My workforce research showed most workers put organizational integrity ahead of financial gain. Yet in the current practice of capitalism, as organizations grow, gaining financial sustainability, influence and impact on society, they tend toward self-protection and self-interest. What's a well-meaning worker to do?
When buying a car, or a mattress for that matter, we'd look at Consumer Reports. When taking a job, a client, or building a business, it begs the question: why not have a way of rating an organization's impact on the common good?
This has come up for me recently because my work as an executive coach brings me in contact with many leaders and organizations in various stages of doing more common good versus being more self-interested and self-protected. When taking a client, I need a way to look at the organization and determine how my helping a leader or leaders in that organization will impact all of us. After all, my core operating principal in my work is to make the world a better place, one leader at a time.
Yet when I look at many organization’s stated values (framed on walls, printed on mouse pads, etc.), I see things like “Empathy” and “Honesty,” and “Teamwork,” and it leads me to the conclusion that they’re letting themselves off the hook too easily by not holding to higher standards.
So I had to come up with my own compass or rating system that helps me understand the impact that organization has on the world. After some soul-searching, I picked nine dimensions (below.) That’s not to say every organization should do all nine things well--my own gauge is whether they do some of these very well, and not run afoul of the others.
- Furthers people’s knowledge and capacity for insight.
- Assists those who need help—affordably, effectively, and compassionately.
- Is of service to others.
- Fosters people’s capacity to work and live at their best.
- Fosters individual and collective liberty.
- Protects people from harm.
- Uses natural resources wisely and without waste or harm to the environment.
- Operates ethically and with integrity.
- When self-interest and common good are at odds, chooses the common good.
Leaders and workers can consider their organization on each of these dimensions from a scale of negative five (works fully against this dimension) to positive five (fully fosters this dimension). What’s your score or rating? What are you willing to do about it?