by Joe Kale
Business leaders across an array of industries are increasingly being judged on their values, their mission,
and their moral reputation. In other words,
companies are being measured by their
“ethical brands.” And while
most decision makers recognize
the importance of ethics and
compliance (E&C) programs,
they also frequently view them as
standalone ventures or as separate
organizations within larger ones.
Forward-thinking leaders, on the
other hand, recognize the crucial
role these programs play in creating a vibrant
By weaving E&C initiatives into the
fabric of their leadership, instead of simply
tacking them on, successful decision makers
give their ethical brands — and their brands
overall — the attention they require and
deserve. Instead of using an E&C program as
a useful appendage that keeps an organization
from getting into trouble, they use it to codify
their mission, values, and culture. A fully
integrated E&C program doesn’t just lay out
what employees aren’t allowed to do; it helps
foster the specific ethical behaviors leaders
want to see in their employees.
The positive effects of creating a resonant
ethical brand usually permeate all levels and
parts of a company. Here are just some of the
benefits we’ve identified in our work.
Competition is high, and strong values help
leaders stand out
For most companies today, new—and often
unexpected—sources of competition seem
to be waiting around every corner. With
this kind of disruption high, burnishing
a company’s ethical brand and reputation
What is your company’s
» Forward‑thinking leaders recognize the crucial role of ethics and compliance programs in creating a vibrant
» Ethical brand reputation can be a potent strategy for winning a competitive edge.
» An organization’s moral vision and ethical brand can tip the scales toward retaining and recruiting top workers.
» Ethics and compliance leaders must go beyond simply being the gatekeepers of rules and regulations to align
employee behavior around specific core values and principles.
» Checklists of rules and multiple layers of policy are ineffective without behaviors to back them up.
The positive effects of
creating a resonant ethical
brand usually permeate all
levels and parts of a company.
Joe Kale ( firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Executive Director, Ethics & Compliance
at Creative Associates International in Washington DC.