Ethical stories

Many leaders now include a few words about the importance of ethics when addressing employees.

It’s usually at the end of the speech. There’s a short and dramatic pause, the CEO puts on a serious look and says: “Now, let me add that none of this matters unless we do things the right way…”

Those endings are important but, eventually, they feel formulaic and employees tune out.

There is another, perhaps better way.

Suggest that your leader sprinkle ethical stories throughout her speech instead, without using the word “ethics” with a capital E. She can describe how the company created trust with a new customer, which led to a big win. She can share how many employees – including executives – were disciplined for being disrespectful to others during the last quarter. She can explain how the company increased its spend with a supplier who acted with integrity. And so on.

These passing comments will have a greater impact because they are more real than an abstract Ethics Speech.

Collect your stories, share them, and watch how they become part of who you are as an organization.

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