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Lead with Integrity: Decisions. Decisions. Decisions. (Mar/Apr 2016)

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Ethics Matters

March/April 2016

How often do you think about the impact your decisions may have on other people? Recently, news of decision leaders making questionable actions that make negative, significant impacts on the people around them, has populated various media outlets. It makes me wonder if these leaders ever asked, "How does this decision impact the people I lead or serve?"

I firmly believe ethical leaders should pause and think about the effects major decisions may have before implementing them. When making decisions, these leaders should also consider what action(s) will be best and most fair for the greatest number of people. Sometimes what is best for the majority may differ from case to case, but having sensitivity in decision-making will often benefit everyone involved and lead to the best possible outcome.

Looking at the decision government officials made that caused the Flint, MI, water crisis, it is hard for me to believe the people of Flint were considered when the initial water source change happened. It is also hard for me to believe the people of this city were considered when officials made the decision to stay with the same water source, even after leadership was warned that the water and the pipes were poisonous. Finally, it is impossible for me to believe people were considered when a large corporate citizen was switched back to the original water supply prior to the rest of the citizens.

On the contrary, I applaud the CEO of Salesforce, Marc Benioff, for his decision to end gender pay gaps at his company. He decided fairness among employees is a critical value at Salesforce and it was time to pay women equal to men who were in the same positions. This decision was one that took effort and came at a cost – Salesforce invested time and money to evaluate all jobs at the company to determine the gaps. To date, this effort has cost the company $3 million. However, this commitment and ethical decision to close the gender pay gaps will pay for itself over and over again at Salesforce.

Ultimately, leaders’ decisions impact others. The health and economic impacts of decisions made in Flint are catastrophic. Sicknesses are on the rise and real estate values are plummeting. On the other hand, Salesforce will most likely attract more talented women and minorities into its workforce because of the positive impacts leadership is making.

Who do your decisions impact? I encourage you to think of the people you lead.

— As Always, Lead With Integrity!

Alfonzo Alexander
President, CPT

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