Our Approach

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 found that 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 consumer loyalty.

Shared Values

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.

Moral Courage

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.

Culture Work

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 your organization . 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.