Last week I had the huge privilege to be invited to attend the first meeting of the “Ethicalbility Community of Practice” and to join the community itself. The community is made up of those using the ethicability principles to make ethics a fundamental part of organisational structure and culture.
Other guests included representatives of major utilities, financial services and consulting businesses as well as a number of independent consultants who work with these businesses to help them make the cultural shift required to put ethics at the heart of an organisation.
The community has been instigated by Roger Steare as a way of supporting the cultural revolution that is going on in many larger businesses today. As those of you who have followed my work for a while will know, this is something I have tried before, so I fully understand how hard it is to “sell” the idea of ethics or authenticity to large corporations. I give huge credit to Roger for making it happen.
And it will happen this time, because this time it is different. Delivering authenticity or ethics to a room full of senior corporate executives today is a reassuring, inspiring and slightly dissonant experience. Reassuring and inspiring because you realise how much corporate people ache for the permission to work authentically with their own values, and you realise just how big a difference it will make to the world. Dissonant, because for so long most corporations seemed to be closed to the whole idea of ethics or authenticity.
We are on the cusp of a revolution in corporate culture that will see businesses leading governments and whole societies in consciousness and behaviours around ethics. The businesses doing this, are not doing it out of guilt or compassion, but because they know they have to. They know that their social licence to operate will not be maintained unless they can be seen as a force for good in the world. However as they move down the path they are also realising an authenticity dividend.
The authenticity dividend is the incalculable energy that is released when thousands of senior, experienced executives become passionate about their work. It is the energy released when those leaders give permission for their teams to also be authentic at work and it is the energy brought by the highly intelligent graduates who choose that firm over others because they believe in the culture and their ability to be authentic within it.
It is a very exciting time to be doing what I do. I feel that, along with many others, I have spent too long ahead of this particular curve and am now relishing being on it.
At the risk of putting myself ahead of another curve, I just wanted to give an update on a new area of practice for me, which is that I have started to work with virtual teams. Training leaders in how to lead virtually and also facilitating both courses and day to day business for virtual teams using private social networking tools. I would love to hear from others who are interested in this work.
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