3 Ways to Do the Right Thing at Work

#culturecounts #dotherightthing #humanresources #positiveworkculture #shrm #workpositive Apr 14, 2024

Seven-year-old Ransom Duel noticed his classmate choking after eating a bite of a Nutella sandwich. Ransom picked up the jar, read “hazelnuts,” and knowing that his friend has an allergy to nuts, ran to get his teacher who brought an epi-pen and saved the friend’s life.

When asked about it afterwards, Ransom said, “I just did the right thing. I didn’t think, ‘Oh I’m gonna be a hero.’” 

What can we learn from Ransom about a culture of doing the right thing? 

First, do the right thing regardless.

You may wonder, “What else would Ransom do? Of course, he helped his classmate.”

Ransom could have done nothing.

That’s right, nothing.

He could have done nothing as his friend grew sicker by the second.

The opposite of doing the right thing isn’t necessarily doing the wrong thing.

Doing nothing damages your work, too.

Quiet quitting drains profits.

Disengagement lessens productivity.

“Somebody else will do it” means nobody does it.

Take personal responsibility for your actions.

Make it your business to do the right thing regardless.

Second, depend on someone always watching you.

Ransom didn’t realize his right-thing action would be so public.

Always assume someone is watching you at work.

Not in a “big brother,” paranoid manner.

In a “create a positive culture of doing the right thing” way”

They see you regardless of whether you see them or not.

Ever catch yourself saying, “No one will ever know?”

That’s a slippery slope that descends from doing the right thing. Someone will know. You know regardless.

Such justifying head trash talk erodes your core values, rearranges your priorities, and removes power from your unique contribution to a positive work culture.

Depend on someone always watching you.

Third, deal with consequences either way.

When you do the right thing regardless while fully aware that someone is watching you, you create consequences that are far easier to deal with later.

Ransom’s greatest challenge was dealing with all of the attention that comes with being dubbed a “hero.”

When you do nothing or the wrong thing and hope no one sees you, your consequences are extremely difficult to explain away when they come to light. 

And they always do.

The business you work for eventually displays your unethical choices either through loss of customers, key teammates, or critical supplier relationships—all of which lower profits. 

You deal with consequences, even unintended consequences, from every decision. Choose easier outcomes you can work with later. 

Do the right thing regardless.

Depend on someone always watching you.

Deal with consequences either way.

Join Ransom Duel and Work Positive today.

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