I founded Leading Ethics because I believe that people, companies and organizations that act with integrity can make a safer, more prosperous future for all of us and the generations who come after us. In an ever more complex and unstable world, people are voting with their feet, demanding that companies and organizations demonstrate real and consistent “duty of care” not only to the bottom line, but to the people, the planet and the future we all share in common as a global society.
Trust in many public institutions is at a low point and the ethical posture of the business and not-for-profit sectors is urgently needed to strengthen public trust in our society and maintain the stability that business needs to thrive. We are seeing an increasing appreciation for this urgent need in the proliferation of efforts to create safe and respectful workplaces, to ensure and document sustainability, and to open doors for more diverse, inclusive workforces. Common to all of these efforts are what is commonly known as ethics, shared understandings of how decency, long-term thinking and collaboration are essential for stability and growth.
With social networks shaping public opinion at an unprecedented speed, companies must be prepared to respond almost instantaneously to ethical questions about actions and policies. Whether as a consequence of a single company or organization’s actions, or as a result of ethical lapse elsewhere in the sector, the financial consequences in company valuation and reputation can be both swift and devastating, damaging or destroying good and valuable institutions.
Oftentimes, questions of ethics come into sharp, urgent focus when the implications of a product, a policy or a business deal are called into question. It is very difficult to make good decisions when so much is on the line and indeed many such opportunities are often squandered. Organizations need a well-developed ethical culture and framework against which consequential questions can be framed.
I spent the first 23 years of my career as a faith leader, inspired to bring ethical values to life, support people, and bring them together in caring relationship. Faith leaders are privileged to be involved in people’s lives at their most powerful and pivotal moments, whether times of great joy and triumph, or tragedy and defeat. We listen to the narrative of human experience and hopefully pass on teachings that might inspire those who seek to make the best of their lives.
After several years as a congregational rabbi, I was fortunate to become the head of an international body representing faith leaders and institutions in 26 countries. As one of the internationally recognized spokespeople for the world Jewish community, I led many far-reaching collective efforts in partnership with leaders of many backgrounds serving in diverse sectors of government, business, and civil society. Now, all around us, I see people struggling to find and do what is right and best and conduct themselves as the people they want to be.
Conscience, integrity, good will - these qualities transcend country, party, industry or profession. Trustworthiness, vision and caring are found in people of every ethnicity, faith, gender or age, and in very good measure of people whose vision and competencies bring them to lead large companies and organizations. Together we can realize the immense added value that Leading Ethics brings to all of our endeavors.