For an organization to avoid the pitfalls of scandal and disgrace and consistently display the intent to conduct its business in a socially acceptable manner, the CEO and those around the CEO, must be openly and unswerving committed to ethical conduct and socially redeeming principles and core values.

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Leading the effort to operate the company’s business in an ethically principled fashion has three pieces:

a.   The CEO and other senior executives must set an excellent example in their actions and decisions

b.   Top management must declare unequivocal support of the company’s ethical code and take an uncompromising stand on expecting all company personnel to conduct themselves in an ethical fashion at all times

c.   Top management must be prepared to act as the final arbiter on hard calls

Demonstrating Genuine Commitment to a Strategy of Social Responsibility: Business leaders who want their companies to be regarded as exemplary corporate citizens must not only see that their companies operate ethically but also take a lead role in crafting a social responsibility strategy that positively improves the well-being of employees, the environment, the communities in which they operate, and society at large. What separates companies that make a sincere effort to carry their weight in being good corporate citizens from companies that are content to do only what is legally required of them are company leaders who believe strongly that just making a profit is not good enough. Such leaders are committed to a higher standard of performance that includes social and environmental metrics as well as financial and strategic metrics.

CORE CONCEPT: Companies with socially conscious strategy leaders and a core value of corporate social responsibility move beyond the rhetorical flourishes of corporate citizenship and enlist the full support of company personnel behind social responsibility initiatives.

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