Ethics intelligence

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Your ability to spot ethical implications and dilemmas in your actions and decisions, in the midst of increasing complexity, change and volatility, is a skill. It takes a fair amount of understanding what ethics is at a deep level, but more importantly, constant self-reflection. Building ethics intelligence within self is important, but leaders should also work towards building organisations that are ethics intelligent.

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The voices behind our beliefs

We are often quite unaware of how our belief systems are influenced by various external factors, and how those beliefs may impact on our decisions and actions. Not interrogating information that we are being fed on a daily basis could quite easily lead to a skewed view of reality, which may lead to inappropriate decisions or actions. Reflecting on how we have come to our conclusions should be standard practice for leaders.

The Whistle Blower’s Achilles Heel

The journey of a whistle blower is never an easy one. Many who make the noble decision to blow the whistle, do not fully recover once they have walked through the battle ground. Landing on your feet should be a goal every whistle blower aims for as an ultimate end state. Following a set of principles may help the individual find their way to that desired end state.

The true depth of accountability

Accountability has for the longest of times been touted as one of the key pillars of governance, for very good reasons. Can one talk about governance without accountability? Especially when you consider the fact that we are living in a world where complexity is not only the order of the day, but the degree of complexity is also constantly increasing?

2 Responses

  1. Dear Claudelle. Thank you for your talk on Ethical Intelligence. I agree with you that the “Ethics Behaviour” applies to each of us in what we say and do on a consistent basis. This is not only about fraud and corruption. I recently watched the movie called “Open Secrets” – which reflected the experiences of Katherine Gun as the Whistle blower of the company called GCHQ. She translated messages and was bound by the UK Secrecy Act. An email, sent to each person in
    GCHQ, were asked to assist in influencing the vote for the UK to join the USA in starting a war in Iraq in 2003. Her conscience, her ethics, her moral compass – in trying to stop the war from happening, in trying to saving innocent lives which would be lost unnecessarily, is what drove her to leak the email to the media. The question I have been asking myself, as a Citizen of Conscience, doing the right thing when I see unethical behaviour, contravention of Policies and Procedures, is when speaking up against this – one is marginalized, treated as an outcast, one becomes the pariah. The question begs another question – what pushes a person like Katherine Gun, Edward Snowden, Daniel Ellsberg, Anthony Russo etc. – what was different in their psyche that they took the action they did for the interest of the Public! So a very interesting topic to reflect on our own ethical choices we make when faced with such ethical dilemmas in each sphere of our lives, be in personal or career.

    1. Cynthia, you are yourself a wonderful example of bravery. A very important question we need to ask ourselves is why is it that some people are willing to pay the ultimate price and do what is right why the masses choose to keep silent. Self preservation seems to be a human aspiration that is both a blessing and a curse. Most people struggle to find the line between when self preservation is good and when it is bad for the greater good. As a society we have to ask very tough questions about the cultures we have created.

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