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Exercising Ethics Demo

Welcome! We’re excited to tell you more about our Exercising Ethics program. This page is meant to be used together with one of our sales experts. Please contact Doug Stallings for help.

At Merit Leadership, we teach that ethics is a skill. Our Exercising Ethics program is designed to:

  1. Help your people hone their ethical skills;
  2. Build a strong culture of ethics; and,
  3. Give you unique insight into how your people think and talk about ethical issues.

Exercising Ethics also requires very little of your people’s time, so it can be done multiple times per year to reinforce effective learning. It all happens in four simple steps:

Step 1: Prepared Leaders

Ethics training works best when people are learning from their leaders. We prepare your leaders to guide their team through engaging discussions that strengthen ethical skills and build a vibrant ethical culture.

Each dilemma comes with a brief leadership training video and a discussion note that includes questions, wisdom, and the dilemma ending (more on that below). As part of the program, all of your leaders also receive a copy of The Business Ethics Field Guide for an added source of ethical insight. We also offer customized videos and discussion notes to incorporate your organization’s unique values, policies, or other important information.

Sample Video

Discussion Note

Step 2: Ethics Exercise

We use our library of true ethical dilemmas that come from our research to engage your employees in ethical problem-solving. We ask your people to give advice to the author of our dilemma—in this case, Clyde. Most people spend just five to ten minutes responding.

After they complete the exercise, we include a brief training moment where we teach them about an ethical skill they can put into practice. In this example, we talk about the value of mentors and invite them to share Clyde’s dilemma with a mentor and get their thoughts.

Here’s what people have had to say about the exercise:

“I liked being able to think about a real world situation and being able to apply principles like these to real life scenarios we may encounter.”
“I liked that it was open-ended, both challenging and intriguing.”
“I liked that it didn’t take too much time.”

Step 3: Team Discussion

Learning together is a critical part of ethics education. Once all team members have completed the ethics exercise, teams hold a brief discussion where they share their thoughts, ideas, and strategies. Leaders guide the conversation with the help of our discussion note.

With an engaging, true dilemma to discuss, this creates a rich conversation for teams. Past participants have told us:

“I liked that it brought us into a situation where we can easily discuss ethical situations.”
“I liked the discussion and thoughts that the case study provoked. It allowed our team to consider perspectives that were not apparent upon initial glance.”
“I liked talking with others about how they approached the situation.”

Step 4: Our Report and Analysis

The value of Exercising Ethics doesn’t end with the team conversations. We collect the responses and apply our unique analytical tools to identify patters in how your people think and talk about ethical issues. Each report does the following:

  1. Emphasizes key actions your managers can take to build ethical skills in their teams. 
  2. Identifies areas of strength and of concern, to help you target your ethics and compliance training efforts.
  3. Draws on current research in ethical culture, decision-making, and leadership to help you employ best practices.
These reports give you remarkable insight into your ethical culture, a notoriously difficult thing to measure. Because ethics exercises happen multiple times per year, you can track issues with more speed and watch to see if changes to your ethics and compliance programs are producing the changes you hope for. This is an unprecedented level of measurement and feedback.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should we do an Exercising Ethics activity?

You can do the program as frequently as you like. A typical frequency is once every three months.

What kinds of dilemmas do you offer?

Our dilemmas come from a wide range of industries covering all of the thirteen dilemmas found in The Business Ethics Field Guide. Based on our research, these dilemmas cover over 95% of the dilemmas most people face at work.

Can we choose the dilemmas used in each exercise?

We work together with you to chose dilemmas that are relevant and engaging to your people. All of our dilemmas help your people develop better ethical skills around judgment, resourcefulness, communication, and commitment.

What do we need to do to get started?

We guide you through a complete set-up process to make sure that every detail is planned in advance. We discuss who will participate, when and how each exercise will be deployed. and who will receive our reports.

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