Your Culture is Not A Secret (So Protect Your Ethics)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

One of my favorite concepts for understanding how social media is changing the visibility of organizational culture is Trendwatching.com’s report Glass Box Brands. As Trendwatching.com elequently explains, “In an age of radical transparency, your internal culture is your brand.” The key point I take away from this important report is that we can no longer assume that our culture is private. In fact, it’s completely public and it defines our brand.

Ethical Leadership Interview on Culture Hacker Podcast

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I am delighted that Shane Green, author of Culture Hacker, invited me to be a guest on his podcast to talk about ethical leadership and culture.

Culture is what we make of it. As leaders, it’s our job to make it an engaging, ethical, high-trust environment where people can do the very best work of their lives. And while we’re doing that, the world is watching. 

Every Decision Changes The Ethical Culture Equation

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Ethics has a compounding effect on culture, and our leadership choices determine whether that effect will be positive or negative. Being diligent about ethics in every decision brings the culture ethics dividends. Being careless about ethics brings ethics penalties.

The tricky part about managing ethical culture is that every leader decision and action throughout the organization is changing the equation. The “ethical culture equation” is changing in real time, every day.

Leaders Are Culture Caretakers: 10 Actions For Success

By Linda Fisher Thornton

There are many ways to understand culture, and some of the definitions are very complicated. My favorite way to think about culture is as an infrastructure or scaffolding that supports the behaviors we want. Culture drives what people do, and is the setting and framework for great work.

5 Signs Your Culture is FAILING

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Building a positive ethical culture is a long-term process. It involves much more than just company trappings and perks – leaders must make a commitment to people and to creating a positive work space. When things seem to be going well, it’s easy to miss signs that the culture may be off track.

40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture (An Ethical To Do List)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Last week I blogged about 40 Ethical Culture Gaps to Avoid. This week, I’m sharing a ‘What To Do” list of 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture. This list includes many ways to incorporate ethical values into daily organizational leadership.

Each one of these 40 Ways to Build an Ethical Culture can improve an organization. Leaders paying attention to all of these factors will reap rewards that include improved employee engagement, better financial performance, increased productivity and job satisfaction, improved competitive position and more.

Use this “ethical to do list” to assess your culture. Put a check mark beside the positive ethical actions that you have observed in your organization. Any that you leave unchecked are opportunities for improvement.

40 Ethical Culture Gaps To Avoid

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Leaders set the tone for how ethical values are applied. They mentor those they lead, and serve as positive role models. It is not enough, though. for them to talk about ethical values and model what they look like in action. They must also fiercely protect the ethics of their organizations. They are the caretakers of ethical culture.

7 Questions For Ethical Culture Building

By Linda Fisher Thornton

We create organizational culture through strategic choices and daily actions. If we imagine building our culture as creating an elaborate painting, what will we depict on the canvas? Will we work together to carefully paint a background theme of positive values, or will we just give everyone brushes and “see where it goes?”

5 Reasons Ethical Culture Doesn’t Just Happen

By 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.

13 (Culture-Numbing) Side Effects of Toxic Leadership

By Linda Fisher Thornton

A reader commented on the post Can A Toxic Leader Be Ethical? Yes and No requesting more information about the organizational side-effects of toxic leadership. If you have ever worked for a toxic leader (myself included) you have already experienced the powerful negative side effects first-hand.

When people are treated as “less than human,” “less than capable” or as “pawns in a game” some extremely negative things happen in the organization that derail its success. Attempts to control what people do and say makes them feel inadequate and unappreciated. Withholding information to preserve power creates an environment of suspicion.

How to Build an Ethical Culture

By Linda Fisher Thornton

Today I’m sharing hand-picked resources about how to build an ethical culture. The most recent one was just published this week by Government Executive magazine. They acknowledge complexity, and are based on performance improvement and ethical principles.

This collection provides practical advice for how to build high trust cultures and keep the ethics conversation alive. Use it to create workplaces where people thrive and where “ethical” is a way of life.

5 Ways CEOs Can Build an Ethical Culture

By Linda Fisher Thornton

CEOs are in a unique position to make ethics a priority through their everyday actions, but simply modeling ethics isn’t nearly enough. Here is a starting list of 5 actions CEOs can take that move organizations toward an ethical culture.

Building an Ethical Leadership Culture (Webcast)

By Linda Fisher Thornton

I was recently invited to co-present an ASTD Public Manager Webcast “Developing Ethical Leaders and an Ethical Government Brand” with John Umana. While the Webcast which aired on March 19, 2013 was customized for government HR and Training leaders, the content is applicable across industries.