The most successful businesses have a moral, ethical and socially responsible values base which informs and defines their culture. Great leaders know that it is crucial to inspire, motivate and value their staff. They consciously create a culture in which trust and values are fundamental and where professional development are fostered through mentoring and coaching as an organisational style, approach and method.
My work has shown me that for successful people, values and principles drive their business. These are also likely to be leaders who can identify people’s individual strengths and build on them in positive ways. I have explored this premise in my recent book which, through evidence from face to face interviews with business leaders, demonstrates the importance of emotional intelligence in successful corporate leadership. Crucially, the interviews also showed a remarkable similarity amongst all those interviewed about how culture and values drive success, and how they can be applied in particular ways.
I believe that values drive the culture and practices of every business and organisation and my own experience of running a highly successful company for over a decade proved that successful businesses have an ethical and socially responsible base.
I felt that a dilution of these was likely to have been a factor in the global financial crisis and appears to be becoming so on the internet reflecting more and more the lack of control or regulation and the dilemmas which this creates. My own experience therefore has been in direct contrast to the sense of disillusion and mistrust which became widespread during the recession and gave rise to a lack of confidence in political and societal leadership. This is perhaps now being demonstrated in scepticism about the election outcome and a reluctance even to vote.
My experience has also shown that using positive approaches to help organisations and individuals improve is the most successful strategy rather than the over analysis of the unsuccessful. Positive approaches also help to develop a trust and values based culture. Organisation and individual development therefore should focus on previous success, individual and organisations strengths, unique characteristics, positive attitudes, cultures and methods
Sheila Stokes White is a consultant and strategic adviser. With a decade as Managing Director of an Organisation Development company she has designed and delivered bespoke board development and leadership programmes and in the process has mentored key leaders. She is currently working with the Institute of directors to improve the gender balance on boards in the UK. A classically trained singer she has been developing the use of music as a metaphor for culture change in her work.
The Ethics of Work by Sheila Stokes White Published by Management Books 2000 (ISBN: 9781852527419)