Testing your company’s ethics-sensitivity

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —November 2, 2006
Filed in Anecdotes

I was chatting to a HR Manager from a financial services firm this week and he told me this story about a workshop a management ethicist ran for their leaders. Over a week the ethicist collected stories from staff about how work gets done. Her aim was to create a convincing scenario that would be used in the workshop. During the workshop she read out the scenario and asked the participants to raise their hand when their gut instincts suggested there was something not quite right going on.

I would imagine everyone would be keeping an eye on one another to see who would break first. Public recognition of something going wrong is an important aspect of the exercise because that’s what it takes for someone to metaphorically raise their hand when they think there is a problem. Peer pressure is involved.

The discussion that followed was rich and intense. Exactly the sort of thing people need in any organisation. Builds intuition, or as blokes like to call it, gut instinct.

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. dave Snowden says:

    Great story Shawn
    We are planning to launch a narrative based approach to ethical auditing early in the new year using Sensemaker (working with three universities). Looks like you might have an opportunity here!

  2. Thought I’d sent you this comment already ?
    Liked this, an important management issue here. Blogged a link to this.
    The narrative approach to “sense-making” … hmmm … a recurring theme on the up I think.

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