An ethical culture needs demonstration

Q. Now that I’m in a position of influence, I’m really trying to promote a more ethical workplace. What are the best ways to make my point about the way we intend to operate?

A. Every time you kill or even simply disagree with an idea that you believe crosses the line, let everyone—everyone—know the reason why. It’s not enough to shake your head and say “No, I don’t feel very comfortable with that” or “Sounds just a little skeezy.” Make every transgression against your policy into a lesson for the entire staff. Don’t make it about pointing fingers; phrase it aspirationally instead: “Your idea is solid, but the reason we’re going in another direction is because we’re also making a choice about what kind of company we want to be.”