Comprehending and Strengthening Your Staff's Conscience and Productivity
This article is adapted from the Chapter on Mutual Accountability Skills in my Intentional Personal Integrity Book. It has information and strategies that will help company owners and business leaders empower their staff members to most consistently think, say and do the right things to more quickly and easily achieve their company’s vital goals.
I’ll be helping you gain a perspective on the seven dangerous dimensions of the demise of a staff member’s conscience. Recognizing these dimensions and intentionally taking action to reverse the demise and nurture back to health the conscience of any given staff member will be a blessing to them, you and your team members.
As a proactive leader, you can be the catalyst for helping your staff members reverse the demise of their conscience. You can help them engage in a team mutual performance accountability process that will help them gain and maintain a strong, healthy conscience.
During the last several decades I have interviewed young people and adults from all walks of life, vocations and professions to get a handle on why some more consistently think, say and do the right things and get the right results and others more consistently think, say and do the wrong things that lead to wrong results.
From these interviews, I’ve become convinced that the relative health of a person’s conscience plays a critical role in determining what they think, say and do.
If you are a leader who is sincerely focused on Intentional Business Integrity as a truly profitable operating paradigm, you are encouraged to check everyone’s intentions regarding personal integrity and initiate a mutual accountability process that helps to nurture the maintenance of a clear, healthy conscience in yourself and your staff members.
As a result of my many interviews, I’ve identified some dangerous dimensions, and a sequence of the demise of a person’s conscience. Recognizing and intentionally taking action to reverse the demise and nurture your own and others’ consciences back to health is part of my Intentional Business Integrity Organization Development Process.
You can help reverse the demise of a staff member’s conscience by establishing clear, worthwhile, governing operating values. Then, by the establishment of a Personal Accountability and Commitment Team (PACT) process at work.
Participating in a PACT requires a personal decision to be a person of intentional integrity by seeking in every way to think, say and do the right thing. The Mutual Accountability Skills chapter in my book, Intentional Personal Integrity, covers this process in detail. You can e-mail me to request a free copy of this PACT process.
Now let’s take a “snapshot” look at the various dimensions of conscience as we journey through the demise of a person’s conscience.
THE HEALTHY, DISCERNING CONSCIENCE - At some point in time, people who have maintained the discerning conscience of their birth right have decided to be good people who think, say and do the right things. They are obedient to the timeless, proven principles and governing operating values that support worthwhile living, work and relationships.
The personal, worthwhile governing operating values to live by have been inculcated and reinforced by loving parents, siblings, relatives, close friends, teachers, bosses and colleagues at work. Fortified with these governing operating values, people with strong, discerning consciences are more easily directed by these governing values because when they fail to meet the standard they feel guilt. They have knowledge of right and wrong and are intentional, assertive and willful in resisting the influence of the “Virus of Dishonesty.”
THE DISTRACTED CONSCIENCE is the first dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience . . . the beginning of the end of a high integrity, quality life and career. The points of distraction that move a person away from his strong clear conscience are the most subtle but critical turning points that lead to the atrophying of the conscience.
Young children are very vulnerable to tapping into their most dishonorable conscious and unconscious desires. Encumbered with the absence of parents who hold and live out worthwhile governing operating values and standards for conduct, wrong standards for conduct are modeled and taught in the home. Add to this their parents’ no-brained, latch key style of supervision and the TV programs that mentally and emotionally bombard the young with counter productive values and you have children waiting to be disasters as adults. This dimension brings a person to about a 1/8th demise in their conscience.
THE DELUDED CONSCIENCE is the second dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. Occurring as “rational thinking”, it is taught, encouraged and acclaimed in too many of America’s school, university, and business settings. This is because “rational thinking” is too often taught and reinforced at the expense of moral, conscience-driven thinking. With only “half-a-deck,” the morally uninstructed young remain uninformed and unaware of the dangers of single-sided thinking. They are in the dark morally, baffled and confused at best - deceived at worst! The cumulative effect of this dimension causes a person to experience a 1/4th demise in conscience.
THE DEGRADED CONSCIENCE is the third dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. It is in this dimension that the “virus of dishonesty” applies full throttle. The process of rationalization has enabled the person to think, say and do immoral, wrong things with very few and minor “feelings of guilt.”
The person appears debased to those who have retained their healthy, discerning consciences. If they were to exhibit the same talk and actions, they would feel disgraced and humiliated. As degradation continues, the person becomes depraved and wicked and readies himself to move to the next dimension of demise. The cumulative effect of this dimension causes a person to experience about a 3/8ths demise in conscience.
THE DEGENERATED CONSCIENCE is the fourth dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. With the full development of self-will and an attitude of “I am my own god,” the moral convictions and actions the person in this dimension has possessed in the past have all but disappeared. His integrity and effectiveness as a functional, loving human being has disappeared. Worthwhile governing operating values have been dissipated or are extinct. He is fast on his way to becoming a permanent casualty of the “virus of dishonesty”. The cumulative effect of this dimension causes a person to experience about a 50% demise in conscience.
THE DEFILED CONSCIENCE is the fifth dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. The person’s heart and mind are more completely contaminated. Many of the people and events he touches become tainted and impure. Whatever is left of the healthy, discerning conscience that was his original birthright has been seriously diluted. He is on the way to becoming an adulterated monster... corrupted through and through. The cumulative effect of this dimension causes a person to experience about a 5/8ths demise in conscience.
THE DEPRAVED CONSCIENCE is the sixth dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. The person is skillfully corrupt and willfully gains personal advantage through illegal and immoral actions. His degenerate and mean behavior impacts the lives of others with suffering and misery. The cumulative effect of this dimension causes a person to experience about a 3/4ths demise in conscience.
THE DEMENTED CONSCIENCE is the seventh dangerous dimension of the demise of a healthy, discerning conscience. The person living at this dimension is plainly crazy ... insane! His unbalanced, lunatic, fanatic behavior puts fear into the hearts of all around him. The person is a crackpot who is unpredictable and can’t even be trusted by his cohorts. Because he is deranged, he is capable of horrible acts of violence, believing he is justified, even “righteous,” in carrying them out. His only hope is that the “vapors” remaining from his original discerning conscience will connect him with people who can lead them toward a “turn around” miracle.
Lead the way! Engage yourself and others in the Personal Accountability and Commitment Team (PACT) Process. One of the most conscience-building mutual processes a person of intentional integrity can put in place is a mutual accountability group. My accountability partners and I have regularly challenged one another to ponder and individually declare whether our agreements regarding what we think, say and do are still a covenant based on commitment or whether it has become one of convenience. The gaining and maintaining of a healthy conscience is the natural outcome of the process.
You can help yourself and others deter wrong thinking, talk and actions at home and work. There are six major steps you can take to put a conscience-building, integrity- enhancing process in place at work. They are:
1. Establish and communicate a clear statement of your company’s vision, governing operating values, mission, and goals.
2. Determine the degree to which personal and group behavior is aligned with your stated vision, governing operating values, mission, and goals.
3. Identify the “toxins” in your company’s culture that weaken the integrity of the key functions and the people carrying out these functions.
4. Establish a clear integrity check program and performance goals to begin aligning personal and group behavior and outcomes with your intents.
5. Implement monitoring, feedback, and peer coaching strategies that involve all stakeholders in helping one another align performance with intents.
6. Establish a company-wide performance accountability process that rewards the expression of good conscience and ethical behavior and performance and corrects poor ethical behavior and poor performance from the top of the organization down.
As a leader who supports an Intentional Business Integrity operating paradigm and is committed to participating in and fostering mutual accountability, you will make a contribution toward turning around the present conscience and ethics crisis. With a solid mutual accountability process in place, you will be more empowered as you surround yourself with people who are intent on maintaining strong, healthy consciences, being of good character and expressing good conduct.
An attitude of service and increased physical, emotional, time, and financial reserves through collaborative achievement is a direct result of people having health, strong consciences leading to expressions of high character, competence, and commitment. They work excellently together and achieve top results.
If you need help in mastering and implementing any of the skills and tactics mentioned, I'm here for you! Please visit the Call-A-Coach section of my web site for more information.