I think it was the old G.I. Joe cartoon that said, “Knowing is half the battle.” In the most recent part of this series on ethical maturity, we discussed the ability to recognize ethical concerns. Now we turn to step two, doing something about it, with Gary Dell’Abat.
Gary Dell’Abat, affectionately known as “Baba Booey,” is Howard Stern’s long-time producer. In this role, he is responsible for the back office. He oversees all staff, coordinates guests, and keeps the gears moving so Howard can focus on the show. This entails diagnosing issues and making judgments about the best way to handle them. Correcting ethical dilemmas is no different.
Once a morally questionable situation has been identified (moral sensitivity), the next step is to select a course of action with moral judgment. Many leaders rely on their “gut feeling” when resolving these problems. While instinct is important (and it really is), a systematic approach is ideal. This ensures that there is consistency and removes the perception of inequity, unfairness, or favoritism.
When reaching moral judgments, leaders can start by asking themselves a few simple questions:
- Are there any potential legal violations that could result from the decision? What about company-specific policy restrictions?
- Would this decision be accepted by others? How would it look if Howard Stern was discussing it on the radio for the world to hear?
- Did any aspect of the decision need to be rationalized or justified?
- How as the organization handled similar incidents in the past?
- How would it feel to be on the receiving end of this decision?
Most of us are not fortunate to have a Gary-like producer managing our behind the scenes. That’s our job. We are supporting our own personal type of on-air talent. I hope, for your sake, that your team is a less motley crew than Gary’s.
This is the third in a four part series on ethical maturity. In part four we will discuss Moral Motivation.
For the other chapters of this series, check out: