When people start a new job they often get an induction or orientation that includes a manual of policies and standards of conduct. Often, nothing sticks. Our approach to this is ethics education with some imagination and energy. Our training is ongoing, reality based and connected to values – the person’s and the organisation’s. Once you talk about values and the conflicts between them you start a conversation that people can feel and believe. As a result, they understand why there are standards and what they mean besides getting disciplined.
I meet people at eye level and shape the content based on the audience. So I don’t put senior management in the same room with middle management or with junior administrative staff. I shape the content and pitch for each group and provide scenarios relevant to their work. The issues are not the same for eveyone just because they work at the same place. This is key. Otherwise you face a couple of immediate problems. First, everyone is silenced because the boss is in the room. Second, what you teach does not land because learning is not happening. You’re just droning on and conveying information at a common denominator that doesn’t exist.
The training engages and provides a framework for employees to continue to talk about ethics.
This is why you often have breaches in conduct. People don’t understand the rule or the reasons behind them. The rules wash over them and don’t stick.
People are generally good and want to do the right thing. And no one benefits from ongoing strife and disciplinary problems at work. We help businesses, organisations, and government departments have dialogues so that ethical behavior becomes part of the DNA.
I am passionate about ethics – what could be really dry. I don’t just read out the rules. I am creative. I think that the fundamentals are important: integrity, accountability, good governance, and compliance with policy are key to optimal performance and stakeholder confidence.
Ethical breaches are global. Yet, they seem to present greater challenges in our context than elsewhere. What if boards and decision makers in the public and private sectors throughout Africa were consistently honest and transparent and adhered to law, regulation, and good public policy? I believe that it would be a game changer for the continent. There would be increased investor confidence, lower costs of doing business, and greater delivery to citizens. This is the continent I imagine. And this is part of the spark of my passion for ethics training.