What is the
"real" purpose of this Web Site?
Having seen human
beings at both their finest and ugliest, we believe that
lack of appreciating the systemic nature of life and living
contributes to many an ethical or policy shortcoming. We
are not na´ve enough to believe that there is no evil in
the world, or that greed or fear do not often override judgment.
But with these in mind, the site is intended to serve three
- First, it
offers a framework toward understanding and dialogue to
help leaders and their organizations shape a better world.
- Second, it
offers the world the opportunity to dialogue on issues
- Third, for
those who have found our approach to be of value, it affords
us the opportunity to offer our services to help leaders
shape their organizations.
Why do you
refer to Organizational Excellence, but concentrate on Organizational
Ethics and Integrity?
Part of the success
of democracies and free markets is that, as institutions,
they bring together diverse sets of skills, knowledge, understanding,
and attitudes to create more complex wholes to serve the
community better than any single part could do individually.
Our contribution to the world as a community is to develop
a model and approach to organizational life that will help
leaders understand, plan, and execute their roles more effectively,
efficiently, and ethically.
Integrity is a fundamental concept that is best achieved
through designing and developing the organization itself
as a Learning Organization. Of this we are quite confident.
Organizational Ethics is the specific contribution we make
toward helping leaders design, implement, and develop the
ethics/ compliance aspects of the Learning Organization.
What will constitute Organizational Excellence, however,
is much more particular to any given organization. At the
lowest level, it is being better than the competition. At
a somewhat higher level, it is being better than one has
been before. But, at the highest level we can conceive presently,
excellence is serving a broader community well, which necessarily
requires developing and maintaining the harmony, intensity,
and vividness appropriate to all occasions. Hence, we do
not presume to be able to define excellence for an organization.
We are confident, however, that an organization that does
not have Organizational Integrity, that is, that is out
of sync with its involved and affected stakeholders and
its environment, cannot be excellent over time, if at all.
So, Ethical Edge
concentrates on what we have to offer by working with other
leaders who apply our insights with their own experiences
to a particular organizational culture and current condition,
and within a particular systemic context to achieve the
Organizational Excellence of which Organizational Integrity
is an integral part and Organizational Ethics is
an essential tool.
& policy services do you offer?
services are offered through Strategies
for Responsible Business. Our principal service is helping
organizations integrate their principles throughout the
organization. Many organizations, especially in the health
care fields, are struggling to meet compliance program "guidelines."
But the best research available in this maturing field demonstrates
that formal program characteristics are less important to
the success of a program than (1) management's motivation
and justification of the program; (2) management's follow-through
on the program; (3) the culture of the organization
itself; and (4) its ethical and legal environment.
an integrated approach with attention to ethical leadership,
program requirements, organizational culture, and the organization's
environment. This is much more comprehensive than merely
meeting some governmental agency's requirements for a compliance
is generally a change process with all the challenges that
can be provided in a number of interrelated ways:
- Ethics &
- Ethics &
consulting, emphasizing ethics and change management
- Training &
development, especially critical thinking and ethical
- Special project
team member for merging corporate cultures, strategic
planning, or ethics/compliance program implementation
I want an ethics & policy coach?
requires the ability to objectively see the big picture-and
be able to explain it to others. Often this objectivity
and vision is lost in dealing with the pressures of the
day. There is never enough time to read all the books. And
when time is taken, there is seldom someone around to discuss
what one has learned from the reading. An ethics & policy
coach provides someone engaged but objective enough to help
senior managers and other professionals see this big picture-and
be able to communicate it to others.
The ethics &
policy coach is a trusted advisor who helps senior managers
work through issues that engage both the depth and breadth
of an organization. Senior managers, including general counsel,
may feel the need to implement an ethics/compliance program
or may have started such a program, but wonder how to integrate
its vision and values more completely. There may be ethics
issues or even crises where it is valuable to have someone
facilitate a more objective or comprehensive look at the
As a senior manager,
you know your organization. We believe that a trusted advisor
fully conversant in the fundamentals of ethics and policy
study can enhance the objectivity and vision of senior management.
How does ethics
& policy coaching work?
policy coaching is a structured approach to developing your
own comprehensive approach to ethics issues. It may involve
face-to-face meetings, but can generally be accomplished
through regular telephone calls, frequent e-mail communications,
and guided readings.
your needs, developing your best approach and framework
roughly follows the order of the seven questions about organizational
- Develop an
understanding of the concepts and values of ethics.
- Explore the
developing relationship between law and ethics, and its
- Build a paradigm
of organizational integrity.
- Develop the
role of ethical leadership.
the significance of national and organizational cultures.
- Consider in
detail ethics/compliance program implementation.
- Develop a
program to assess organization integrity.
process, selected readings are recommended with reader's
guides to assist in understanding. Part of each weekly telephone
call is used to develop the significance of the readings
and to raise any questions the readings the client might
have. Multiple intelligences are employed. Key concepts
are developed graphically to aid understanding and communication
The balance of
each session is devoted to issues you wish to raise. Between
sessions, you may submit questions regarding the approach,
framework, or issues of interest via e-mail as often as
you wish. If appropriate, face-to-face meetings or presentations
by the coach at any point along the way may be arranged.
What if we
decide that more than coaching is required?
We offer more
services than coaching, though coaching is usually the best
way to establish a relationship and determine what more
is needed. These services include:
- Ethics and
policy program review
program implementation and assessment
on ethics and policy issues
in special projects, especially strategy formulation
Whether you have
an ethics/compliance program or are considering one, an
outside review can be helpful. If you choose to implement
a program, we can assist you in developing your approach,
assembling your team, or evaluating proposals from outside
consultants. We care passionately about the significance
of ethics and policy for achieving success, learning, and
growth in an organization. Presentations may be designed
to "make the case" for an ethics/compliance program, raise
ethical awareness, or address current ethical issues. Where
fundamental visions and values are in conflict, ethics &
policy mediation may be appropriate. Finally, we are available
to serve as a member of a special project team to integrate
the organization's vision and values throughout the organization.
This includes board retreats, departmental conferences,
strategy development sessions, and program review.
Marine Corps service, is this a hierarchical, command-driven
The principal challenge to organizations of all stripes
is to develop an organizational culture that fits its vision
and values. If one compares the elements of the visionary,
high-performance business organization with the values and
practices of the U.S. Marine Corps, the similarities are
striking. The Marine Corps is an organization that joins
over 20% of its people every year, but operates in an environment
that puts the highest possible premium on leadership and
understanding organizational purpose, values, and vision
at all levels to achieve an organizational vision. In a
combat environment, everyone must share the same purpose,
quickly and clearly communicate, and be prepare to lead
immediately when called. The entire approach to Marine Corps
training, education, and development is designed to accomplish
requires no less to meet the challenges in its environment.
Through highly integrated recruiting, training, education,
development and operations, the Marine Corps develops and
maintains a culture that endures. Some of its techniques
are not appropriate or practical in most environments, and
we take that into account, but there are many valuable lessons
to be learned in how it builds its leadership and shapes
Are you providing
legal services as an attorney?
Johnson is an attorney licensed in California and Arizona
(inactive), organizational ethics is more comprehensive
than complying with the law itself. It is this integrating
of ethics and law that intrigues us. Legal issues, of course,
are never far removed from ethical issues. Since, they must
be addressed at virtually every turn, we work closely with
counsel to the organization, and do not provide independent
I look for in a coach?
A coach works
with a client to allow him or her to learn and grow at a
comfortable pace. An ethics & policy coach must be conversant
with the issues facing organizations in general and skillful
at helping the client analyze, synthesize, and evaluate
the matters of importance to him or her: must be able to
bring multiple perspectives and multiple considerations
to bear. But beyond this, the relationship between the coach
and client must be characterized by flexibility, ease of
communication, complete confidentiality, and shared purpose.
You should have
an understanding of the vision and values of the coach.
Our approach and framework are laid out in some detail in
this site. If the approach and framework developed here
are intriguing, then we are well on our way.
am "intrigued," how do we get started?
It is usually
best to begin with a series of meetings to get to know one
another. Face-to-face meetings can be arranged at a reasonable
cost to you if outside of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan
area. One or two telephone meetings, at no cost to the client,
are usually enough to develop a relationship that can grow.
meetings, we get to know each other's personalities, backgrounds,
needs, and desires. We use appreciative inquiry to begin
to determine the client's needs and desires. We develop
specific phases, milestones, and objectives for the initial
meetings, we prepare a proposal detailing our recommended
program, a set of deliverables to meet your needs, and a
Do you guarantee
In a word, "yes."
You must always be fully satisfied or fees will be refunded
in full. Our services, especially coaching, are highly personal.
If at anytime you are dissatisfied with our services, any
fees paid for those services will be promptly refunded.
We ask only that you explain why you are dissatisfied so
that we can learn and grow from the experience, too.