Speed of Business vs. Culture of Personal Ethics

Has anything slowed down in your business lately? The pressure to drive sales, reduce costs, and be more efficient has only accelerated and it places our personal ethics in harms way.

The competitive landscape is no doubt harsh and workers are asked to do more with less. If you are a large company with multiple operations in many states or even other countries, you are faced with even greater challenges of how to properly blend cultures, traditions, and ethics into a fair process that is compliant and legal.

Last week I presented to a multi-billion dollar international company with manufacturing and sales operations in twenty nine countries. This company staged a two day summit for governance, ethics, and compliance inviting individuals from legal, HR, auditing, finance, and compliance to review their processes, systems, and training programs.

I commend this publicly held company for placing such a high emphasis on their governance, ethics, and compliance programs. Their leaders and managers take ethics seriously.

We covered many areas, but an important one was to slow down the pace and do things the correct way. As they build customized circuitry for other companies, there is a temptation to cut corners and make sure delivery of products beat customer expectations.

This company acknowledged that their culture was fast paced and demanding. The stated values included a relentless drive to win and a commitment to continually improving performance.

I urged their leaders to make ethics equally important to driving sales and meeting customer expectations. It starts with leaders being honest and transparent with all employees.

When employees see their management teams emphasizing ethics and responsible conduct repeatedly, there is a high likelihood that they too will monitor, enforce, and share in the same values.

So, the culture of personal ethics must transcend the speed of the business and even some of the stated values an organization strives for.

Lastly strong ethics and compliance programs are essential for the well being of any organization. They go a long way to preventing shortcuts from taking place and stopping ethical lapses before they turn into illegal conduct.



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