MORAL COURAGE AND CORPORATE CULTURE

It is not in calm seas that our character and integrity are tested but in times of crisis. It is at these times that mistakes are likely to happen.

When people think of ethics and social responsibility in the corporate context, they perceive it as a simple matter of determining what is right and wrong. Since we do not live in a world where decisions are a matter of black or white but more in shades of grey, steering the right course is not always a clear cut decision. With increased diversity of cultures and nationalities in the workplace, the topic of ethics and social responsibility becomes ever more complex, and one that should be treated with attention and focus.

Every company in hiring executives seeks people with integrity and good moral standards, but how do these translate to the corporate culture?

Every organisation has a value system. But is what the company says it stands for and the value system communicated, aligned with desired behaviours, practices and reward systems? There is little point in having formal policies and procedures that prescribe one mode of behaviour, if people are positively rewarded for achievements where an alternative and ‘non-desirable’ behaviour is applauded in terms of raises, bonuses and promotions.

Sharing the value system of an organisation enables the individuals within it to look within themselves and align their values and subsequent behaviour with that of the organisation, making them stronger people and better corporate citizens. Making this a topic of continual attention in an organisation has a resultant impact on the level of openness, integrity and trust amongst colleagues. Research has shown that in organisations with such systems, people within the organisation are motivated to not only be stronger representatives but better enabled to handle turbulent times such as change or crisis management. Continual attention to ethics in the work place sensitises leaders and staff to how they want to act consistently. And this comes from the top – leaders who lead by example will set the tone for the whole organisation to follow.

Ethics programmes have also been shown to support employee growth and development. A study cited in the Wall Street Journal found a direct correlation between the level of emotional health of an executive and the results of a battery of tests on ethics.

Having ethics as part of the organisation’s agenda better prepares employees to face reality with the resultant effect that they feel more confident and ready to deal with whatever comes their way.

Another benefit is the impact ethics can have on a company’s public image if people perceive those organisations as valuing the manner in which business is conducted more than profit. Recent years have seen greater attention to this factor, with more companies reporting on their social responsibility and analysts making it part of their agenda in their valuation of company stock.

In the meantime, we need to ask ourselves how are we contributing to the sustainability and longevity of the local economy? How are we ensuring that our actions have a positive contribution for the next generation and beyond?

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Had a Good Giggle Recently?

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.”  Horace Walpole

We sometimes get too serious for our own good. Actually, when you sit down and think about it – and see through the initial façade – we really are quite funny as human beings.

Take fairy tales: There are people who believe in the fairy tale of living happily ever after – not a bad thing in itself.  But we seem to have forgotten that in a fairy tale – and before the happily ever after part comes in – the good queen usually dies, and an evil witch dupes the good king.  We only remember the happily ever after bit.  So, when something ‘bad’ happens to us, we rebel, saying this can’t be happening, feeling the injustice of it all.

But if we’re smart, we would rejoice because the quicker we realise what’s going on and see it as a stepping stone to the happily ever after, the stronger we will persevere.  Just as we’d read through the ‘scary’ part of the book, knowing that it all works out in the end, perhaps this would be a wise way to pursue our life.  Please do not misunderstand, I am not making light of things that happen to us in life such as loss, grief etc. but they are part of the passage of time and we have a choice – to become broken through the event, or to realise it is part of the kaleidoscope in what we call the journey of life.

Some may think this a silly outlook.  But we’ll see who ends up laughing.  For if we can’t laugh at ourselves, our folly and idiosyncrasies, what hope do we have of taking everyone else’s foibles in our stride?

Laughter and comedy are great tools in the journey of life.  Just in case you weren’t aware, here are a few quick health benefits:

  • Humour is infectious. The sound of roaring laughter is far more contagious than any cough, sniffle, or sneeze.
  • When laughter is shared, it binds people together and increases happiness and intimacy.
  • It’s fun, free, and easy to use
  • Humour lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert.
  • Laughter boosts the immune system, decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving your resistance to disease.
  • Laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
  • Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.
  • Laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh.

 


 

Headhunter turned talent spotter, Deborah creates the connect between people of character and companies with principles. The Founder of AMANI™, she is an advocate for business being a force for good, vested in the impact business has in both economic and social terms across various strata of society.