.com article “Spending on Corporate Training Soars: Employee Capabilities Now a Priority” says that “Global leadership gaps continue to be the most pressing issues on the minds of business and HR leaders.” 

Nick Petrie of the Center For Creative Leadership notes that “This is no longer just a leadership challenge (what good leadership looks like); it is a development challenge (the process of how to grow “bigger” minds). (Future Trends in Leadership Development, CCL.org)

The Wall Street Journal article “How to Develop Future Leaders” says that “Stretch assignments are growth-oriented exercises with some inherent risk. They’re designed to push participants past their skill level.”

“Leadership today is more than what you know. It requires the ability to adapt and respond to different circumstances and to connect with different kinds of employees, including employees of different ages and different cultural backgrounds” according to HBR Publishing “What the Future Demands: The Growing Challenge of Global Leadership Development” by Mercer and Oliver Wyman.

We are preparing leaders to handle a high degree of complexity and we need for them to consistently make ethical choices. At its best, leadership development is not an “event.” It’s a capacity-building endeavor. It’s a process of human growth and development.

Leaders must become capable of imagining more, doing and being more, and enabling others to accomplish more in challenging times. Only human growth will get them there.

Recent Leading in Context Honors:

CEO Linda Fisher Thornton in Global CEO’s TOP 100 CSR LEADERS and on Jeff Haden’s Inc. list of “100 Great Leadership Speakers For Your Next Conference” 

7 Lenses won an Axiom Business Book Award and Achieved a Top 100 Best Seller Rank in the “Ethics” category in the Kindle Store (June, 2014)

7 Lenses Used by Major U.S. Universities To Teach Leadership, Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Over 80 Media Mentions in 2014 Including BBC-Capital and The Globe and Mail

And the greatest honor of all – Followers and Friends From 182 Countries (WordPress year-end report 12/31/14)

 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                  

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522
 
 
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses
LeadinginContext.com
 
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
©2014 Leading in Context LLC

Top 10 Posts 2014: Changing Ethical Leadership Expectations

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By Linda Fisher Thornton

There were 52 Leading in Context blog posts published in 2014. The ones listed below are the 10 that were most popular with readers. They are focused on learning proactive ethical leadership and building a high-trust culture. If I had to describe a theme that connects these posts it might be “learning how to keep up with changes in ethical leadership expectations.” 

As you review these reader favorites, think about how you will adapt to changing ethical leadership expectations in 2015.

Top 10 Most Popular Posts of 2014

#1   10 Forces Fueling the Values-Based Leadership Movement

#2    Understanding (And Preventing) Ethical Leadership Failures

#3    What is the Ultimate Goal of Leadership?

#4    5 Leadership Development Priorities

#5    5 Reasons Ethical Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

#6    10 Things Trustworthy Leaders Do

#7    Can a Toxic Leader Be Ethical? Yes and No

#8    13 (Culture-Numbing) Side Effects of Toxic Leadership

#9    12 Gifts of Leadership (Will You Give Them This Year?)

#10  These two posts were tied for 10th place:

Building Trust: What to Weed Out

Ethics is Contagious

If you have ethical leadership topics you would like to learn more about in the new year, feel free to comment here with a request. Fresh posts will be published weekly in 2015.

To prepare to lead well in 2015, answer the 9 Questions For Ethical Leaders in the New Year.

Have a Happy New Year!

NY Times BestSelling Author Kevin Kruse's List of Top Speakers and Trainers

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522See Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                                                                       LeadinginContext.com

©2014 Leading in Context LLC

 

Ethical Leadership 2015: Graphics That Tell the Story

get ready

By Linda Fisher Thornton

The graphics at the links below tell the story of the future of responsible leadership. They describe the kind of leadership that is respectful, caring and ethically aware. This is the positive leadership that engages employees in meaningful work and helps builds an ethical culture.

My hope is that you will share this story with your leadership team and plan now for the future, using the questions that follow.

16 Trends Shaping the Future of Ethical Leadership
10 Forces Fueling the Values-Based Leadership Movement
5 Elements of a (Proactive) Ethical Workplace
Managing Ethical Leadership as a Human Performance System

The kind of leadership described in these graphics doesn’t just happen on its own. It requires intentional ongoing preparation by individual leaders and organizations. 2015 is almost here. Use these questions to develop your plans for meeting the future prepared for success:

Individual Questions

1. How well does my leadership measure up to the leadership described in these graphics?

2. What are the most important changes I need to make now to be ready?

3. How will I be accountable for making those changes and what support will I need to make them?

Organizational Questions

1. How well does our organizational leadership match up with this vision of the leadership of the future?

2. What are the most important changes we need to make now to be ready then?

3. How will we make those changes in a way that ensures that the change is deeply rooted and not superficial?

Business is changing. Let us know how Leading in Context can help you prepare. 
 
522For more, see Linda’s book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?
 
  7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
  2014 Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
  About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

 

 Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                                                                                                 LeadinginContext.com

©2014 Leading in Context LLC

5 Powerful Trends in Ethical Consumerism

20131120_112448By Linda Fisher Thornton

Customers are not separate from businesses any more – they are becoming part of the fabric of organizations in ways that meet their very specific needs. This week I describe 5 powerful trends in ethical consumerism that are changing the rules of business. To keep up with these trends, leaders will need a heightened level of ethical awareness and the ability to think ethically on many levels.

1. Customers want companies to build ethics into their brands.

 “In the pursuit of the nirvana that is GUILT-FREE CONSUMPTION, consumers are looking for brands to make SACRIFICES (so they don’t have to).”

Trendwatching.com Report Brand Sacrifice, October 2014

2. Customers are increasingly involved in brand marketing and promotion.

“Your consumer is your marketer.” 

PBS Frontline, Generation Like

3. Customers expect companies to care not just about their well-being, but also about society and the planet.

“Growing numbers of consumers can no longer escape an awareness of the damage done by their consumption: to the planet, society, or themselves.”

7 Consumer Trends to Run With in 2014, Trendwatching,com

 

4. Customers don’t want to be “talked at.” They want a deeper connection. Empathy is what customers crave.

“In 2014 we’ll hear more executives talk about the need to build empathy for customers…”

Bruce Temkin, Temkin Group, 14 Customer Experience Trends For Marketing 2014 at dmnnews.com

 

5. Customers are increasingly focused on health and well-being and seek companies and products that care.

“Many are aware that healthy eating can improve quality of life and extend longevity. Also, many are discovering food sensitivities and are looking to purchase “free from” products.”

The Top 10 Global Consumer Trends For 2014, Euromonitor International

 

These are powerful consumer trends that will drive business success in 2015 and beyond. This is the terrain of business leadership future, and it requires heightened ethical awareness and proactive ethical leadership. Get ready for business conversations that integrate ethics into all aspects of product development, customer service, marketing and leadership.

Business is changing. Let us know how Leading in Context can help you prepare. Info@LeadinginContext.com
 

7LensesStanding

 

“thought-provoking”       “fresh”         “powerful”        “relevant”

Bring proactive ethical leadership to life with the 7 Lenses™ book and Workshops

 

Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™                                                                                                 LeadinginContext.com

©2014 Leading in Context LLC

10 Things Trustworthy Leaders Know…

By Linda Fisher Thornton

This week the Alliance of Trustworthy Business Experts from Trust Across America-Trust Around the World is holding a social media awareness campaign called #Trustgiving2014, In support of that campaign, I am featuring 10 posts about what it means to be a trustworthy leader. They include individual actions and organizational commitments that build trust. I hope you enjoy them!

Trustworthy Leaders Know That…

1. In a High-Trust Workplace, Everyone is Valued

2. Trust is Relational

3. Trust Building Requires Trust-Giving

4. Ethics and Trust Are Reciprocal

5. Trust Depends As Much On What You “Take Out” As What You “Put In”

6. Values are the Anchor

7. We Have to Trust to Be Trusted

8. Toxic Leadership Erodes Trust

9. Trust Building is Part of Building an Ethical Culture

10. We Build Trust When We Take Responsibility

Today, look for ways to actively protect the trust relationship in your organization.

 

7LensesStanding

We believe that ethics, integrity and trust are critical to our success.

…But what are we doing to clarify them, to anchor our work to them, to teach our organizations how to apply them?

“thought-provoking”       “fresh”         “powerful”        “relevant”

Learning about ethics is not supposed to be boring. Bring it to life with 7 Lenses.

 

©2014 Leading in Context LLC

 

 

 

5 Elements of a (Proactive) Ethical Workplace

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Last week I wrote about how to prepare for leadership future by staying centered in ethical values. Grounding our work in values is critically important but it’s not enough. There’s much more to being ready for the future of leadership than just staying aligned with positive values. This week I’m sharing a graphic about 5 other variables that need to be in place to build a positive ethical culturethe proper time orientation, focus, response, level and complexity.

5 Elements of the Ethical Workplace REV

7LensesStanding

 

We believe that ethics, integrity and trust are critical to our success.

…But what are we doing to clarify them, to anchor our work to them, to teach our organizations how to apply them?

…Are we doing enough?

 Linda Fisher Thornton Named to Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business Behavior 2013

Top 100 Thought Leaders in Trustworthy Business For 2013 and 2014

7 Lenses™ Workshops Engage Leaders in Learning:

  • What it really means to lead with “integrity”
  • How to center daily work in ethical values
  • What is means to be morally aware and ethically competent
  • How to lead in ways that bring out the best in others
  • How to use clear ethical thinking and decision-making
  • How to build lasting trust
  • How doing all of the above transforms organizational results

“thought-provoking”       “fresh”         “powerful”        “relevant”

Ethics is not supposed to be boring. Bring it to life with a 7 Lenses™ Workshop or Webinar!

Scheduling Now for 2015:  Info@LeadinginContext.com

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics

2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
@leadingincontxt  @7Lenses  
 
© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

 

Want To Thrive in Leadership Future? Tether Yourself To Values

ethical values

By Linda Fisher Thornton

It would be “easy […] for organizations and leaders to become frozen by the magnitude of the changes under way” (McKinsey & Co., Management Intuition For the Next 50 Years). Success in future leadership requires being nimble and adaptive, flexing with constant change, and being ready for anything. 

How should we stay grounded as we avoid crises and manage our way through a maze of increasing expectations?

Without  a place to stand where we know what we believe, without a center to which we can return, we are adrift and at risk from the strong winds of short-sighted opportunism and unethical leadership.

Our center needs to be firmly grounded in values.

Without attaching ourselves to ethical values, we risk being swept toward the next shiny, compelling opportunity that presents itself (but is ethically the wrong thing to do).

We are assaulted with information (overloaded doesn’t begin to describe it) and desperately searching for meaning. 

To thrive as leaders in this unpredictable future, we need to create meaning for ourselves and those we lead in the form of ethical values. Those values which we hold tightly will guide us as we make difficult decisions. They will help us avoid mistakes.

Values will guide us and those we lead through difficult times. 

Without ethical values to guide us, we can forget who we are creating value for, and what our responsibilities are to our constituents. To thrive in leadership future, we need to tether ourselves to ethical values and hold on for dear life as the storm rages on.

7LensesStanding

 

We believe that ethics, integrity and trust are critical to our success.

…But what are we doing to clarify them, to tether our work to them, to teach our organizations how to apply them?

…Are we doing enough?

 

7 Lenses™ Workshops Engage Organizational Leaders in Learning:

  • what it really means to lead with “integrity”
  • how to center daily work in ethical values
  • what is means to be morally aware and ethically competent
  • how to lead in ways that bring out the best in others
  • how to use clear ethical thinking and decision-making
  • how to build lasting trust
  • how doing all of the above transforms organizational results

Scheduling Now for 2015:  Info@LeadinginContext.com

 …Are we doing enough?

 

 

FisherThorntonLinda_07_What_Is_Ethical_Leadership-522

 

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
 Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

3 Factors That Numb Ethics Efforts (And 3 That Energize Them)

2013-08-06 18.38.33

By Linda Fisher Thornton

To build a strong ethical culture, leaders should take a positive, preventive approach to ethics. That would include communicating clear ethical values and expectations and quickly stopping any unethical behavior. But those things are not enough by themselves. There are cultural factors that either enable our prevention efforts or disable them. Understanding these factors helps us build an ethical culture. Here are three enabling factors (that support proactive ethics) and three numbing factors (that disable our proactive ethics efforts).

Numbing Factors

Numbing factors act as an ethical dampening field, disabling the natural systems that would prevent and identify ethical risks. The presence of any of these factors numbs people to proactive ethics, and makes it harder for people to want to protect the organization’s ethical reputation.

NUMBING FACTORS 

Ethical Incompetence 

Lack of Trust

Fear (Often Generated By Leaders Using Negative Interpersonal Behaviors)

Enabling Factors

Enabling factors act as ethical boosters, fueling the natural systems that prevent  and identify ethical risks. The presence of any of them boosts the organization toward proactive ethics, and makes it easier to prevent ethical problems from happening.

ENABLING FACTORS 

Proactive Values-Based Leadership

Trust-Building (Including Showing Respect and Care)

“Safe Space” to Talk About Ethical Issues

Which Way is Your Organization Headed?

By cultivating enabling factors, you are setting the stage for the team to work together, actively protecting the organization’s ethics. If you have numbing factors within your organization, be aware that the dampening field that they create will reduce the effectiveness of your positive ethics efforts. 

“Ethical culture” is a complex system. To support the health of the system, maximize enabling factors and eliminate numbing factors.

 

Follow the Leading in Context Blog for weekly posts that help you Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™

522

For more, see 7 Lenses  and the related 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

Focusing on Profits? Watch Out For the “Blinder” Effect

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We need money to exchange goods and services, pay bills and grow our businesses. So what’s the problem with it? The problem is that profitability cannot become our defining business goal, and it cannot replace values as the central beacon of our decision-making.

Money has no inherent moral grounding. 

Since it has no inherent moral grounding, we can’t ever let money be the deciding factor in our decision-making. We have to balance the quest for dollars with strong ethical values.  It is this moral grounding that ensures that we will consider how our decisions benefit or harm others. Making profitability a singular goal leaves an organization stuck in self-serving mode.

In self-serving mode, anything that brings in dollars looks good.

A focus on money alone causes leaders to plod on, as if wearing blinders, ignoring unintended consequences and harm.

We can’t put money where morality should be.

Have you ever lived in a house constructed by a builder who saved fifty cents by using a cheaper part, and that “savings” interfered with your enjoyment of your home or cost you major repair problems? How do you feel about food companies that choose the cheapest ingredients without regard to the health impact of the products they sell? The self-serving pursuit of profit doesn’t work in today’s world. People expect much more.

Ethical leaders care for constituents (not just profits). 

Money lacks inherent meaning and ethical values. It is just a token of exchange. It is our responsibility to add the ethical values.

 

Follow the Leading in Context Blog for weekly posts that help you Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™

522

For more, see 7 Lenses  and the related 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

5 Ways to Talk About Ethics (Without Being “Blah Blah Boring”)

20140822_085358

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We owe it to our employees to make ethics real. People learning ethics are often given “blah blah boring” material (and then expected to remember and apply it). I believe that this is not just a mistake, it’s a crime! Why? Because ethics is anything but boring. Ethics is really interesting stuff when you dive into its complexities.

Today I’m sharing 5 ways to talk about ethics without being “blah blah boring.” Feel free to use these as conversation starters with your teams, and let me know if they make your conversations more meaningful.

1. Ethics is human

Ethics is inherently human. It focuses on how broadly we consider our impact on others and honor their well-being. And “others” doesn’t just include our coworkers and customers. We have an ethical responsibility to many “others, ” even some who we may never meet.

How can we bring ethics to life in our conversations as a human responsibility – a responsibility to do good and avoid harm for an ever-broadening array of “others?”

2. Ethics is positive

Ethics is not just laws, regulations or ethics codes. Those are simply safety nets to keep us on the positive (and legal) side of ethics. Ethics is really about high level positive values like respect and care, service and sustainability.

How can we stop fixating on the safety nets, and start talking more about the positive values?

3. Ethics is multidimensional

There are hundreds of different terms used to describe ethics, and many angles from which to approach it. There’s personal ethics (integrity and character), interpersonal ethics (respect and care), environmental ethics (respect for life and sustainability) and societal ethics (supporting communities and the greater good). Add professional ethics (codes for each profession) and organizational ethical culture to the mix too.

How can we talk about the dimensions of what really matters in ethics instead of giving people oversimplified statements like “always do the right thing?”

4. Ethics is a system

Not only is ethics multidimensional, it’s also systemic. Building an ethical culture requires the alignment of many different aspects of ethics including expectations, communication and full accountability.

How can we help our leaders learn how to build an ethical high-trust culture where people can do their best work?

5. Ethics is a learning journey

Not only are we all human, striving to meet increasing ethics expectations as part of an organizational system, we’re also at different stages in our ethical development. We’re all learning. The very human challenges are for us to learn fast enough to keep up, and to aim high enough to act on values.

How can we bring ethics to life by talking about it as an ongoing learning journey toward positive values, rather than as a training event, a problem or a set of rules?

Boring ethics content will not get your organization where it needs to go. It may put people to sleep, or cause them to “check out” in future ethics conversations. Don’t settle for weak, oversimplified or vague messages as the scaffolding for your organization’s ethics. People need clear messages that are relevant and that help them deal with complexity. There’s too much at stake to rely on “blah blah boring.”

 

Follow the Leading in Context Blog for weekly posts that help you Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™ 

522

For more, see 7 Lenses (foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey) and the related 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

7 Definitions of “Good” (Why We Disagree About Ethics)

20140828_072156

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Why is it so difficult to agree on the right thing to do? One of the reasons we may not agree is that each of us may be using a different definition of what is “good.” Here are 7 different interpretations of what is ethically good, based on the framework in 7 Lenses: Learning the Principles and Practices of Ethical Leadership (2013). Which ones are you using in your leadership?

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

© 2013 Leading in Context LLC

1 – Profit

Using the Profit Lens, we see what is “Good” in a money sense. Good means what is good for economic growth, good for income growth, and good for organizational growth.

2 – Law

Using the Law Lens, we see what is “Good” in a legal sense. Good means following all laws and regulations.

3 – Character

Using the Character Lens, we see what is “Good” in a morally grounded sense. Good means demonstrating character and integrity, and showing a high degree of moral awareness.

4 – People

Using the People Lens, we see what is “Good” for people’s well-being. Good means supporting people’s success and bringing out their best.

5 – Communities

Using the Communities Lens, we see what is “Good” for the health and well-being of communities. Good is what supports thriving families and provides needed community services.

6 – Planet

Using the Planet Lens, we see what is “Good” for the planet and nature. Good means protecting plants, wildlife and natural lands, and treating the planet and ecosystems that we depend on for our lives with care.

7 – Greater Good

Using the Greater Good Lens, we see what is “Good” in the broadest sense, at the highest level, for the longest-term. Good is what creates a peaceful, global society where people can thrive.

Which of these 7 Lenses do you use in your daily leadership? Hint: They’re all important for intentional ethical leadership.

 

Follow the Leading in Context Blog for weekly posts that help Unleash the Positive Power of Ethical Leadership™ 

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For more, see 7 Lenses (foreword by Stephen M. R. Covey). This practical guide to the future of ethical leadership takes us well beyond the triple bottom line to 7 different perspectives on ethical leadership, and provides 14 Guiding Principles that help us honor them all in daily leadership.

21 Question Assessment Based on the 7 Lenses™ Framework: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

“Hearing” All Stakeholders (Even When They’re Not in the Room)?

Silent Stakeholders

By Linda Fisher Thornton

A quiet group of stakeholders is being considered in leadership conversations. They can’t weigh in on major decisions, but they have a lot at stake in the decisions that get made. They are silent stakeholders, and the decisions we make in our meetings every day affects them directly.

These silent stakeholders include consumers who expect to have their interests and their safety protected. They are current and future employees who want to work for ethical companies that care.  They are communities and ecosystems that need protecting to ensure our healthy and successful future. Are we considering their needs when they aren’t in the room? Are we hearing them?

Ethical leadership includes proactively doing good and preventing harm. Our responsibility to do that extends to silent stakeholders – people who can’t speak up in protest when we’re about to make a bad decision that affects them.

Business leaders are increasingly expected to demonstrate care for stakeholders who are not in the room. 

With so many ethical scandals in the news, consumers have become quite aware of risks. They are more actively protecting their interests, even though they are not invited into the closed meetings where decisions that affect their health and safety are made.

Considering Our Impact on Silent Stakeholders

Leaders who think long-term and seek to minimize harm broadly consider all stakeholders, including those who are not in the room.

At our best, we demonstrate care for all constituents, all the way up and down the line.

As you consider these questions, keep in mind that ethical leaders recognize and honor their responsibilities to all constituents, including those who are not in the room.

  • What will be the effect of this decision on the end user?
  • What will be the long-term impact of this decision on the environment, communities and ecosystems?
  • How will those who cannot speak for themselves (but need our care) be affected by this decision?

 

522

 

For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

Using Negative Examples to Teach Ethics? Why It’s Not Enough.

20140707_200217By Linda Fisher Thornton

How many times have we tried to teach people about ethics by explaining every detail of what it doesn’t look like? We describe laws and regulations and ethics guidelines in great detail, then ask attendees if there are any questions. After learning in great detail how to stay out of trouble, the thought on their minds may just be “Okay, now I know what NOT to do.”

We can’t teach ethics by giving people negative examples.

Just as we don’t learn how to drive a car by only hearing about accidents, we don’t learn ethical behavior by hearing about the times someone didn’t use it. It should be obvious to us, but the lure of focusing on complying on laws and regulations is strong. Those laws and regulations, though, are only designed to prevent the “what not to do” examples we hear about in the news. So “teaching” them is only teaching people how to avoid punishment.

The trap in teaching people how to avoid punishment is that it doesn’t build an ethical culture. An organization can have everyone comply with laws and regulations, and still be unethical. Why? Because ethics is about leading with positive values, not just preventing ethical failures. If we focus people’s attention primarily on the shadow side of ethics (unethical choices) we are missing the point entirely.

Ethics is about leading with positive values, not just preventing ethical failures.

Values Build Ethical Cultures

Positive values like respect, care, transparency, sustainability and service help build ethical cultures. Teaching people what they look like, and how to work together using them helps build trust and improve ethics.

“In an ideal workplace, structures and relationships will work together around core values that transcend self-interest.”

Shaping an Ethical Workplace Culture, SHRM Foundation

We need to keep the focus on what we want people to do, not just what we don’t want them to do. We need to clear up ethical grey areas with positive values.

Take a moment to think about how often you talk about compliance and how often you talk about values. Be sure you talk about positive values at least as often as you talk about compliance. Values represent a higher level of ethics than laws do, so ask for the level of ethics you want.

 

522For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LLC 

5 Reasons Ethical Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

EthCultureBy Linda Fisher Thornton

Don’t assume that an ethical culture will just happen in your workplace. Even if you are a good leader, ethical culture is a delicate thing, requiring intentional positive leadership and daily tending. It requires more than good leadership, more than trust building, and more than good hiring.

Why does building an ethical culture require so much more than good leadership? Ethical culture is a system of systems, and just putting in good leadership, trust-building and good hiring doesn’t make it healthy.

Managing people systems requires that we pay just as much attention to what we “take out” as what we “put in.”

Just dealing with obvious ethics lapses won’t ensure that they don’t happen again, and fixing them won’t build an ethical culture. Building an ethical culture requires that we both “put in” ethical values and “take out” negative behaviors that erode trust. Culture is subtle, and we must be just as careful with “unspoken rules” as we are with “corporate messages.” 

Here are 5 reasons why ethical culture doesn’t just happen, followed by a 10 minute podcast with proactive strategies for building an ethical culture.

5 Reasons Ethical Culture Doesn’t Just Happen 

1. Ethical culture is a human performance system that must align across multiple functions.

2. Ethical culture depends on consistent messages about ethics across the organization and a safe space to talk about grey areas not covered by corporate values and ethics codes.

3. Ethical culture requires zero tolerance for abusing situations for personal gain, and quick correction of behaviors that fall outside of expected values and behavior.

4. Ethical culture requires trust, and must be built on a high foundation of positive values (respect, care, sustainability), not on a low foundation of compliance with laws.

5. Ethical culture requires that every member of every team be held accountable for living out ethical decision-making and ethical behavior. No exceptions.

I was recently interviewed on Federal News Radio “In Depth With Francis Rose” about strategies for developing an ethical culture.  Key points raised in that conversation are important for all leaders. For more detail about ethical culture building, listen to the full 10 minute interview.

There’s another important variable that makes building an ethical culture tricky – it requires a learning mindset. Making ethical choices in a global society requires high level thinking, and we must approach it as a long-term learning process. We must avoid the easy temptation to look for a quick fix, because linear problem-solving never fixes a broken system.

522For more, see new book 7 Lenses and the 21 Question Assessment: How Current is My Message About Ethics?

7 Lenses is a Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner in Business Ethics41cEVx-Tu4L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_
2014  Bronze Axiom Business Book Award Winner 
About 7 Lenses
 
 
Info@LeadinginContext.com  @leadingincontxt  @7Lenses

© 2014 Leading in Context LL

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