Today, I would like to recommend Rashmi Airan’s latest blog post on creating ethics conversations.
One sentence made me pause. As she reflected on the many scandals of the previous decade, she wrote “The problem is that none of these organizations had a corporate culture of conversation focused on ethics.”
I have written many times that culture is an outcome of our processes. How we hire, recognize, compensate, incentivize and fire determines much of our culture. But I have never thought about processes in terms of generating conversations focused on ethics.
Well, in one small way I have. I believe that when we communicate about these processes we need to explain the “why” behind them. When we do, employees don’t feel that these measures are arbitrary and mindlessly imposed. And I also believe that we must encourage employees to speak up, not just when they see something wrong but also when they have an idea. But these two types of communications – explaining the “why” and speaking up – appear to be two one-way conversations compared to what Airan is proposing.
If we were to make a list of all the processes that lead to true conversations about ethics in our respective organizations, what would it look like?