Blog >
Business ethics

Business ethics

As the demand for natural resources increases, Zaheera Soomar shares an always-relevant article on health, safety, and corporate responsibility in the mining industry.  I recently presented at the DRC Mining Week Digital Event on a new “modus operandi” for health and safety in mining. There was some good dialogue and I have had multiple follow ups and conversations since on an organizations responsibility. Thought it would be good to share some views on this. In the past few weeks alone…
As capitalist growth moves forward at light speed, Jennifer Hartz shares an evergreen article on the importance of building communication lines and skills and strategic partnerships among private, public, and independent sectors. Nonprofit organizations and business volunteers need each other, but sometimes they speak different languages or don’t hear each other’s needs and assets. Companies have a broad set of tools – Time, Talent, Treasure, and often goods and services.  Charities are doing a better job at educating their clients,…
Gregory Borel shares a company post designed to help move companies closer to net zero. How will we collectively achieve net zero by 2050? At a high level the answer can be summarised in four key requirements: Use less energy Make the energy we use renewable Protect carbon sinks Collaborate and help others to make the above happen Now, what does a sound and responsible corporate net zero ambition look like? Same as above. Let’s be more specific. Use less…
Soyini Coke shares an evergreen article that explains why it takes courage to move forward with ethical leadership. Ethics has been on many people’s minds lately. On day 20 of a government shutdown, we’re in a tough spot today in the US. “One of the things about ethics that is really important to understand, is that ethics isn’t for sissies,” says Professor Paul Root Wolpe, Executive Director of the Emory Center for Ethics. He moves on to say on this…
Jessica Graf shares a TEDx talk on sanitation, social innovation, and how it could change the world for the better.           Access the talk, Empathy, not MBAs, on LinkedIn….
Belden Menkus shares a podcast interview with Charles Wookey. Our guest is Charles Wookey, CEO of Blueprint for Better Business, an independent charity whose purpose is to create a better society through better business. Charles was one of the founders of Blueprint and a key contributor to the thinking behind the Blueprint approach which asserts that people are not solely self-interested and that business is not solely driven by profit. Under his leadership Blueprint has moved from being a small…
  Peet van Biljon shares a white paper on the benefits of ethics-driven innovation. Is your company innovative? No doubt, you would like to say yes. Everyone wants to be innovative, which is why the word “innovation” appears frequently in annual reports and press releases. However, there can be a large gap between saying we are good at innovation and being truly good at it. How to close this gap is the topic of a multitude of publications on innovation…
  Eran Zimmerman tackles the issue of corporate responsibility and the involvement of McKinsey in the Oxycontin scandal.  When I was a young McKinsey associate, 19 years ago, I was taught that while the amount of good any single member could produce for the Firm was limited, each one of us had the capacity for causing almost unlimited damage to the famed McKinsey brand. That piece of ancient Mckinsey wisdom came back to me while I was reading a NY…
  Zaheera Soomar presents an article based on the results of a recent conference on corporate responsibility for health and safety in mining.  I recently presented at the DRC Mining Week Digital Event on a new “modus operandi” for health and safety in mining. There was some good dialogue and I have had multiple follow ups and conversations since on an organization’s responsibility. Thought it would be good to share some views on this. In the past few weeks alone…
  Dan Markovitz shares why COVID-19 provides the opportunity to institute change.  “You’ve heard it countless times before:  ‘People don’t like change.’ ‘Change is hard.’ ‘Change activates people’s lizard brain. They’ll fight you or run away.’ ‘People don’t mind changing. They don’t like being changed.’ You hear these complaints so often that you’d think they’re inscribed in the 10 Commandments by now. (They’re not, by the way.) Sure, there’s plenty of truth in those sayings, but the good news is…
  Jennifer Hartz shares encouraging words on how the current COVID-19 situation provides the opportunity to learn, grow, and serve.  Obviously, #COVID19 creates a number of significant problems in the world, our country, businesses, nonprofits, governments, and schools. This temporary situation, current trend, or permanent transformation is challenging. So, let’s look at the opportunities for people working or learning remotely or not employed full time to improve their lives as well as others’. REMOTE WORK IS EXPANDING Twitter announced that…
  David Burnie’s company has published a timely blog on the 21 common mistakes many companies make when rolling out their business continuity plan.  A business continuity plan is essential for preventing and recovering from emergencies and incidents that can disrupt a business. We recently shared our top 13 priorities for a strong BCP. While not having a BCP is a sure-fire pitfall to successful business continuity, there are other things to keep in mind. Here are some of the…
  Jason George shares an origin story of management consulting and lessons from the barnyard to highlight the benefits of putting people and practice before personal profit.  Marvin Bower faced a critical choice. He had led McKinsey & Company from its earliest years, in the process helping to define the fledgling field of management consulting. Now nearing retirement age, it was time to hand the reins to the next generation of leaders. As the principal shareholder in the partnership, Bower’s…
  Amanda Setili shares eight steps you can take to mitigate stress and uncertainty during the current crisis.  I’ve been astounded by the degree and speed of innovation and change these last few weeks. Things that in normal times would have taken months or years to do have been accomplished in days, largely because people are banding together to help each other. In the midst of suffering, stress, and a good bit of fear, there is more kindness than ever….
  During times of crises leaders must make the tough decisions, but choosing the right way to go is not always clear cut. Zaheera Soomar identifies three practical approaches to serve as guidelines for ethical decision-making. During a recent conversation with a senior executive, she expressed a sentiment that many of us share: “When the pandemic has passed, I want to be able to say that, at the hardest of times, I did my best to do the right thing”….
Umbrex is pleased to welcome Swan Sit.  wan Sit is an independent consultant specializing in digital, marketing and strategy. Having spent the past decade of her career accelerating digital into legacy companies, she held two key roles as a Vice President at Nike — overseeing Global Digital Marketing during the Emmy-winning “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, and running Digital Operations, Product, Supply Chain and Service for a $2B ecommerce business during the Air Jordan 11 Concord launch, the largest…
  Amanda Setili shares a post that identifies a few ways we can take positive action during the current crisis. Billions of us worldwide are altering our behaviors during the covid 19 crisis, so that as many people as possible remain safe. When faced with a tough situation—even something big, like the coronavirus situation—I always ask: how can we mitigate the downside, and create some good? We are living in strange times, and things are changing every day. Schools are…
  Vik Muktavaram recently published an article that evaluates the current crisis through four approaches of risk management. “As the federal government finally took the first decisive step in stemming the outbreak of COVID-19 in the US, the images of serpentine lines of arriving international passengers at airports waiting for immigration and screening for COVID-19 coronavirus ubiquitous online and in print. Presumably, the rationale for the screening was that these arriving passengers represented a high-risk cohort. Yet, the long, crowded…
  Jesse Jacoby shares a timeless post that explains how leaders can overcome overt and covert resistance to change.    In your role as a leader, you will likely encounter resistance to change at some point from one or more of your own team members. Resistance may come from a variety of sources: An individual with a difficult personality Someone anxious about impending change A person who disagrees with your vision Resistance is usually demonstrated in one of four ways,…
  David A. Fields identifies benefits consulting firms should focus on during this time of crisis. There are so many voices fixated on the disaster unfolding around us, that you could easily be swept into a torrent of anxiety, fear and panic. In truth, there is real reason for concern and you absolutely should heed the direction of medical leaders. At the same time, you and your consulting firm will benefit from a healthy dose of positive perspective. If you…
  Luiz Zorzella shares key points that can help leaders evaluate and address their approach to change to ensure better outcomes.  Strategy & Value For the past 10 years, financial services firms have publicly acknowledged that they needed to change.  Chances are, your organization was one of those. Commoditization meant a systematic erosion of margins for banks; reduction in interest rates has been challenging both interest and non-interest income sources of banks and investment firms as well as the economics…
  Surbhee Grover takes a moment to think about the future and how the Coronavirus will change the way we work and live.   Our lives, as we’ve known them, have come to a grinding halt. What will the world look like when the music starts again? In the time we are not obsessing with COVID-19 updates, or trying to revive the business; ensure availability of dog food (and wine), and survive homeschooling, some of us are starting to wonder…
  Dan Markovitz explains why some methods of measuring performance and quality seriously lack the data to make an impact.   Pity the employees at a Starbucks in midtown NYC. In a misguided attempt to improve quality, the management posts monthly scores on a variety of metrics. . . without understanding anything about effective use of metrics. Measurement is a good idea, but only if it’s done well. These measurements? Not so much.  If you read Mark Graban’s blog or book,…
  Geoff Wilson gets straight to the point with some tough love in this article by asking if you to make sure your strategy inspires.  The possibilities are endless.  Some might say that the sole purpose is to ‘enhance shareholder value.’  I’d argue that this old trope is no longer the gold standard. Some adhere to the stakeholder model…which might be closer.  Regardless of the ‘concept,’ a given business strategy has to appeal to a lot of people. Strategy, inasmuch…
  Miklos Tomka illuminates the importance of doing what you can to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus. The Coronavirus is spreading fast and has spread inside of hospitals in China, exposing hospital staff. Various places are a source for spreading infections, light switches that everyone touches, is clearly one of these. Ubiquilux has developed a product to reduce the risk of infections spreading in hospitals: a gesture controlled light switch. A light switch which does not react to random…
  It takes more than talent to become a valued employee in today’s workplace. Sherif El Henaoui identifies the benefits of finding the right fit.  Top people are desired. Every company wants them: the intelligent, creative, endurable, high-performance worker. Since this desired workforce is rare, there is a “war” as suggested by the HR literature. I once heard a quote of a McKinsey partner commenting on the Internet bubble crisis saying, “We won the war for talent, but we ended…
Amanda Setili shines a light on an initiative that sparked employee engagement, inspired innovation, and motivated collaboration.    What does a 110-year-old company do to increase the rate of innovation from less than one new business per year to 50?  The answer, says David Lee, Vice President of Innovation and New Ventures at UPS, is to launch a program that taps into the brilliant growth ideas lurking in the heads of many of its 480,000 employees.  The program is called…
Dan Markovitz reveals a common problem that lean programs often face.    Boeing’s Starliner failed an important test flight two weeks ago. It was supposed to rendezvous with the International Space Station, but was unable to reach the correct orbit.   The problem with this engineering marvel? Not the complex aerodynamics, not the critical separation from the Atlas V rocket, not the all-important re-entry heat shield.  No, the problem was with the internal clock. The spacecraft’s internal clock became unsynced with…
Susan Drumm identifies how conflict can achieve greater results when it grows from cognitive diversity and provides a few factors that can help you build a cognitively diverse team.   When you imagine an incredibly effective, successful team meeting, what does it look like? For some people, it looks like this: One person talking while everyone nods. Someone is taking notes while muttering, ‘Yes, I think so too!’ The leader wraps the meeting by asking, ‘So we’re all in agreement?’ And everyone…
Dan Markovitz provides a reality check on the concept of management by walking around (MBWA); how the leaders at organizations embracing lean take a different approach, and why the latter is better than the former. Theodore Kinni argues in Strategy + Business that leaders must practice management by walking around (MBWA), a concept popularized by Tom Peters and Bob Waterman in their seminal book, In Search of Excellence. That’s the best way for them to stay connected to their businesses…