Once the strategy has been defined (Dimension 3.1), communicated (Dimension 3.2), and implemented (Dimension 4.1), the final critical step is the ongoing monitoring of the strategy to evaluate progress towards meeting stated goals and objectives (Dimension 1.2).

The monitoring function should extend across all policy and procedural issues. Monitoring includes an analysis of not only what happened, but also why.

When there is evidence that stated goals and objectives may not be accomplished, try to determine the source of the risk:

  1. Delegation: Did certain decision-makers fail to execute key portions of the strategy because they didn’t know what they were supposed to do? (Dimension 1.1)?
  2. Ownership: Are key decision-makers not pursuing the strategy because they don’t have “skin in the game,” or don’t feel a sense of ownership and pride in outcomes (Dimension 1.1)?
  3. Risk: Did you underestimate the risks involved in your strategy (Dimension 2.1)?
  4. Confusion: Has there been a breakdown in communications? Are key decision-makers confused about what to do next (Dimension 3.2)
  5. Status Quo: Are you beginning to justify and accept subpar performance from service providers (Dimension 4.1)?
  6. Budget: Are you off budget (Dimension 4.2)?
  7. Blind: Are you losing sight of your sense of purpose? Your sense of purpose is a lighthouse – it needs to provide you a bearing and reassurance when you’re being tossed in a storm.

The United Military Academy at West Point is known for its Cadet Honor Code:

A Cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.

There are three rules of thumb used to test the Code:

  • Does this action attempt to deceive anyone or allow anyone to be deceived?
  • Does this action gain or allow the gain of a privilege or advantage to which I or someone else would not otherwise be entitled?
  • Would I be satisfied by the outcome if I were on the receiving end of this action?

Trust, once broken, takes years, if ever, to repair. And, we’re not talking about a new paint job or replacing the window treatments. We’re talking about digging into the very foundation or core of your business and making meaningful, structural changes; we’re talking about changing the DNA and genetic makeup of your firm.

Code of Ethics versus Code of Conduct:

Simply stated, a code of ethics is based on principles; a code of conduct is based on rules.

A code of conduct is designed to anticipate and prevent certain specific types of inappropriate behavior, such as a conflict of interest or self-dealing.

In contrast, the purpose of a code of ethics is to provide a framework for guiding decision-making when values are in conflict and to define the acceptable level of behavior in response to the conflict. More recently, the trend is to prepare a code of ethics in terms of principles which are derived from values that represent the desired or aspirational behavior.

An additional function and purpose for of a code of ethics is to define a model of professionalism, and to communicate to the public what it can expect when doing business with a particular organization or professional. When properly prepared, it should communicate a vision of excellence of what the organization or professional is striving towards.

A code of ethics is only meaningful if it becomes part of an organization’s or professional’s DNA, and it can only survive in a culture that nurtures daily the defined principles. A code of ethics will never leave an imprint if the only time a professional visits the code is every two years in order to meet continuing education requirements.

To become effective, a code of ethics must become part of a continuum, with leadership behaviors at one end, and decision-making (practice standards) at the other. Such a continuum is what we refer to as an ethos. (Ethos is an ancient Greek word meaning “character” and is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation, or ideology.)