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Reduce conduct risk with culture change

‘Conduct risk’ or costly bad behaviour should be a concern for everyone. 

It’s terrible to have colleagues whose poor choices in the way they behave affects your career. It’s even worse when their behaviour is conveniently overlooked. 

In the last few months, this ‘brushing under the carpet’ and asking people to ‘move on’ seems very timely.  

Conduct risk creates no-confidence votes

Boris Johnson was clearly ‘lucky’ his poor choices were overlooked by enough peers with yesterday’s confidence vote. His over-confidence was again on display within hours as he described the narrower-than expected majority as signs of a ‘decisive, conclusive’ win.   However, whatever luck he feels today, even recognising that 40% of his Conservative colleagues want him out, can’t be shared by those of us who have to put up with other’s conduct risk every day. 

Separately, but staying with poor choices and overlooked conduct risk, I am not alone in dreading the implications of Depp’s defamation suit on the long-overdue #MeToo movement and for women more widely. 

It’s time to recognise the implications of bad behaviour and stop it before it gets out of hand, whether you’re a celebrity, politician or perhaps just a ‘normal’ colleague.  

Herein the UK, within just the last few months, look to Parliament’s recent protection of an unnamed MP charged with rape. Or the very slow 3 day response of the Conservative party to Neil Parish’s viewing of pornography in the Commons.

Even more recently, let’s reflect on the way MI5 has protected the identity of a spy, which means he’s free to continue to abuse and threaten women, as his anonymity appears to be valued above public safety – particularly to women. 

‘Mistakes’ or just bad behaviour?

Mistakes are made at work, but bad behaviour – i.e. ‘conduct risk’ feels like something that could have been avoided.  Before this happens, this is time for the ‘carrot or the stick’ approach, as I talked about in the video ‘How to get men on board for gender balance’ below. 

Let’s take gender balance in leadership roles as an example. Carrots are the way organisations have been talking with their teams about how much more profitable these companies are. 

However, no real fines have yet been doled out for not improving rates of gender equity. At the moment the ‘sticks’ are the reputational damage, often internally, but sometimes publicly, that comes from ignoring these issues. 

This complacency then bleeds into lower rates of morale and ultimately retention by those affected. So before you watch an employee make inappropriate comments or worse, think of this as a ‘conduct risk’ challenge. 

This is something I talk about in ‘What’s your ripple effect?’. This interactive event focuses on reducing bias in the workplace and the legacy you want to leave behind.  

Reduce conduct risk with the ‘carrot and stick’:

The Carrot: Focus on who’d they like to be as a leader.

What’s the legacy they’d like to leave behind?

What behaviours would they be proud of for their kids to see?

How would their team improve if everyone felt they could contribute?

This is about tapping into who’d they’d like to become.

The Stick: Remind them the smartest people see which way the wind is blowing in modern organisations.

Historically, no one thought of compliance issues as being particularly important.

Now paying attention to compliance helps people make better… and safer decisions.

Today’s inclusion is yesterday’s compliance 🙂

Start early or behaviour grows

Reducing conduct risk is something that we can all get our heads around, and doesn’t only happen at the most senior levels.

Bad behaviour starts early in a career…and grows from complacency and an acceptance that ‘Everyone knows Mark’s like that!’

But the truth is when it comes to reducing conduct risk,  anyone, even at the most junior levels can make a difference in your teams.

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