If you listen to the word on the street, morality would seem to be in short supply among business leaders.
But successful leaders have discovered that a personal moral code isn't just a good idea – it's good business.
Traditionally, morality and ethics have taken a backseat to profit maximization and competitive business practices. That's changing as more and more business leaders recognize the value of morality in the workplace.
The Integrity Dividend
So why the change? For starters, consumers have recognized that morally vacuous business leadership has significant consequences for individuals and for society as a whole. Going forward, it's clear that consumers expect the brands they support to be guided by an ethical value system.
At the same time, internal company forces are demanding more from their leadership. In an age when corporate decision-making has been largely based on the bottom line and leaders' personal career ambitions, employees and investors are hungry for leaders who are guided by a personal moral compass. The idea of morality in the marketplace has gained a foothold and shows no signs of abating anytime soon.
Developing a Moral Compass
As a business leader, you can't ignore the need to incorporate a personal moral code into your leadership strategy. Although it may not be wise to publish a company-wide confession about your personal morality, your moral compass should guide your actions and decisions.
- Spiritual values. In most cases, it isn't appropriate to promote your personal religious beliefs through your business. But your spiritual values can shape your moral compass. Consider networking with other business leaders in your faith tradition for guidance.
- Small business networks. Active participation in small business networks can be a great way to discuss and clarify personal business ethics. Many networks routinely feature speakers and resources on the topic.
- Role models. Another excellent source for your quest to develop a personal moral compass is to study leaders you respect. You will quickly discover that some of the world's best leaders were motivated by a personal code of ethics.