Valuesdrive behavior and therefore need to be consciously stated, but they also needto be affirmed by actions. Ethics is about behavior. In the face of dilemma, itis about doing the right thing. Ethical managerial leaders and their peopletake the “right” and “good” path when they come to the ethical choice points. Acompass is a relatively simple instrument based on a simple concept.
With itsnorthward-facing needle, it is a consistent and true indicator of physicaldirection. By placing ethics infront of compass, weevoke a clear picture of mental processes that point a person in a particulardirection in life. These processes are consistent and true indicators uponwhich personal belief and action can be based. The concept of morality is also relatively simple at its absolute core. Itdenotes conduct or duties based on what is right and wrong.Morality is considered to be the basis of character and is wrappedaround ethics.
But while both theconcept of an ethicalcompass and the definition of morality are simple and clear, theconcept of what constitutes morality is not. One person’s ethical compass may not point in the same direction asanother’s, as far as right and wrong conduct and belief are concerned.By ensuring that ouractions reflect our values we are creating a positive organisational culture ora common perception held by the organisation’s members. An Integrity Gap is created when behaviourschosen are not aligned to your personal or group’s values. If there is frequentvalue integrity gaps then the message being sent is that the values have nosubstance or meaning within the organisation.In a strong culture theorganisations core values are both intensely held and widely shared. The more members who accept the core valuesand the greater their commitment to those values is, the stronger the culture.Three forces play aparticularly important part in sustaining a culture: selection practices, theactions of management and the way we consistently live our ethical compass on aday to day basisWhen faced with a difficult ethical decision, thefollowing three steps are helpful from David Lassiter at The Center forBusiness and Ethics at Loyola Marymount University1.
Analyze the consequences/side effects of the decision· Who will be helped by what I do?· Who will be harmed?· What kind of benefits and harms are we talking about· How does all of this look over the long run as well as theshort run?2. Analyze the actions.o Consider all of the options from a different perspective,without thinking about the consequences.o How do the actions measure up against society’s moralprinciples like honesty, fairness, equality, respecting the dignity of others,people’s rights? (Consider the common good.)o Do any of the actions “cross the line?”o If there’s a conflict between principles or between therights of different people involved, is there a way to see one principle asmore important than the others?o Which option offers actions that are least problematic?3. Make a decision. Take both parts of your analysis intoaccount and make a decision.
This strategy at least gives you some basic stepsyou can follow. As Leaders, we need to take timeto reflect on a time to time basis to ensure our conscience is clear and ourethical compass is consistent and accurate over a period of time.