I’ve been contemplating a situation that many of us have seen before. An organization spends a lot of money and time on building a culture of trust, openness and transparency. Yet, the changes don’t take and the company culture doesn’t change as expected. What gives?
I’m not an advocate of “best practices” because there are so many subtle differences between organizations, that what worked in one place may not work in another. But here is some practical advice if you want to create an ethical culture that enables your organization to thrive.
- Get the executives out of the way as “Groupthink” may be killing your organization from the inside out. Of course executives should be laying the strategy down, but… if you aren’t balancing their approach with an unbiased opinion, your plans may be way off mark.
- Ensure Executives and Managers are walking the talk. If you want an ethical culture, you must ensure that leadership is the role model. Let me ask you a question. Are you 100% compliant with “all things legal”, that impact your organization? Legislation, Laws, Policies and Procedures? Has your organization ever stretched the truth or withheld information in a document it produced? How do you know, for certain, that the Executives and other leaders are behaving ethically 100% of the time? If someone isn’t towing the line, are you willing to let them go?
- What is your benchmark and how often do you assess it? It is hard to bring about change, if you have nothing to measure progress against. There are so many different ways to measure what is important, but you have to pick a few to start with. It could be employee satisfaction, customer satisfaction, employee/customer retention, the number of HR complaints. Whatever it is, you must have something to work on. What is important to your organization?
- Don’t assume that everyone “gets it”. Provide training to all your leaders and employees and follow up at least quarterly to ensure everyone knows how important this is.
- Be transparent. Everyone knows when your organization is in trouble. Word gets around. People aren’t naive. Employees, Competitors and the Customers can all tell when something isn’t quite right. Don’t try to brush things under the rug and hope no one notices, because they will.
All the best!
All the time!