Your professional ethics are under attack on a daily basis. Whether you acknowledge this situation or not. The real question is what you do about it.
Professional ethics are the moral principles which form the foundational structure of your behavior. First, in my playbook, there is no dividing line between personal ethics and professional ethics. Then, your ethical sense impacts how, when, why and whether, or not, you consistently approach completing your own workload in a qualitied – or alternatively, half-baked – manner. Also, your ethical sense influences how well you collaborate with colleagues whose ethics may vary considerably from yours.
Consequently, no one can afford to sit this one out, any longer. Rather, I suggest that you become relentlessly curious about, rather than accepting of, the ethics reflected in your organization’s culture.
Developing a sense of professional ethics is not just about you.
These professional ethics involve continuously assessing whether your organization’s codes of professionally-accepted workplace standards, values and principles are morally sound. Operating alone, wearing blinders, going to work, doing your job, chasing your sales quota, or cutting costs to fulfill your organization’s KPIs, are no longer acceptable.
Not that these behaviors ever were, in the first place. “I had no idea this was going on,” or “But this is the way we always do things at the end of the quarter to make our numbers,” and a litany of other blah-blah-blah, are not ethical excuses, at all.
Consider that your professional ethics are influenced by the corporate culture in which you work.
An organization’s culture, according to Edgar Schein, Professor Emeritus at the MIT Sloane School of Management, is comprised of: “A pattern of shared basic assumptions that a group has learned as it solved its problems of external adaptation and internal integration, that has worked well enough to be considered valid and therefore, to be taught to new members as the correct way to perceive, think, and feel in relation to those problems.”
Either your corporate culture is, in fact, ethical. Or it is not. And either your colleagues are ethical, or not. Hiding out and playing it safe, comfortable and passive, are not professionally ethical behavioral norms.
Professional ethics catalyze how you think about the root causes of Who You Are as a Professional of Worth.
Regardless of your background, highest level of education achieved, job title or years of experience, gender, religion and all of that other Us versus Them mindset which tends to divide and conquer the workplace.
Heavy stuff, huh? Not really. Ethical stuff, in actuality. Leadership qualities, when applied.
Because each day, we enter the workplace full of yesterday’s news (real or fake), water cooler gossip, and a schedule and To Do list that we either love or hate. We either are fully invested in serving each other and our clients by providing extraordinary output and outcomes, or not.
That is why your professional ethics are your choice.
Continuously striving to do the ethically right thing becomes your professional moral compass. These principles, values and behaviors create the structural foundation of your professional development and professional innovation roadmaps.
Many years ago, I sat across the table from my regional sales manager, looked him in the eye, and told him: “Continuing to work for this organization compromises me morally, ethically and spiritually. I’m out.”
How many of you reading this blog post are sitting with me, at that same table? Isn’t it time to move one millimeter outside your professional comfort level, towards ethical, professional innovation? Your thoughts?
Start moving one millimeter forward, today.
- Engage me to keynote or present an interactive workshop at your next corporate or association event.
- Has what you read Today started you Thinking about tomorrow? Contact me. Let’s create a One Millimeter Mindset™ program that fits your needs.
Babette Ten Haken, Founder & President of One Millimeter Mindset™, is an innovative speaker, strategist, and storyteller. Babette’s One Millimeter Mindset™ Workshops and Speaking programs leverage collaboration to catalyze professional innovation, workforce engagement and customer retention. Babette’s playbook of collaboration tools, Do YOU Mean Business?, is available on Amazon. She is a member of ASQ, SHRM, PMI and the National Speakers Association. Image source: Adobe Stock.