Creating ethical cultures in business: Brooke Deterline at TEDxPresidio

Creating ethical cultures in business: Brooke Deterline at TEDxPresidio

Translator: Ilze Garda
Reviewer: Maricene Crus So I got an e-mail last week
from the conference organizer; it said, “Good news!
You’re going after Van Jones.” (Laughter) I thought, “In whose alternate universe
is it a good thing to follow Van?” (Laughter) And then I remembered
I’m here to talk about courage: our ability to act from our hearts
in the face of fear. And courage as a skill
that we can build with practice, so thank you for this tremendous
opportunity to practice. (Laughter) First, let’s take a look at
what does life look like without courage. (Video) The Enron fraud is the story
of synergistic corruption. There are supposed to be checks
and balances in the system. The lawyers are supposed to say no,
the accountants are supposed to say no, the bankers are supposed to say no, but no one who was supposed
to say no said no. (On stage) So, has anything changed
in the last 10 years? And, please, raise your hands
when you’ve had enough. (Laughter) Yeah, me too. And it doesn’t have to be this way. What if the people in these circumstances
had the courage and the skills to act on their values
in the face of fear? I met a man who did in exactly
one of those types of circumstances. We’ll call him Ted. He found an illegal trading ring
in his department, and he didn’t know what to do,
so he did nothing. As the days passed and the stress built,
he decided he would have to quit. He confided in his friend
in another department, and his friend said to him, “If you went into the system,
could you find the program?” And Ted said, “Yes.” His friend said,
“Then you have no choice.” What Ted says is he was reminded
of who he was, of his values, in that moment, reflected by his friend. So he came forward, and justice prevailed. I had my own subtle experience
with powerful situations. I was working for a company, and I found out the CEO was doing
something unethical and illegal. So I called a meeting with my boss,
the CFO, and his other direct reports in a scenario that looked
shockingly like this Stock photo. (Laughter) I went to deliver the news,
and I knew he would struggle. Although a very ethically driven man,
the CEO is also a good friend of his. So I delivered the news,
and he looked at me and said, “I think we should do some more
research and give it a little time.” I was so dumbstruck by the answer
that everything went into slow motion like it did when I was a kid
playing soccer. I looked around, and everyone
has their head down or is slowly nodding. I was so perplexed! I know these people, they’re good people, and the last thing you want to do
is to put more time between when you know and when you say
in a circumstance like this. So I was confused, but the humbling part of the story for me
is then my thought process goes to, “Maybe we don’t have to do anything. Maybe it isn’t such a big deal. I don’t even have to say anything.” And then I was given a gift: the CFO was called
out of the room for a minute, and in that moment, I remembered,
“This is one of those moments. This man hired me
because he believed in me; he believed I would do my job and act on our shared values
when it was hard.” So he came back into the room,
I stepped back into time, and I said, “We should go to the Board.” He paused, and he looked at me,
and he nodded. And we did. But what I will never forget is that I am and we all are vulnerable to situational influence all the time; it’s just natural human wiring. This is from our founder
Dr. Phil Zimbardo. He found this out in 1971 when he conducted the famous
Stanford Prison Experiment that showed that even the most ethical
and compassionate among us can easily betray our values
in the face of a challenging situation. I won’t make you
raise your hands for this one, but think back over the last six months. How many of you have been in a situation where you thought, “Someone should do
something, or I should say something.” And think of the subtle ones because those are often
the ones that get us, and you and no one else did anything. It’s natural, it’s a natural human tendency
to be a bystander, to follow a leader or a group
that we know is doing something wrong for sense of acceptance
or sense of security. The good news is we get to choose. But first, it’s even harder for us
in business to do the right thing. The research out of Harvard
on ethical fading shows that when we’re focused
on operational objectives and you throw pressure on top –
sounds familiar? – the ethical implications of our acts
will fade from our minds. Pay attention when people say,
“This is business”; find out what they mean
when they say that. So now the good news is we get to choose. Between stimulus and response,
there is a space, and our work is about using that space
to get us to reconnect to our values, to our hearts, to our natural wisdom
to act courageously. The kids in our program
call it the magic pause button. The way we do that is we do something
called Social Fitness Training. It was developed over 25 years
by Dr. Lynne Henderson. The great news about it is that with practice
we can actually retrain our brains to override our natural fear response, to act consistently from our own values
in the face of fear. Start to think the key aspects
of her work to remember, start to recognize your patterns: where do you stand up easily
and where do you not? Once you know your patterns,
practice the situations that scare you. We call them social flight simulations. And just like with pilots, if you practice with some level of fear,
it creates the muscle memory so that when the actual moment arises, you can act in the way
that you’ve practiced. You start to use that shot
of fear or adrenaline as your cue for mindful action
versus avoidance. In neuroscience,
they call it “priming the brain.” So how do we foster these ethically
courageous corporate cultures? Become a pattern interrupter: start to interrupt your own patterns,
create your own pause button, create it for your teams
and organizations. I think we can all agree if we look at the challenges
facing our economic system, our political system,
and the world at large, we’re going to need a bigger pause button. What I also know by our work is that we are all born
with the innate capacity for courage. It’s a choice – one I hope we’ll all make, and it matters. Thank you. (Applause)

27 thoughts on “Creating ethical cultures in business: Brooke Deterline at TEDxPresidio

  1. Great storytelling about the kind of practical courage that is so needed–and not just in business but in all aspects of our lives.

  2. I was blessed to meet Brooke at the recent Social Venture Network conference where she shared a bit about the work of the Heroic Imagination Project. Aftare watching this video, I have a much better understanding of both the significance of HIP AND a much deeper appreciation for what an excellent example Brooke is of acting with courage and integrity. Thank you Brooke!

  3. This woman comes across as sanctimonious. It's a serious topic, but it should be said in a way to rouse the audience to action, such as telling them to get off their butts and participate in democracy. Instead, she turned it into a sleep-inducing mumble.
    Also, I find the men's clothing she's wearing distracting. Why do women think that putting on men's attire makes them more powerful and, therefore, more believable?

  4. Broooke has a good understanding of ethics, but is a terrible presenter. I agree with preasail, her dress for success mentor must have taken this day off.

  5. Very interesting to see the lip service paid to CSR in order to appear good corporate citizens.KIA Motors……………FUJITSU………ANTLER LUGGAGE …. should now form part of any MBA case study. JAN 2016: These 3 global organisations sponsor the ESSENDON football club in Melbourne Australia who have just been penalised by WADA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport, for a highly secretive illegal performance enhancing drug injecting regime which took over 4 years to resolve thanks to the lies told by the ESSENDON fc and using the legal system to muddy the waters designed to clear their name. The players were also proven to be complicit as they willingly signed waivers to allow these injections (amounting to dozens each) and not discuss the program, challenge it or question the process.WILL KIA, FUJITSU and ANTLER have the courage to ACT and withdraw their sponsorships? It has been well publicised across Australia that some or all of these companies have escape clauses in their contracts for such breaches of integrity & BRAND DAMAGE by association. The ESSENDON football club are very powerful and wealthy. The AFL, on confirmation of the drug injecting debacle acted by fining the club $2,000,000, kicking ESSENDON out of the finals, suspending 34 players for a full year and firing the CEO and Coach. Let's see if FUJITSU, KIA and Antler are the good corporate citizens and CSR role models they claim to be!

  6. Great content. I wish she spoke a little louder and her body language transmitted more "courage" though, so people would be motivated to take action. Her tone and movements transmitted more caution and secrecy as if the courageous person were afraid to be sacked if she spoke the truth about what's going on in the organization and she had therefore to whisper.

  7. Profit and Money is the main goal of any Corporation. Anything else is secondary.

    Appearing 'ethical' is treated the same as any other marketing/advertising costs. A company will spend the bare minimum to 'appear' ethical in order to maintain revenue and profit.

    The only way for true change is to create an environment where Ethics & Values are the Key Drivers to Profit. Any other solution is a band-aid.

  8. Excellent video – I will be showing this for my next Introduction to Business class, covering business ethics ~Dr. Jaye

  9. I like how she presented her discussion on ethics. if you have watched enough of the Ted spokesmen and women you would realize not all of them wear suits they wear regular clothes. Some people dress as everyday people because they are everyday people. What she is discussing is important not the way she is dress. I rather feel like I relate to my audience in a down to earth matter. A person in formal clothing doesn't mean their thought or opinion will be clearly heard or taken in more consideration.

  10. Notice there is no reference to the consequences. The whistle-blowers in every instance listed in this talk lost their jobs and more as a result of their actions. Training people to act with courage and integrity is great, but where is the help when that courage impacts you and your children's future?

  11. The problem is that they don’t know that God is watching them. They are far away from God, for that reason they have stone heart. If I see something wrong in my company, I will talk. Because talking and telling the truth will not cut me from this world. God is there, and he will be beside me.

  12. It is fantastic.Lack of ethics we are facing all over the world.We are the victims of so many unethical business.

  13. I was training to work in another area of the company and the standards of the program, the basics were not being taught. I asked family, friends and co-workers what I should do. Should I report the instructor who was not aligning with the mission and standards or report it. I was surprised to find out I was told to keep my head down get trained and be better than the instructor. I went back to class sat for 30 minutes, left and reported it online knowing I would not get the position. The courage I had that day, helped me sleep at night as the training not only affected me but the safety for the people who came in contact with the instructor. I stayed with the company three more years in another role and gracefully left for a better life. You have to be willing for the consequences for yourself and others – that's why it takes courage to do what is ethical. It's easy to look the other way but that degrades your standards and the standards of your company.

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