The Ethics Strategy #3

As part of a long-term research project, I have identified five competitive strategies common to organizations that are successful and ethical on a sustained basis. None of these strategies considered alone guarantees ethical success. I will be sharing these strategies through a series of posts. Here is the third strategy.

Manage the moments of truth.

Jan Carlzon, former CEO of SAS airlines, used the phrase “moments of truth” to describe those times when the employees of a company have direct contact with its customers. Carlzon’s point was that if you treat customers fairly in each moment of truth, you will win the battle for customer loyalty. And you will only win these moments of truth if each and every employee knows how you expect them to handle such moments. The same can be said for ethics. If everyone in your company treats the company’s constituents ethically each time an employee has direct contact with them, the company will earn a lasting reputation for ethics. And this will only happen if each and every employee knows your ethical expectations for them.