Are Our Standards Too Low?
Posted by Anni M.
I was watching a police procedural on television last night—you know, one of those detective shows where each episode follows a team of eagle-eyed coppers as they solve a mysterious crime. They track down the criminal, all the while struggling to follow the strict rules of law enforcement. I’m also a fan of the legal procedural—smartly dressed lawyers butting heads over the minutae of legalese. While it must be difficult working within the confines of the law, it must also be freeing to have such well-defined rules. It occurred to me last night how rule-less business can be. It’s laughable to compare a corporate office to a police barracks or a courtroom. Corporate rules are developed in-house. They vary widely from company to company and they’re often rather bendable. Earlier this week I wrote about having integrity at work, and I think it’s a topic worth revisiting. In an environment without solid overarching rules, inner integrity is our only defense against all types of personal and professional corruption.
I wonder, are our standards too low? Should we have a more established set of rules governing our conduct in private enterprise? I don’t suppose that would be easy to do without violating private freedoms, but without it we’re all unprotected. Sure, there are federal laws that protect us from the extremes—unprovoked firing and injuries at work—but what about the more subtle everyday decisions we make? For example, a lawyer is not allowed to lead a witness. He can’t sit there and coerce a witness into embellishing his testimony. In business, you can convince anyone to say anything. The gloves are off.
I admit it’s a slightly problematic comparison. In business, you’re not trying to solve crimes. You’re not trying to keep evidence pristine so that a court can figure out the particulars of a night’s events. On the other hand, people’s fates are on the line. Irresponsible or ill-conceived decisions can have a direct impact on employees’ livelihoods, on their ability to support their families. The stakes are higher than we might like to admit.
The upshot here is that corporate bigwigs have a lot to gain by creating an atmosphere of integrity, civility, and strict rule following. The onus is on the company to create standards, and that’s not always easy to do. In my own experience, I’ve found that the more rules I have, the better I do. If I know what is expected of me, I know how to do my job. The more closely I follow the rules, the more comfortable I feel and the more productive I am. The more a company can encourage personal integrity, the higher their standards are, the more likely they are to grow, problem free.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..