Last week I witnessed many coincidences, one was that when I was being briefed for a forthcoming presentation, I was asked to make the focus on moral fibre. The following day when I popped into my favourite bookstore, the owner asked if I could make my next column about moral regeneration. Listening to the radio prior to penning these words, the announcer highlighted the cause for so much going awry in society. Have we bred a generation that believes you are only immoral, or wrong, when you get caught? What has happened to personal integrity? There is a lovely quote about the sun setting, and not expecting applause…We should not expect praise for doing things honestly and making good choices, it should be ‘our way’.
Who is responsible for defining ‘our way’ in a business? Is it a top-down responsibility, or should everyone be making a contribution? This can be termed corporate culture, which is largely the responsibility of the leader and their executive team to define (and reflect through leading by example), but each and every individual in the organisation should be making a contribution to the overall culture.
Moral fibre can be defined as the inner strength to do what one believes to be right; often an ability to make difficult decisions. Interesting question – how does one measure this, and how do we develop moral fibre? When interviewing candidates for a position, sometimes potential employees demonstrate their moral fibre unwittingly. I interviewed a young girl who had a glowing and appropriate CV, but was silly enough to tell me that she had taken a day’s sick leave. It gets better…she then informed me that her mother has also taken a leave of absence under the banner of being ill, so that they could have an afternoon of shopping together after our interview. This was a good example of how one learns from an example, good or bad, and how moral fibre can be hereditary!
I believe that one individual can make a difference, that when one person in a team demonstrates good choices, honesty and integrity, others follow, believing it to be the norm. We always hope that it will start with the leader, but if it does not, do not let this deter you…you can be the start of the moral regeneration in your team.