The Management Blog
Tips & advice to help you improve your performance
I know I’ve given you activities similar to this before but I’d like you to take some of the new information about honesty and ethics into consideration as you think about today’s question.
You have two resumes on your desk. One is from a bright, young college graduate with no experience. His college major is in line with the work you do within your organisation and – even better – he graduated from the same university you went to and has the same fraternity ties!
The second resume is from a man with a college education as well. He has about 20 years experience in the industry and has been relatively successful.
They’re both good candidates, but how will you choose?
Will you look at their experience levels? The younger candidate has very little but he’s mallable – you can mold him the way your organisation wishes him to be. He’ll also present a fresh, modern viewpoint when it comes to new developments. The second candidate is older – true – but he has all the experience. Will he be difficult to work with or will that experience add value to your team?
Or – will you hire the younger guy because you have common interests?
Oh – you didn’t think people made unethical decisions like that? Well, they do. And the funny part is that many of them don’t even consciously realize they’re choosing one person over another for an unethical reason. They’re justifying their decisions with concrete points that simply aren’t as strong as they could be in order to cover up the real reasons.
So which candidate would you hire? I’d love to know!
The truth is that most people really are honest. They want to believe that they are doing the right thing for everyone involved in a given situation at any given time – and they want to be respected. Dishonest people aren’t respected in the business world. Most people actually want to be honest. Very few people wake up each morning and decide to lie their way through the day. Those who do lie do so out of a sense of necessity – as if not doing so will lead someone to believe they’ve been let down.
While most people want to be honest in business, it is true that earning yourself a bad reputation can be detrimental to your success. One terrible mishap could make a lot of people angry. They’ll begin to retaliate against you. They eventually let others know about your bad decisions and you lose business from others as well.
One example of a slightly dishonest and incredibly detrimental business decision is highlighted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill. During the late 80’s, Exxon partnered with 7 other oil companies to convince Valdez to build a tanker terminal. They believed that the likelihood of an oil spill was very low but promised that if there ever was such an incident they would have the necessary cleanup equipment on site within mere hours.
On March 24, 1989, one of the oil tankers left Valdez, headed for California. The ship struck Bligh Reef and more than 10.8 million of the 54.1 million gallons of oil on the ship spilled into Prince William Sound.
And guess what? Exxon had fudged the numbers a bit and really didn’t have the equipment necessary to respond to such a disaster within “mere hours.”
Before long, more than 1,300 square miles of ocean was covered in oil. Sea otters, seabirds, salmon, and seals were covered in oil – most dying before they could be rescued. The actual cleanup cost around $300 million and after several court cases and appeals Exxon ended up paying more than $2.5 billion in punitive damages.
Exxon, believing an oil spill was highly unlikely, cut costs on cleanup equipment. They may have thought it the right thing to do at the time but they misrepresented themselves to the people of Valdez.
And they paid dearly, in both cost and reputation, for that mistake.
Is that the type of reputation you want to build for your organisation?
There’s a rumor circulating about the world of business – it states that honesty pays. Every once in a while, though, I have to wonder if honesty is really the foundation upon which successful businesses are based on.
About 20 years ago there was an article in the Harvard Business Review. The article questioned whether or not honesty and integrity were prominent factors when determining if a business will become successful or not. Realistically speaking, building a business upon a dishonest foundation is completely possible. It can be profitable. And the odds of getting caught are – well – slim to none, in most cases.
To start the week off I’d like you to think about your position within your business. Have you, as a manager, ever made an unethical decision? Have you ever told a little white lie just to convince an employee to meet a goal or to make a sale? Do you think that you, as a manager are the only person bending the truth to get things done? How deep into your organisation would you have to dig to uncover something bitter – and perhaps a lot more questionable in terms of ethics?
Over the next couple of days we’ll take a look at a few situations that push the line when it comes to ethics. I hope we’ll prove that you can build a business with 100% honesty and integrity – even if it does take a little more work upfront!
Motivation. What is it? A motive is a thing – or an idea – that gives person incentive to move forward. Motivation can come in the form of a personal objective or a work-related goal. Whatever the reason for the motivation, it allows a person to continue to progress in life.
If this is true, your employees are constantly searching for some sort of motivation while at work. Motivation comes in many forms but the truth is that if they aren’t motivated they won’t be nearly as productive as you wish them to be. Here are a few things you can do to ensure your team stays motivated. Learn More
We’ve talked about anger and the importance of properly managing it in the past. The truth is that everyone is going to get angry while at work at least once during the course of his career. Everyone will handle that anger differently but there are a few who will have no idea how to appropriately respond to anger – especially in a formal environment. While throwing things around or yelling may work in the privacy of your home, it simply doesn’t fly in the work environment. Learn More
Yup – we’re still planning and launching your mentoring program. Today I want to talk just a little bit about how to actually, formally start the mentoring plan. It’s actually very easy.
You’ve already decided who is going to be a mentor and who needs mentoring. Those in need of mentoring have filled out their self assessment forms to help determine what career path is best. Upper management has committed to supporting the program. So what’s next?
Start by letting the entire organisation know that you’re launching a mentoring program. Let everyone know – not just the ones you’ve chosen to receive initial mentoring. The more people who know about the program the more likely they are to support it and they may just become interested in participating later.
Let your mentees know which mentor they’ve been partnered with and then give them their first challenge. The mentors are not allowed to reach out to the mentees to set up their first appointments. The mentees must take control of their futures from the start and must take complete responsibility for setting up that meeting.
Make sure the mentors have copies of the self assessment sheets their mentees completed. The mentors will use those sheets along with the information they gather at the first meeting in order to begin making a plan.
Make sure the mentors and mentees are setting regular meeting schedules to track progress and make changes, if necessary. Don’t let them make excuses about not having time and don’t let them stall after one goal is met. Progress is a lifelong committment.
Setting up and launching a mentoring program is much more work than maintaining it once you have it off the ground. Don’t give up. Remain as committed to your team and their growth as you want each member to be to himself. Eventually you’ll begin to see great results!