Sincerity In Business
Doing what is right with transparent motives
To practice Sincerity I will:
- take responsibility for my own actions
- always mean what I say
- respect others’ opinions
- not take advantage of other people
- be my truest self
The Sincerity Edge
-Jill W Tomey
In their book, Sincerity Edge, the authors distinguish between companies that donate to causes out of their profit and those that truly have an ethical corporate values structure. The Sincerity Edge that companies gain from having a culture that is permeated with ethics, comes when all levels of the company are engaged in this culture. It has effects from individual performance to corporate financial decisions. Companies with a true Sincerity Edge will keep ethics in their decision making even when times are tough, and the right decision might be the expensive one.
The book identifies 12 factors that can help a company achieve the Sincerity Edge and make ethics a core value of the company that can lead to economic success. If you are an executive of a company, applying the 12 factors to your organization can drive the value of ethics deeper into your culture. If you are a middle manager or manage a smaller company, many of these factors can be applied at your level.
There is one factor which many managers can take advantage of. Factor #10 specifies that the size of a work group influences how well ethical decision making is practiced. Smaller groups are much more effective than larger groups at achieving this. Employees need to feel the consequences of bad decisions in order to want to learn how to make the good ones. Breaking larger work groups into smaller teams or creating teams that cross boundaries where the work of one group influences the work of another group is one way to achieve this factor.
Every company has a culture, but it takes intentional direction to create a character-based culture. It is not something that you can just use your gut to make decisions and hope that you are consistent with your mission. The Sincerity Edge is not something that can be achieved in a short time frame by adopting a program or hiring a consultant. It is gained when values are deeply embedded in the organization and that over an extended period, are used for decision making at all levels of the company.
At the Character Council we have often stated that Character in the culture of a business offers competitive advantage. It provides an environment where employees will do the right thing on a regular basis. Employees who are not comfortable with an ethical environment will leave and those who are will be attracted to the organization. Because core values are part of the hiring process, turnover and the costs associated with that, typically go down. As organizations mature in their ethical structure, their commitment to ethics becomes more organic as it recognizes that being ethical has value independent of any economic advantage.
This month, as an individual, determine how you can gain the Sincerity Edge by being character-driven in your actions, words, decisions and relationships.
The Sincerity Edge: How Ethical Leaders Build Dynamic Businesses, Alexandra Christina, Countess of Frederiksborg and Timothy L. Fort., 2017
From the inside front cover: “Countess Alexandra Christina, a European corporate board director, and Timothy L. Font, a leading American scholar, delineate a clear, actionable model for bringing sincerity to the business context. Drawing on top research and new interviews with CEOs, their vision complies with law, aligns corporate social and financial performance, and values corporate ethics in its own right, rather than as a mean to an end.