Guide to services and programs
The Practice St James Ethics Centre works across all sectors of society to encourage ethical reflection and dialogue, and to provide practical support to those experiencing distress due to ethical challenges, failure or conflict. Through our ethics services, The Practice builds the capacity of individuals, leaders and organisations to make better decisions aligned with their own considered values and principles, allowing them to more effectively and sustainably pursue their objectives.
How can organisations meet the challenge of effectively managing risk and building sustainable performance in an increasingly regulated, complex and uncertain world? How can they create a coherent strategy for managing risk that doesn’t stifle innovation and takes account of internal and external regulation and policy, performance incentives, compliance, audit, risk controls and ingrained organisational attitudes and habits? The Practice helps organisations build ethical cultures where these elements reinforce rather than compete against each other to form a strong, guiding framework for their people. We provide independent, practical assistance to help organisations align their culture and practices with their stated purpose, values and principles. When these two elements are aligned, a robust ethical culture can thrive, giving employees the guidance, authority and responsibility to pursue their organisation’s objectives in accordance with those values and principles. Without it, a kind of organisational hypocrisy can result which could be used by individuals to license their own transgressions or encourage non-thinking adherence to established patterns of behaviour, a common source of ethical and business failure. Our focus is on enabling practical, real world ethical decision making and responsible behaviour both within organisations and more broadly in society as a whole. We believe a strong culture of responsible decision making improves organisational performance, including risk management. We also believe that overreliance on rules-based compliance can erode the capacity to make good decisions. The Ethics Centre provides a neutral and confidential setting in which ethical questions can be raised, ethical problems explored and ethical dilemmas resolved.
OUR CLIENTS Our consulting and counselling services, leadership programs and learning activities are used by organisations across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors as well as by individuals. We’ve worked with corporate clients in the financial, energy, mining, retail and transport sectors in Australia and overseas. In the public sector we’ve collaborated at local, state and national levels with departments and authorities in areas as varied as health, policing, research, defence, education and energy. We also regularly support universities and professional associations, including legal, accounting, engineering, medicine, financial planning and marketing organisations. ‘St James Ethics Centre doesn`t purport to answer the question for you, which perhaps many other consultants might. What it does is help you come to the understanding that you are seeking.’ ASX Top 20 company Managing Director ‘An excellent address that was perfectly pitched to the cultural challenges we face.’ Law firm Managing Partner ‘I cannot begin to tell you how much of a profound impact it had on me. My genuine expression of thanks, however, will be in my personal conduct from this point forward.’ Commercial retail sector Portfolio Analyst ‘The value really was to have an informed discussion about ethics, to consider ethical decision making and how it applies to our work, and to take time out from our busy work day to reflect and consider. I would be keen to see ethics training offered more broadly in the WA public sector.’ Government Representative
Consulting WISE WORDS
The Ethics Centre provides ethical counsel for leaders who seek an independent and trusted voice when responding to ethical issues and challenges. Examples
• Complex ethical issues • Crisis response for serious incidents • Challenging entrenched cultures that support inappropriate behaviour INDELIBLE SKYWRITING
Ethics frameworks, structures and systems
With its Indelible Skywriting program, the Ethics Centre assists clients in developing, reviewing and implementing ethics frameworks that articulate their organisation’s guiding purpose, values and principles. This includes the critical work of developing and implementing strategies to ensure that ethics frameworks and related codes and policies have a practical impact on day to day practice within the organisation. Examples
• Ethics frameworks • Framework communication and training values and principles in organisational practice (building cultures • Embedding of individual and team level authority and responsibility for aligned behaviour) governance systems (ethics committees, decision support lines, • Ethics avenues for raising concerns, monitoring and reporting) WHO AM WE?
Organisational character and culture analysis
In Who Am We, the Ethics Centre investigates the alignment of stated values and principles with actual organisational practice. Our methodology incorporates focus groups, surveys and interviews with internal and external stakeholders. Decision making strengths and weaknesses are diagnosed including an assessment of internal and external influences and pressures on decision making. Examples
• Challenges to good decision making and practice • People development, incentives and remuneration • Unthinking custom and practice • Responding to breaches and misconduct • Internal and external communications STEPPING STONES Facilitation
In the Stepping Stones service, we offer independent facilitation of the discussion and resolution of ethical issues. Examples
• Balancing stakeholder interests • Organisational governance disputes • Competing individual, organisational and professional values
CASE STUDIES Implementing an ethical framework
The senior leadership team in one organisation was committed to creating a high performing culture guided by shared values and principles. We designed and implemented a communication, induction and training program for new codes of ethics and conduct, including interactive video, online and face to face components, rolled out by the CEO to all staff. Cultural change
A company dealing with ongoing adverse media publicity was worried that employees were not advising management of their concerns about misconduct and inappropriate business practice. Using interviews and surveys, we investigated the patterns of the company’s cultural support for employees with these concerns. This provided the basis for the design of an ethical culture change process to modify attitudes to breach and misconduct reporting. Diagnosing sources of dysfunction
In one company, internal friction was inhibiting collaboration and productivity. The Ethics Centre used interviews, focus groups and an online survey to evaluate the organisational culture. The process identified communication barriers and structural divisions that were impeding the embedding of organisational values and principles at team and divisional levels. Confidentiality: These are project outlines only.
We respect the strict confidentiality of all client engagements.
Leadership Our leadership programs build the capacity of experienced and emerging leaders to consciously shape the direction of their organisations. Participants investigate challenges to ethical leadership as well as opportunities to overcome barriers to change within the organisations they lead. Customised for the objectives and needs of our clients, our programs stimulate the deep reflection and exploration needed to transform individual leadership capacity.
CASE STUDIES We developed a program for twenty emerging regional leaders which built understanding of different political, cultural, social and religious perspectives. It explored regional and global issues with senior political, business and academic figures from Australia and Southeast Asia. The Ethics Centre led a roundtable with Directors to assist in oversight of risk management and culture across a diverse and complex organisation operating under conditions of great uncertainty.
PEBBLE IN THE POND Ethical leadership
Our Pebble in the Pond leadership programs explore the nature of transformative leadership in an experiential and interactive format. They examine the role of leadership in building a shared organisational intent and culture in guiding good decision making. The programs promote new perspectives on leadership and other challenges faced in client organisations, facilitating the development and leveraging of existing insight and experience. Our programs range from one, two and three day courses through to extended programs spread over a period of months, tailored to the needs of the organisation.
• Leadership and management (differences and relationship) • Modelling and embedding organisational values and principles • Creating and supporting robust and open ethical cultures • Tackling the big issues and hard questions • Self-awareness and development • Strategic capacity Takeouts
• Ability to create shared organisational intent and alignment for better decision making and performance • Recognising, reframing and dealing with ethical issues • Capacity to engage in ‘constructive subversion’ to displace unthinking custom and practice
TIGER IN THE ROOM
Risk management roundtable
Increasing regulation and surveillance has been the main approach to risk management, not only by governments but also in the boardroom. But overreliance on these tools can be inefficient and ineffective. Compliance procedures and checklists can multiply and people risk becoming simple rule followers, incapable of making good decisions under conditions which are complex and uncertain. Developed for the boardroom and senior executives, this roundtable program explores other approaches including that of the world’s champion risk managers, the modern military. Operating in environments where the failure to manage risk has lethal consequences, the military have developed sophisticated processes for risk management. The key to the military’s approach is the correction of what they call ‘strategic blindness’, the inability to see the ‘tiger in the room’. It’s creating the capacity to overcome the blindness—and to see the tiger—that is an essential part of effective risk management.
• Limitations of sole reliance on rules-based compliance • ‘Strategic blindness’ approaches to managing risk drawing on • Complementary insights from history, philosophy, psychology and the military Takeouts
of the conditions and capacities necessary for • Appreciation the management of risk in complex organisations and
uncertain environments Understanding ethical governance and its crucial role in risk management
Learning Our learning services help individuals make better decisions and work together more effectively. The content and delivery of our programs are customised for each client’s organisational context and objectives, including the purpose, values, principles and codes of the organisation. They also deal with pressures on good decision making faced by staff. Our programs are highly interactive and practical. They stimulate open and productive discussion and increased awareness of ethical issues. They introduce decision making tools which participants learn to apply in the context of their own work and teams, thereby helping create conditions for better decision making and collaboration and more effective resolution of workplace challenges. We offer online and multimedia tools and programs to help clients create the optimal mix of learning technologies and approaches for their organisation.
ALIGNING THE IRON FILINGS Leadership organisations
Just as a magnet brings order and pattern to a pile of iron filings, Aligning the Iron Filings programs deal with the requirements for establishing and maintaining a sound ethical culture, one in which actual practices are aligned with the organisation’s values and principles. The programs explore the components of ethical infrastructure: the role of codes and policies, induction and training, decision support facilities, reporting lines and ethics governance systems. Alongside ethics we recognise the importance of compliance and regulation, and highlight the crucial role of ethics in risk management.
• Ethics frameworks and codes alignment and ethical gaps (aligning the framework • Ethical with organisational policy and practice) • Embedding values and principles in practice • Building open, ‘speak up’ cultures • Ethics and risk management Takeouts
understanding of the organisation’s guiding ethical • Practical framework of the conditions for embedding an ethical • Appreciation framework and creating a robust, ethical culture • Capacity to recognise and remedy ethical gaps
Ethical intelligence workshops
Our Good Decisions programs are run as tailored organisation specific private workshops as well as public workshops. These thought-provoking half day and one day sessions introduce robust and transparent processes and principles that participants apply to work related challenges, equipping them to better advance their organisation’s objectives in accordance with its values and principles. The programs develop capacity for open discussion and difficult conversations, helping teams build a shared purpose in order to operate more cohesively.
• Why ethics? • Individual and organisational values and principles • Managing pressures on good decisions • Recognising different stakeholders, perspectives, possibilities •
and ethical reasoning styles
Robust and transparent decision making processes
• Learning how to consider organisational values and principles, engage in ethical reflection and debate with colleagues, and mentor others in making ethically informed decisions
• Utilisation of the Ethics Centre’s Ethical Decision Making
Model to reinforce the tools and techniques when back in the workplace
ETHICS 1 ON 1 Ethics counsel
With a focus beyond specific decisions and situations, this extended one on one program is designed to build individual ethical decision making capacity. Through an intensive, experiential process the participant explores past conduct and situations and develops self-awareness and leadership capacity. Specific programs are designed around the needs and objectives of individual participants and particular organisations and professions. Programs can be developed with professional associations for practitioners at risk.
• Past situations and actions • Values and principles • Moral sensitivity and ethical awareness • Relational and situational ethics Takeouts
self-awareness and foundations for ethical • Increased awareness, action and leadership
Ethi-call 1800 672 303 The Ethics Centre has provided a free and confidential ethics counselling service since 1991. Everyone faces ethical dilemmas, challenges and issues in their work and personal lives. These include facing questions like ‘Is it always right to tell the truth?’, ‘What if my boss or client says do it, but my conscience says don’t?’, ‘What if it’s right in the short term, but wrong in the long term?’ and ‘What if what’s good for me is bad for others?’ Ethical dilemmas often require the balancing of conflicting ‘rights’. For example, it seems right that someone who has done the wrong thing should suffer consequences, but it also seems right to be compassionate and offer another chance; similarly, it’s right to be loyal to one’s friend or employer, but it is also right to tell the truth, even if telling the truth betrays this loyalty. People telephoning the Ethi-call line are grappling with the anxiety caused by these kinds of situations. Being independent of any religious or political affiliations, the Ethics Centre can provide a safe and non-judgemental space for people to confidentially or anonymously explore even the most complex of dilemmas, taking account of their own values and principles. Our counsellors are fully trained volunteers who neither pass judgement nor direct callers what to do. They assist callers through the Ethics Centre’s Ethical Decision Making Model that draws on insights from philosophy, psychology, sociology, management and spirituality. It’s a model designed to broaden thinking about issues. The process takes all stakeholders into account and examines relevant principles and the consequences of alternative courses of action. At the end of the counselling session callers tend to be much better placed to make a decision that’s aligned with their own values and circumstances. The service is available free, Australia wide. Appointments are made by calling the dedicated Ethi-call line. The Ethics Centre also offers a suite of supporting materials and assists organisations to communicate and implement Ethi-call within their enterprises.
HYPOTHETICAL CASE STUDIES A senior zoo manager received a sponsorship proposal from a company that’s alleged to use environmentally unsustainable farming practices and exploitative commercial arrangements in developing countries. As a not-for-profit the extra money could make a real difference. Should the manager accept the proposal? When reviewing their will, a couple was torn about what to leave to their daughters. One had always worked hard and was financially well off; the other was something of a drifter and she struggled financially. Do the parents leave the same amount to each in their will? An accountant was asked by her manager to file a manipulated tax return that will save a client thousands of dollars. After checking with the ATO that it was indeed illegal (without mentioning names and details), she confronted her manager who became furious. She resigned but the manager demanded she file the return in the last days of her employment. She completed the work but did not file it. Should she now blow the whistle on him? A woman discovered misogynist comments on her son’s Facebook page courtesy of one of his friends—a star of the football team. She spoke to her son about it and the comments were taken down. Should she tell the school? And if so, when? Now, with the semi finals approaching, or afterwards? A senior executive at a struggling multinational food manufacturer must decide between launching a high fat snack appreciated in consumer research or a low fat fruit based snack that did not perform so well. Should he select the higher fat snack to generate the needed sales boost (even though as a father with young children he knows such foods can contribute to childhood obesity and other health issues), or choose the healthier snack and take the risk that the sales might not be strong enough to save the company and jobs?
Our people Dr Simon Longstaff
We would value the opportunity to discuss your situation, needs and objectives.
PhD, MPhil, FCPA Simon has been Executive Director of St James Ethics Centre since 1991. One of the Executive Director’s roles is to encourage the process of integrating ethical considerations into the strategic thinking of the management community and those who advise and regulate them. More generally, Simon encourages and contributes to the active discussion of ethical questions amongst the widest possible audience. He is a Fellow of the World Economic Forum and serves on boards in the corporate and not-for-profit sectors including the Australian Institute of Company Directors Corporate Governance Committee, AMP Capital Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee, BHP Billiton Forum on Corporate Responsibility, Nestlé Oceania Creating Shared Value Advisory Board and Woolworths Limited Corporate Responsibility Panel. He was named a Financial Review BOSS Magazine True Leader for the 21st century. Sally Treeby
General Manager Sally joined St James Ethics Centre as General Manager in 2009 after working in the financial services sector for almost two decades in Australia and the UK. Her experience spanned senior roles in strategy, marketing and line management, most recently with Westpac Banking Corporation, as well as a period running her own consultancy, New Philanthropy. Since 2003 Sally has been involved in the not-for-profit sector in various committee and board roles. Dr Stuart Palmer
Head of The Practice PhD, MLitt, LLB, BA Stuart joined the Ethics Centre after more than twenty years in the legal, financial and investment sectors, combined with a background in philosophy. He is responsible for the consulting, leadership and learning services of the Ethics Centre. His previous roles include Partner at law firm Middletons Moore & Bevins and Head of Asset Securitisation at ABN AMRO Australia. Stuart also serves as Non-Executive Director on a number of boards. John Neil
Coordinator, The Practice John coordinates the delivery of our consulting, leadership and learning services. Previously he was a lecturer and researcher in business ethics, sustainability, management, social entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of Technology Business School (UTS). He also led the development of an ethics curriculum in the Bachelor of Business degree at UTS, and has published in business and organisational ethics, sustainability and cultural studies. Educators, facilitators and researchers
The Ethics Centre accredited educators are professionals with diverse backgrounds in a variety of fields including leadership, negotiation, human resources, change management, consulting, psychology, communication and ethics. Their broad client experience includes individuals and organisations in the professional services, banking and finance, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, not-for-profit and public sectors in Australia and overseas. They have worked with a wide range of people—from customer service teams to law firms, and graduates to senior executives in government and multnational organisations. Many of our educators are also Ethics Centre Ethi-call counsellors. We also work with a selection of qualified and experienced facilitators and researchers on particular client projects.
Dr Simon Longstaff
Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org Dr Stuart Palmer
Head of The Practice M 0422 007 917 email@example.com John Neil
Coordinator, The Practice M 0406 608 612 firstname.lastname@example.org
Established in 1989, St James Ethics Centre is an independent not-for-profit organisation serving as a catalyst and enabler for society to think, debate and act in good conscience, particularly in the face of uncertainty and ambiguity. Operating in Australia and abroad, the Ethics Centre is unique in its support of ethical issues in the community, creation and management of public debates and application of ethical principles to specific issues in companies, public institutions and not-for-profits. The relief of suffering and distress is the cornerstone of the Ethics Centre’s activities.
Our values and principles
St James Ethics Centre Board
We are a centre for applied ethics serving as an independent reference point in the ethical landscape.
Maria Atkinson AM Philip Clark AM Timothy Edwards Peter Hunt AM Stephen Loosley Christine McLoughlin Jim Molan AO DSC Michael Pain Doug Snedden
Our role is to help inform and enable responsible decision making as part of an examined life. Our practices are based on respect for the intrinsic dignity of all persons. We have a passionate concern to make a constructive contribution to the world in which we live, even when disturbing conventional wisdom. We offer an open forum for dialogue within which thought leadership might emerge—our own included. We offer practical support in cooperation with those with whom we work. We offer an example of reflective practice and a refinement of the creative spirit that animates the ‘art of doing’. We aim for excellence in all that we do. Should we fail to meet our own ideals (as we will surely do from time to time) we will acknowledge this and learn. We will act in good conscience with moral courage and compassion. And we will not take ourselves too seriously.
St James Ethics Centre ABN 83 637 740 533
GPO Box 3599 T +61 2 9299 9566
Sydney NSW 2001 Australia
F +61 2 9299 9477
Peter Joseph AM Patron
The Governor-General of Australia, Her Excellency Ms Quentin Bryce AC
ethics.org.au Ethi-call 1800 672 303