Latest CEEK Blog

Other Posts You May Enjoy

This month we challenge you to set the foundation for honesty and ethics in the organizations you lead. In 2018, we introduced our Five Y’s of Leadership as a better way to assess, and strive to be, the leader you would choose to follow. Today, we kick off a five-part series with the first of the Five Y’s.

Many organizations define Integrity as a core value. At CEEK, we distinguish three critical elements of Integrity beginning with Honesty (and ethics)—we don’t lie, cheat, or steal. We equate this form of integrity as doing the right thing when no one is watching. Lapses of honesty or ethics can destroy your reputation with customers, employees, and the community. Dishonest behaviors do not start with simple black and white decisions. They arise and persist because of the inherent pressures within the systems, processes, and culture of the organization. Fear and blame take hold and the tolerance for unacceptable behaviors expands and goes unchecked.

This month we challenge leaders to honestly assess the systems, processes, and cultural norms that may unintentionally incentivize, or turn a blind eye to, lapses of honesty or ethics. Establish the necessary guardrails to protect yourself and the organization. Consider initiatives to combat the four ways lying becomes the norm.

  • Align Mission and Values with Priorities and Behaviors – Harvard Business Review (HBR) finds that an organization is “2.83 times more likely to have people withhold or distort information” when employees’ experience of mission and values differ from how they are expressed. As a leader, reassess and clearly articulate how work priorities support mission objectives. Similarly, identify and address any tolerated behaviors that are inconsistent with professed values.
  • Align Evaluation and Accountability Systems – HBR also found that organizations are “3.77 times more likely to have people withhold or distort information” when employees perceive that contribution measurement processes are unfair or unjust. Reassess how you measure and reward productivity and contributions. Ask your staff about unintended consequences. Ensure your evaluation and recognition processes account for demonstrated values (how we work), in addition to measures of productivity.
  • Instill Effective Meeting and Governance Processes – HBR reports that organizations are “3.03 times more likely to have people withhold or distort information” when effective governance is missing. This is most often attributed to ineffective meetings in which the objective is unclear and the decision making process not defined. Regardless of where you sit in the organization, instill the discipline to ensure that meetings are productive and efficient.
  • Break Down Organizational Silos – Lastly, HBR found that organizations are “5.82 times more likely to have people withhold or distort information” when cross-functional rivalries and associated silos exist. We encourage you, as a leader,  to self-assess where rivalries or silos may exist in your organization. Be the leader who engages your counterpart in the conversation to prioritize we before me. Find a way to work better toward shared objectives.

Don’t take honesty for granted. Employ appropriate guardrails within your systems, processes, and culture to promote honesty and ethics. Ensure employees can safely raise issues and concerns without fear. CEEK a Better Way!