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January 2016

Human head silhouette with question mark concept

Where does it start?

It starts in the corner office. In one of my recent newsletters I asked the question -does your company’s culture have a strong ethics component. The question addressed the simple fact that a company’s culture can only be impacted by the owner or the CEO, and it a company is not ensuring that ethics is an inherent part of the company’s focus, it is setting itself up for failure.

I am not one to argue that every important decision must come from the top. No organization can succeed over the long- term if important decision-making authority is not decentralized thereby allowing managers and employees the flexibility and freedom to act and react to the demands of day-to-day issues.  Yet, it is the leader’s vision that ultimately drives the direction of the company and it is the leader that sets the tone and shapes the values of a company.

Ethics is one of those issues that cannot be delegated to someone else. Understanding why ethics matters in everyday decision-making can only come from the very top of the organization. The leader needs to make clear  that ethics matters  as much as safety, quality, reliability, or any other metric by which his/her company measures success.

It may be useful for the readers of this newsletter to remember that at one time what used to be called business mistakes, or errors in judgment can cause significant headwinds for a company, including potentially severe legal difficulties. This hostile environment cannot be overstated. Thirty years ago, a mistake or error in judgment could be embarrassing and likely career ending. Today it can mean potential criminal indictments, and millions of dollars in fines.

In its consulting practice and in its training programs, The Ethics Workshop calls this making The Right Decision at the Right Time for the Right Reason©. Want to learn more? Please contact us at, or call us at 832-452-8537