Well begun is half done,” the saying goes. It applies not only to doing a task well, but also to doing it ethically. Each new beginning offers a key inflection point. Approach it the right way and you position your team or organization to do the right thing when the going gets tough. (And the going will get tough.) Here are four practices you can begin today that will help you lead ethically and authentically throughout the coming year.
Research and Insights
Finding common ground begins with understanding the moral foundations that motivate other people.
Leaders are missing out when they fail to say "Thank you."
In this interview, Mary Gentile offers key insights she has accrued over several decades of teaching business ethics both in universities and in businesses across the globe.
To make their behavior contagious, ethical leaders need to harness the power of "elevation."
The way you ask a question can shape another person's decision to lie or tell the truth.
Good leaders avoid anger. Great leaders get angry for the right reasons.
Your integrity is an asset. But it may cause your employees to feel that they can't speak up about what matters most. Here’s how to maintain your principles without silencing others.
Why does lying become easier and easier? Ask your amygdala.
By providing opportunities opportunities for learning, you can help your workforce become future proof and more ethical at the same time.
Asking "What could I do?" can shift you toward more creative, insightful solutions for your toughest ethical dilemmas.
When we consider one option at a time, we are more likely to make unethical decisions and fall prey to stereotypes. Placing options side-by-side prompts the reflective thinking needed to avoid these dangers.
Many of us fall prey to the illusion that we're morally superior to others. But a healthy dose of humility can help us become better, kinder people.
Your ability to see a vivid picture of your future self can help you make the right decision under pressure.
Nobel Prize-winner Muhammad Yunus explains how social business leads to "super-happiness," why it's important to think big and start small, and why we're all entrepreneurs.
Our inner "lawyer" often manipulates our ethical decision-making. Here’s how you can access your inner “judge.”
We make better decisions about the future than about the present. Why not “lock in” your future decisions now?
We're wired to avoid losses. You can promote ethical behavior by removing your "loss-frames" and using "gain-frames" instead.
Here's how to create an organizational culture that encourages employees to voice their concerns.
Too often, ethics trainings can be boring and ineffective. Storytelling can help—not just by keeping your participants awake, but also by helping them remember and act on what you teach.
Moral anger can give you the courage to stand up and speak out about what is right. Other forms of anger can harm you and your organization. Here's how to tell the difference.
Each day you face pressure to make high-quality, high-velocity decisions. Here's how to make sure your ethics are able to keep up.
Rethink, remind, and re-frame to get rid of grey areas and keep ethics front-and-center in the decisions you make.
New research on hedge fund managers and primate behavior reveals why collaboration can be your competitive advantage.
New research argues that feeling fake can lead to unethical behavior. Here’s how leaders can help their employees practice authenticity in the workplace.
Being cynical in your social interactions may seem like the safe approach—yet it can keep you from succeeding professionally and financially.
Setting goals is essential for driving performance, but goals can also drive unethical behavior. Here’s how you can avoid the dangers while sending the signals that promote both performance and an ethical culture.
In his career path from maritime lawyer to pharmaceuticals executive to CEO of the industrial manufacturer Magnetrol, John Heiser has observed leadership at its best and worst. In this series of videos, he shares key insights on how to make your business a force for good—not just for its employees, customers, and shareholders, but also for the broader communities in which it operates.
What is it like to blow the whistle on a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme? We asked Scott Noble to walk us through his experience as a whistleblower in a financial fraud case that led to the conviction and incarceration of his business associate, the owner of Samex Capital, Keenan Hauke. Scott stressed the importance of being proactive, finding moral clarity, and seeking allies to support your effort to do the right thing.
Erin Fitzgerald is on a mission to make the dairy industry a greater force for good. In this video series, Erin discusses how leaders can draw upon their personal values and foster collaboration to create a lasting positive impact.
Not all feedback is effective. If you want to drive sustainable employee performance and encourage ethical behavior, practice this mindset and these four strategies.
Protecting yourself from an unethical boss might be easier than you think. Just bring a moral “necklace of garlic” to work.
Companies spend billions of dollars on ethics training programs each year. But are they effective? Joan Dubinsky, former Chief Ethics Officer at the United Nations, offers insights on what causes an ethics training program to fail, and she suggests ways you can redesign your organization's program to create ethical leaders.
Integrity is the most-mentioned corporate value. But what is integrity, and how do we build it? Research suggests that when it comes to developing a reputation for integrity, small wins may actually matter more than grand commitments.
Does power corrupt? Not always. In fact, recent research suggests that we can change the way power affects us in order to help others and ourselves.
Millennials have been called the “job-hopping generation.” But research reveals that Millennials are loyal and engaged when companies offer them ways to grow and make a difference.
Generosity is a powerful—but often overlooked—strategy for building trust with strangers.
Focusing on long-term value creation is one of the best ways to lead ethically and build trust. In this series of videos Jean Bennington Sweeney, Chief Sustainability Officer at 3M, offers insights on making decisions for the long term good of people, profit, and the planet.
Gratitude can have a powerful impact on performance and wellbeing in the workplace—so what holds us back from giving and receiving it?
Exceeding expectations is a good thing. But according to new research, it comes with added temptations. Here's what to do when the pressure is on.
The corporate world has many mechanisms in place to prevent, assess, and address ethical violations in the workplace. But do these mechanisms really meet the needs of an employee facing an ethical dilemma? At our 5th Annual Forum in Chicago, we dove into the innovative field of design thinking in search of an answer.
Susan Ochs describes her take on organizational behavior, culture, and how to affect employee mindsets. From her extensive research and experience in the corporate world, she posits that the mental models and assumptions of employees have a crucial yet often overlooked role in culture management.
Tom Linebarger gives his insight into dealing with difficult decisions. He offers a practical, simple approach to making the right call -- even when it feels like there is no right answer.
Ethical decision-making isn’t always as rational as we often think it is. Here’s how subconscious priming can actually make people more ethical.
Rick Lenny describes how to uphold and emphasize values in an organization. He expresses the importance of environment, leadership, and integrity to promoting values and ethics.
All companies need to have a code of conduct, but can most employees tell you what it says? At Georgia-Pacific, probably so. See how their innovative scenario-based training is changing the game.
A new study on high performance goals, depletion, and unethical behavior shows that it might be time to pump the brakes on the pressure and realize the potential harm it could be doing.
Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte LLP, discusses the importance of communicating an ethical tone from the top – and how recruitment and professional development play a part in building a culture of integrity. She also discusses how ethics and strategy are interwoven.
John Gordon discusses how missing a goal can release the gradual buildup of pressure to hit targets at any cost.
We all know that tone at the top is important: without legitimate, committed support from senior management, even the best ethics program will fail.
Can I give you a little feedback?” It’s something we all hear or say from time to time, and what follows is often accompanied by awkwardness and anxiety on one or both ends of the conversation. But what if we could release the tension and leverage feedback on a more regular basis?
Ann Nobles, Former Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer of Eli Lilly, discusses how to navigate working in a highly regulated industry. She explains the importance of educating both employees and financial stakeholders on ethical standards in order to ensure a company-wide ethical approach to business.
Founded on interdisciplinary research and tested within the high-stakes environment of the United States Air Force, a conceptual framework used there could help take your organization to the next level.
When designing ethics curriculum, focusing on the examples of failed ethics could actually decrease ethical behavior of students and trainees.
Frank Belatti describes a lesson he learned early in life about trust and keeping one's word, and how that has shaped his understanding of ethics and leadership throughout his career.
Knowing that hiring ethical people means building a better organization, what predictors can savvy employers use to assess a potential employee’s ethical fiber?
Bill McDermott emphasizes the importance of holding even top performers accountable to ethical policies. He tells of an instance in his career where this was especially hard to do, but was absolutely the right thing for the company.
Traditionally, teaching ethics involved reasoning through abstract cases. But after all we’ve learned through neuroscience, social psychology, and behavioral economics, it’s clear we can’t leave out emotion.
Barry Salzberg cites examples from his career where saying "no" was the best way to do what was right.
Owen Ryan describes a positive development he has noticed in the business community in recent years.
When it comes to carbon emissions, corporate instincts may be to keep levels quiet. But three accounting researchers find that disclosing may actually help a company’s financial performance.
Across the spectrum, researchers say, we’re all prey to thinking we’re more ethical than we really are. The good news is that there are proactive steps businesses can take to avoid common pitfalls.
They’re everywhere, and they can help—but it’s not automatic. Here’s how to ensure your mission and values statements make a real impact.
Reinforcing common values can be challenging across a huge company—but as the case of IBM shows, technology can make the process easier.
Weston Smith recounts how the pressures of hitting quarterly numbers and a culture of reaching short-term goals at all costs created a situation that eventually landed him in federal prison. He describes the rationalizations the company used, the slippery slope that followed, and the tipping point that made him decide to do the right thing.
At five bucks a pop and ten minutes per test, can your company afford NOT to do integrity testing?
Jim Sinegal talks through a decision to do the right thing for his employees despite an economic cost to the company. Sticking to your word, even beyond what might be reasonably expected of you, reveals true character.