Rather than employing business ethics as a means to prevent negative consequences, what would happen if we instead focused on the positive effects of behaving ethically? Is there a dividend—financial or otherwise—that can be associated with behaving ethically? If so, how does it show up in our organizations, and what can leaders do to leverage it?
Eric McNulty, Director of Research and Professional Programs at the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, a joint program of the Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and contributing editor here at HigherAmbition.org spoke recently with Mindy Hall of Peak Development. Together they explored the Purpose-Value-Performance framework that Eric has developed as a guide for using ethical behavior to drive value creation. Premier Farnell and Center for Higher Ambition Leadership member Cascade Engineering are offered as case examples.
“I wanted to take the fairly abstract concept of ethics and make it practical,” McNulty said. “It turns out that a solid ethical framework can inform decisions and actions to create value for the full range of stakeholders. It can steer people way from destructive behavior in the pursuit of short-term results. Aristotle said that to be useful is virtuous. When companies focus on being truly useful in the system they can serve customers, investors, associates, and other stakeholders. For companies embarking on a higher ambition initiative, the purpose-values-performance framework can be useful for initiating a dialog — What is our ultimate purpose? What are our values and how can we ensure that they inform everyday behavior? How will we measure success — and would our stakeholders agree with those metrics?” McNulty has written a white paper on the Purpose-Values-Performance framework as well.