Why Ethics Matter
Ethics are the heart of any strong organization. Whether you're a Fortune
500 company or a small-town school district, studies have consistently
ethical decision-making fosters employee morale, boosts brand reputation,
encourages loyalty in customers and employees, and improves your bottom line. Ethics is more than the right thing to do: it's the smart thing to do.
An organization formed without ethics is like a cabin built without nails: no matter how solid it may appear, it will slowly crumble. A culture
of ethics is what links people to those above, below, and beside them,
connections which, although invisible, make the whole organization immeasurably stronger.
And in this day and age of eroded public trust, ethics are more important
than ever. After the mortgage-loan debacle, after Enron, after decades
of botched recalls and profit-driven decisions and environmental tragedies,
people often assume organizations don't care about them. Trust is
no longer given freely. Once an organization has earned the public's
trust, however, that connection becomes its most valuable asset.
Ethical organizations are popular, and that translates to unwavering, long-term
IGE's approach to ethical training relies on one simple, proven principle:
ethical values transcend background or nationality. In over twenty years of worldwide training and rigorous research, IGE
has discovered five foundational values that ground ethical decision-making
the world over. From New York to New Delhi, Tallahassee to Tokyo, participants
in IGE's Ethical Fitness® Seminars have for two decades agreed
about what it means for an organization, a person, or a decision to be
ethical. These values provide a critical underpinning for constructive
dialogue, consensus building, and leadership.
Ethical Decision Making
The IGE approach to decisionmaking presents ethics as a process, one we
break down and apply to real-world dilemmas faced by participants. These
dilemmas form the heart of IGE's Ethical Fitness® Seminars: by
teaching participants to apply a step-by-step decisionmaking framework,
we provide the tools necessary to resolve the challenging dilemmas that
fill today's high-stakes, high-speed world.
By dissecting decisionmaking in a real-world context, our process leaves
participants able to identify true dilemmas:
hard choices between two right answers, not between right and wrong. In the process of learning to identify these "right vs. right"
situations, participants learn that no matter how difficult a choice may
seem in the moment, it always fits into one of several broad categories,
each of which can be solved by applying simple, time-honored ethical formulas.
The process is simple, but not simplistic. IGE harnesses some of the oldest,
most successful ideas in ethical thought to reduce overwhelming situations
to a series of manageable steps. Hard choices, after all, often call for
complex solutions, and the IGE approach is flexible enough to accommodate
whatever diverse considerations an individual dilemma presents.
This translation of abstract ethical concepts to concrete, pragmatic, everyday
utility lies at the core of IGE's philosophy.
As the world becomes faster, accelerated by technology and competitive
pressure, decisionmakers at all levels have to act more quickly.
They lack the luxuries of time and perspective, which means that decisions
often have to be made immediately, sometimes before all the relevant information
is available. Compounding these issues is the tragic reality that even when one chooses
to behave ethically, the choice may not be immediately supported by those
above and around them. In this environment, doing the right thing often
calls for great moral courage.
The IGE framework aims to simplify the situation. On an individual level, we reduce difficult, stressful choices to a discrete
series of steps, streamlining the dilemma and allowing the decisionmaker
to keep a clear head. On an organizational level, however, following our
process results in a culture of ethics: an environment in which doing
the right thing is never punished, because doing the right thing is what
the organization expects.
All services provided by IGE, from seminars to consulting to speakers to
research, have as their end the creation of a culture of ethics within
. Our goal is not to solve any single dilemma, but to foster an atmosphere
in which future dilemmas can be solved honestly, openly, and ethically.
Moreover, we've spent over two decades observing how ethical cultures
foster successful organizations. Regardless of whether a governmental
body, a school, or a publicly traded corporation, a culture of ethics
transforms a group of individuals into a team, creating a sense of shared
enterprise that invariably improves satisfaction, performance, and loyalty.
Everyone wants to be part of something meaningful. At IGE, we help people
realize that they already are.