Archive for the ‘Organizational’ Category

Special offer on ethics seminars, and on The Ethics Challenge

March 8, 2013

Jiminy1) I’ll visit your workplace or school and do a pro bono seminar on either

  • The Ethics Challenge: Essential Skills for Leading and Living, or
  •  The ABCs of Ethical Leadership

If the seminar is out of the LA commuting area I’ll ask you to cover my reasonable expenses.

2) Alternatively (or in addition), you can buy my latest book(co-authored with Mick Ukleja) in hard cover for only $10, with free shipping.

Here are the details on the offers:

Seminars: email me at bobstone17@gmail.com to make arrangements, for (more…)

Ethics: I’m giving it away

August 30, 2011

I’ve discovered that many corporate ethics officers don’t really have time for ethics, because they’re up to their necks in compliance training and issues. As important as compliance is—and it’s vital, especially, to comply with the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and with Sarbanes-Oxley—it isn’t ethics.

Ethics is the Golden Rule, telling the truth, and other non-legal mandates. That’s my passion: ethics, to live it and to teach it. That’s what was behind the book that Mick Ukleja and I wrote, and it’s what I try to teach at the University Of Redlands School Of Business.

So here’s my proposal: if you provide the audience I’ll visit your place of business and do a one-hour seminar on ethics, really ethics. Here’s a brief synopsis:

The Ethics Challenge: Essential Skills for Leading and Living

This is unlike any mandatory ethics training: no talk about FCPA, SEC, or DOJ. It covers what it means to behave ethically, and how that differs from merely behaving legally or in compliance with the rules. I start with the basics: keep your word and follow the Golden Rule. I finish with three essential skills for living and leading. These skills are easy to describe, not so easy to live, but living them will sharpen one’s ethical sensitivity and make it easier to keep strong and to follow one’s good intentions.

I’ll do the seminar pro bono; if it’s out of the LA commuting area I’ll ask you to cover my reasonable expenses.

Ethics: it’s tough even to give it away

August 2, 2011

Everybody talks about ethics but it seems nobody cares about it. The “ethics” talk is all about rules: bribery, conflict of interest, financial disclosure laws, nepotism, and the rest of the litany of rules of conduct that you can be fired or prosecuted for breaking.

If you subscribe to a Google alert for “ethics” you learned today that a key aide to the governor of Illinois was fined $500 and forced to resign for sending a campaign email on his state-issued cell phone. Or that the former Massachusetts State Auditor was fined $2,000 for by putting his unqualified 75-year-old cousin on the state payroll. Or that lobbyists are buying meals for Oklahoma lawmakers. That’s not about ethics, that’s about rules

Moreover, corporate ethics officers are so concerned with preventing criminal violations that they don’t have much (…any?) time for such things as the Golden Rule, arguing with the boss, or keeping one’s commitments. This became depressingly clear to me after I attended a meeting of ethics officers and academics. The meeting had focused on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which makes it illegal for American companies to pay bribes overseas.

After the meeting I made an offer to the attendees that I thought they couldn’t refuse: (more…)

Creating an Ethics-Driven Organization

August 10, 2010

I recently offered a wallet-sized code of ethics to replace — or at least, mitigate — the bureaucratic system of rules, supervision and oversight that stifles initiative and deadens workers’ spirits. The ethical guides were simple:



I will:

· Do my best at work

· Avoid conflict of interest

· Speak truth to power

· Be a good citizen

· Shun any private gain from public employment

· Act impartially

· Treat others the way I would like to be treated

· Report waste, fraud, and corruption

When in doubt, my test is can I explain my actions to my mother or to my child.

Many people are hungry for this sort of simple, straightforward guide and have asked me how they can introduce such a tool in their organizations. Here’s what to do next:

· Decide on your organization’s principles of ethical behavior.

· Print wallet-size cards (plastic is best) and hand them out like crazy.

· Teach: look for coachable moments to align people with the principles.

First, what’s right for your organization? Chances are the code isn’t exactly right for you. Give the workers a chance to own the code. Announce that you’re in the market for a new code of ethics that can fit on a wallet-size card. Offer a $100 prize (your $100!) for the best one submitted, and (more…)

A wallet-sized code of ethics

May 11, 2010

There’s something about bureaucracy that violates my sense of ethics. Bureaucracy represses one’s humanity. Humans want to make a difference in their lives, but bureaucracy forces conformity and sameness. One definition in the American Heritage Dictionary is “an administrative system in which the need or inclination to follow rigid or complex procedures impedes effective action.”

The bureaucratic system is founded on rules, supervision and enforcement by specialists and inspectors to make sure workers follow the rules, even when the rules deviate from common sense.

We need to move beyond it, but moving beyond it means shifting to a different form of control, one based on a strong sense of mission and a culture of trust, with authority and responsibility shifted from the few at the top to the many front-line workers.

This shift also requires that the organization have a strong ethical grounding. Ethics must replace the missing rules, but in many organizations what passes for ethics is merely another set of rules to comply with, and ethics training usually consists of badgering workers about bribery, conflict of interest and favoritism.

Enron had a nice 65-page code of ethics. The International City/County Management Association has a pretty good code of ethics except that it’s 2000 words long, has a 3200-word supplementary “Rules of Procedure for Enforcement,” and is written by lawyers or at least by people who have mastered esoteric, lawyerly writing. Most people can’t live by the ICMA code because they simply can’t remember any of it. (more…)

What’s fair?

February 28, 2010

What’s fair treatment mean? Treat everybody the same or treat everybody special? Read Mick’s and my latest column for Governing.

http://www.governing.com/column/whats-fair

Read The Ethics Challenge: Strengthening Your Integrity in a Greedy World