Prevention or Cure? Your Choice

By Linda Fisher Thornton Senior leadership teams and boards have a choice. In their ethics strategy, they can focus on prevention or cure. The cure approach is reactive and messy. It involves waiting for something bad to happen, then scrambling to do damage control. Then you have to build an ethical support system (perhaps at the insistence of a regulatory body) to prevent it from happening again. The prevention approach is proactive and positive, and it helps prevent those messy problems. It involves building the ethical support system up front, while things are going well.

What Does “Good Leadership” Mean?

By Linda Fisher Thornton We need to talk openly with leaders about what "good leadership" means. Without those conversations, they might think it means making the sales numbers and meeting aggressive work deadlines, being knowledgeable when people come to them for help, or staying within budget. Those things are all important, but "good leadership" requires much more.

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

By Linda Fisher Thornton How do we lead when we want to bring out the best in people? These 12 Gifts of Leadership are on the wish lists of employees around the world. They aren't expensive. They don't require dealing with the hustle…

Want To Thrive in Leadership Future? Tether Yourself To 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?

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

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.

Leading For Ethics Future? (Or Ethics Past?)

By Linda Fisher Thornton We are expected to make ethical decisions in a rapidly changing global society, where there is increasing awareness of what "ethical" means. The question of where ethics is headed has been the focus of my research over the last four years. I have learned that to be considered ethical, we must consider more constituents, honor more dimensions of ethics, and lead ethically through higher levels of complexity. How do we prepare for that? We reach higher and think longer-term.

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

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.

Critical Roles of the (Ethical) CEO

By Linda Fisher Thornton There have been many stories about unethical CEOs in the news, but not as many about the good ones. That's a shame, because the ethical CEO is a positive powerhouse - devoted to serving employees, customers, and communities. I thought it would be helpful to describe some of the critical functions of the ethical CEO that enable organizational success. Intentionally investing in these roles creates the kind of workplaces that attract top employees and devoted customers.

Is Your Leadership Net Positive?

By Linda Fisher Thornton Generating an intentional positive ethical impact is the successful ethical leadership of the future, and it's already here. The Forum For the Future describes it as net positive leadership - making a positive contribution to society and leaving things better than we found them.

Ethics and Trust are Reciprocal

By Linda Fisher Thornton I was asked recently to explain in simple terms how ethics and trust are related. It is a great question, because we define trust and ethics in so many different ways. Here are some observations about how trust and ethics are related, and what their relationship means for us as organizational leaders.