Volume 04, Issue 5
|New and Notable|
|Helping make a difference
Workshop series helps managers provide ethics-related solutions
BY STEPHANIE MUDGETT
If you are a Boeing manager, understanding how your team feels about ethical behavior is important. Offering solutions to ethical situations and making the workplace a better place is vital.
Managers can get tools and resources to support their teams in Boeing's "Determine to make a Difference!!" Ethics Workshop. The workshop was initiated in 2000 as a result of survey data collected by the Ethics Resource Center, an independent outside agency. Results showed that Boeing employees responding to the survey felt more pressure to commit ethical violations than the industry average. So the company took action with the "Determine to make a Difference!!" workshop project, formerly known as the Shop Floor Initiative.
In the first half of the project, employees in an organization or program are surveyed about their opinions on ethical behavior and issues at the company. The data is summarized and provided to the employees' management team in a workshop, typically held within several weeks.
Bob Bell, Office of Internal Governance ethics advisor and "Determine to make a Difference!!" project manager, said meeting face-to-face with employees is key when conducting the initial survey.
"We found when you go to employees and explain the process, they feel their opinion is valuable," Bell said, "and they are open and honest in providing their responses and perspectives."
In the second half of the project, managers attend a half-day session to discuss ethics, values and the overall Boeing culture. This allows participants to examine the critical role of ethics in today's business climate and in their work group, accompanied by actual feedback data from survey results. The workshop provides the opportunity to discuss and address the ethical pressures employees face, managers' potential role in creating these pressures, and ways managers can work with employees to deal with these pressures.
After a discussion on the importance of having an ethical culture, each manager reviews his or her group's survey results and outlines a six-month action plan to address concerns identified in the survey. After six months, employees are surveyed again.
"The improvement in the pre- and post-workshop survey scores has been amazing," Bell said. "These results come as a direct link to the managers' commitment and follow-through on the strategies outlined in their action plan."
More than 1,000 managers from programs across the company have attended one of the 68 workshops offered since 2003.
"This workshop used creative methods and resources to get the message across that everyone can make a difference in how we address ethics in all aspects of our daily lives," said Boeing Commercial Airplanes Quality Manager Alan Daniels. He attended a workshop in Everett, Wash., in 2004.
Kim Westenkow, a Boeing Integrated Defense Systems senior manager, attended an April 2005 workshop in Mesa, Ariz. She found so much value in the reference books recommended by Bell that she bought one for each of her 40 managers and support team leaders.
For more information on the "Determine to make a Difference!!" Ethics Workshop Series, please contact Bob Bell at (425) 342-2806 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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