Rob Chesnut is a former federal prosecutor, an author, General Counsel of Airbnb, and one of the most influential voices in business ethics in the USA. His recent book, Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead An Ethical Revolution, is a manual for cultivating integrous cultures in six steps. He joins Marcel Schwantes to discuss the importance of integrity in business, and how a lack of it leads to one’s own detriment.
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- Rob’s purpose is to help companies be a force of good in the world. He believes that companies can play a part in solving many of the world’s existing issues. [4:19]
- Leaders are the thermostats for integrity within their companies: by their words and actions, leaders create the environment in which everyone operates. [7:12]
- Data shows that organizations that are perceived to act with integrity are outperforming their competitors. Consumers favor business with companies whose values align with theirs, Rob points out. [11:22]
- Marcel asks Rob how leaders can demonstrate integrity when laying people off. Rob responds that leaders must be the first ones to make the sacrifice of a salary deduction. Also, they should exemplify humility, servanthood and compassion in helping former employees transition. [17:21]
- Intentional integrity involves talking openly about uncomfortable subjects, being clear about what expectations are and removing ambiguity. Rob explains why every company should live by a code of ethics: it reflects your company’s values. He and Marcel discuss the six Cs of intentional integrity. [23:44]
- “If you make a mistake as a company,” Rob says, “you can’t bury it, ignore it, or pretend it didn’t happen. You need to have the self-awareness to acknowledge that you made a mistake and talk openly about where you failed. Once you’ve done that you can set a new path forward to how you’re going to get back on track, but it needs to be done in a clean way. You can’t just change your behavior suddenly and hope people notice; you need to have that conversation.” [36:00]
- Rob offers advice to leaders who want to start having the difficult conversations. “Recognize that integrity is not an optional subject anymore. You’ve got to get over your discomfort as a leader and recognize that silence and ambiguity are the enemies of integrity. This is part of the leadership that your employees and the world need from you.” [41:18]
- Rob Chesnut on LinkedIn | Twitter
- Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead An Ethical Revolution
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