EventsWhy this issue is now the focus in all businesses, big or small.
Recently in Australia, a number of former senior executives have been sentenced to gaol terms for dishonest and unethical behaviour. Rodney Adler was a Director and leader of HIH, a large general insurance company that went broke in 2003, leaving many employees out of a job and many business owners out of pocket.
Unethical behaviour, in which people deliberately intend to harm themselves or others, springs from, and is reinforced by, destructive and painful mind states such as fear, greed, anger and jealously.
Ethical behaviour, on the other hand, enhances the well-being of everyone because it comes from, and reinforces, motives and emotions such as love, joy, generosity and compassion.
Ethical cultures are the result of diligent effort - frequent, scheduled conversations between leaders and employees about what the standards of your company really are according to Laura Hartman, a professor at DePaul University.
How ethically vulnerable is your organisation? Just go around and ask people what the core values are that define your company. You may be surprised at the variety of the answers.
As a leader, you have to set the standard yourself, constantly keeping your actions above reproach. Talk through hypothetical scenarios with the staff so that they'll know what to do when they come up against an ethical dilemma and you're not around.
Knowing what is right is absolutely critical to personal and business ethics. Yet, ethics only happens when good beliefs lead to good behaviours. Without the action part, all you have are good intentions.