Monday, October 25, 2010

But It's Not Illegal!

C’mon people. Lets drop the unethical behavior and act the way you’re expected to. Try to remember the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Ethics are the inner-guiding moral principles, values, and beliefs that we use to analyze or interpret situations in order to decide what’s the “right” or “appropriate” way to behave or react. Laws tell us we either CAN or CAN’T do something. If there’s no law – or a law that’s not well enough defined – we're left to use our own ethics (or lack of) to decide how to act. Problem is, TOO many people these days are unethical.

According to the annual USA Today/Gallup Poll, less than one American in four rates highly the ethical standards of business executives, attorneys, members of Congress, or stockbrokers. Bankers had it especially rough in the latest poll: their approval rating fell from 35% to 23%. Only 22% of Americans held state governors in high esteem. With two unethical candidates, I would guess that Florida is even less than that.

It’s not just business and politics. A report by the Josephson Institute showed that 64% of high school students cheat and 30% steal. WOW! Nothin like starting early.

Neither laws nor ethics are fixed principles. Both are always changing. Unfortunately, people will always try to get away with things by going around and misinterpreting laws, so continuous change will always be necessary.

People will always argue that, “it's not illegal”. Maybe not. But keep this in mind the next time you have a thought like that – not being illegal does NOT make it ethical.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Keep On Wandering

I sware by Tom Peters' Management By Wandering Around (MBWA). It’s really more than what the name implies. It’s not enough for leaders to just “walk around”. It’s also not “just a theory”. MBWA has been embraced, over the years, by highly successful organizations such as Hewlett-Packard, GE, PepsiCo, LucasFilm, Disney, and 3M.

As you “wander”, in order to be effective, you should be doing at least these three things:
• listening to what staff are saying,
• using the opportunity to continuously discuss the organization’s values face-to-face, and
• be prepared AND able to give people on-the-spot assistance.

At first, staff may suspect that MBWA is just an excuse for you to spy and interfere. That'll subside when they see the walk-arounds happening regularly, and they see that it actually benefits THEM. It works best when staff see that you are genuinely interested in them and their work and also see that you are there to listen and help. If things you see or hear require some type of follow-up, then make sure you take care of it.

Here are a few tips to assist in making MBWA a success:
• Publicize the fact that you are out wandering 50% of the time.
• Appear relaxed as you make your rounds. Staff will reflect your feelings and actions.
• Remain open and responsive to their questions and concerns.
• Observe and listen.
• Make sure your visits are spontaneous.
• Talk with staff about what they like – family, hobbies, vacations, or sports.
• Ask for suggestions to improve operations, service, etc.
• Try to spend equal time in all areas.
• Have meetings in others’ spaces rather than your own office all the time.
• Catch staff members doing something right and recognize them publicly.
• Convey the image of a coach – NOT an inspector.
• Encourage your staff members to show you how the “real work” of the company gets done.

The point is - make your walk-arounds count. Go out there with a purpose, and make a difference.