Many scholars have done scientific research on the matter of effects of codes of conduct. And I need to study them for my PhD research. But instead of giving you the dry scientific facts on this research I will share with you this traffic light method.
When you hear the following sentences in your company, stop and think!
- “Go get this done, whatever it takes“
When your manager or director starts using this type of expression, your company is certainly under pressure. The implication of the non-defined ‘whatever’ means he does not want to know what needs to be done to make the results happen. Bend a few labor laws, safety regulations, he wants the right not to know…
- “Take off the hat of engineer, start thinking as a manager”
This was said to the engineers who worked on ths Discovery Space Shuttle, before its deadly last flight. The engineers had reason to postpone the shuttle’s trip, because of serious enginering troubles that would lead to violations of the safety regulations. The director in charge told them to think out of their box with safety rules and put on the thinking hat of a manager who would only care about the result of getting the shuttle on its way as fast as possible. At that time, the value of safety was restricted to a certain group within NASA, not the whole company. With disastrious results.
- “These values X and Y are non-negotiables”
That sounds very nice, to hear that certain parts of the code of conduct are non-negotiable whatever the costs. It also means that there are negotiables. Why are they in the general code then? And who decides actually what is negotiable and what not?
- “We have a performance based bonus system”
If upholding the code of conduct to achieve your individual performance is not taken in account, the code of conduct has a high chance of being violated.
Next time, what DOES make a business code effective!