In today’s dynamic and rapidly evolving business landscape, effective management practices go beyond mere profitability and performance metrics. Organizations are recognizing the significance of aligning their actions and decision-making with a set of core values that define their purpose, culture, and impact on society. Managing by values is an approach that emphasizes the importance of integrating personal and organizational values to guide leadership, shape organizational culture, and drive sustainable success.
What do you think of this introduction? Whether you like it or not, the truth is that I didn’t write it. I was playing with ChatGPT. After three or four questions I asked him to write an essay on the topic in the style of this blog. Those few lines were the beginning.
You may be wondering why I started with a paragraph only to admit right after that it wasn’t mine. How does that relate to managing by values?
You promote what you reward
I teach at several universities and business schools, and there has been a debate lately about the use of these types of tools by students, especially in final theses and exams. The number of students using these tools seems more with each day.
The first consequence is that some people who are not ready to pass a course are not failing. Therefore the general level of knowledge about the topic is probably lower. In other words, some of our students know less and lower the bar of the degrees, not to mention the damage this kind of behavior can do to the academic community.
Considering the ethical side, I can’t help thinking of the ones not cheating and how unfair this is for the people who really make the effort.
Nevertheless, it’s hard to gatekeep in a world without fences, and we have to acknowledge that this technology is here to stay. So, the debate should not be about how to limit its use, but what we want to encourage and reward in our students.
In other words, how we can instill the values necessary to promote ethical behavior without preventing our students from making the most of this technology, or any technology for that matter.
Leading by example
There is a natural tendency in both business and academia to defend the status quo, to promote practices that may have made sense in the past but may be outdated in the present. Being open to new possibilities without losing the essence of what we do requires a purposeful strategic vision.
But, how often do we encourage behaviors among students or employees that lead to a “means justifies the end” culture? How often do managers and professors forget about values to get things done? What happens when ethics get in the way? Therefore, we need to lead by example.
The only way to promote the right culture is managing by values, encouraging the appropriate behaviors and rewarding not just results, but the way things are done. There will always be some people who cheat or lie, but in the right culture the people who respect the rules and work for the good of the community will outnumber them.