From awkward to organic

“I don’t really know how to talk about business ethics to my team.”

This is a phrase that many ethics and compliance professionals have heard from front-line supervisors.

They are afraid of sounding preachy. Or of not knowing the answers. Or looking soft.

If you are one of these supervisors, here’s an easy way to start:

  • Look for a recent ethical breach or scandal reported in the news.
  • Gather your team and ask:
    • Could this happen here? (hint: the answer is usually yes)
    • If so, what would it look like (in this industry, this company, this department, this team)?
    • How could we prevent it from happening?
    • If we could not prevent it, how would we respond to it?

It’s a safe conversation because it didn’t happen to you (yet). Right now, it’s someone else’s problem. But it’s a real problem, not some hypothetical in an online course. And you are not pretending to know the answer – you are asking your team for their ideas on how to protect the company.

Do this on a regular basis, until it becomes comfortable and expected.

Then, like magic, you won’t need to initiate these conversations. Your team will bring them up on their own.

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