Developing the New Corporate Conscience
by Stephanie Cirihal

The first steps to re-building trust and credibility in and out of the board room.

The moral crisis in the corporate world today is an indication of just how far we have gotten out of whack. As everyone follows the news stories of corruption and scandal after scandal, already a rush to define and promote a new corporate conscience is taking place. Since I believe that the character of our corporate organizations is defined by the character of its leaders, I would like to offer some guidance to leaders at all levels in examining and building personal and corporate integrity.

It all begins with you. Growth in any area begins with self awareness, so examination of your own life and standards is where it all starts. As a good start, how many of the following questions can you say are true for you?

  1. I know what I stand for, and I stand for at least 10 things.

  2. I only do what I feel is right and just.

  3. I keep my word 99% of the time.

  4. I am in optimum emotional, spiritual, and physical condition.

  5. I always leave people better off.

  6. I understand my values and orient my life around them.

  7. I have not lied or been deceptive in any of my dealings for at least a year.

  8. My needs are met, and I don't drain others around me.

  9. I am on time 98 % of the time.

  10. I tell my truth, but am unconditionally constructive in my interactions with others.

If you can truthfully agree with at least 8 of the questions above, your character is probably well developed and you probably already know it! If not, some work on the foundation of your life would greatly improve your personal effectiveness both at work and at home. Enlist the help of a coach to accelerate your progress. I have my clients start by making a list of the Guiding Principles or things they believe in, like the principle of abundance (that there is plenty of everything for everyone), or in being unconditionally constructive in all interactions, or in lifelong learning. It is important to understand and know what we truly believe in - this grounds us in more difficult times and during moral dilemmas.

Next, examine your surroundings. Ask yourself, "Am I 100% a force for good in my job?" If not, what percentage are you for good? Do you share the same values as your company or organization? To compare your values to your company's values, take the audit on Spirituality and Health's website at .

If there is a conflict between your values, some tough questions need to be addressed:

  • To what extent are you expressing and living your values at work?
  • To what extent can you influence the values of your organization?
  • If the answers to both questions is "low", are you willing to risk or even sacrifice your fulfillment to maintain the status quo?

If not, then begin looking for ways to either increase your influence to express your values at work or transform the values of your organization, or start looking for someplace else to work. Write down the values of your ideal job or company, and go find it.

After examining yourself and surroundings, begin to look around you and evaluate the standards of those you deal with in your business and personal life. As you raise your awareness and standards for yourself, you also have the right to expect the same from those around you. Demand integrity from the products and services you use, the stocks you buy, and really use the power of your dollar. For instance, I refuse to wait for things and I reward companies or individuals who respond immediately to me with my business. Without being obsessive, I am reducing delay, or waste in both my services and the services I require. Remember, you deserve to feel great about the services and products you buy, and that also makes you a savvy consumer.

Following these steps will not only transform you, but amazingly, also those around you. Without saying a thing, people will notice that you are up to something different, and you will begin to attract better things to yourself and your organization. Soul searching is not easy, and sometimes the truth is not pretty, but if we can learn from the mistakes of others, the current moral crisis will become just a lesson well learned.

Stephanie Cirihal is a professional, solution-oriented coach who develops human solutions for organizations and the people in them. She offers a free e-zine and consultation on her website, located at

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Copyright 2002 by Stephanie Cirihal. All rights reserved.

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