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Women in Business

The latest Women’s Business Club heard from an expert in the field of ethics, who spoke about how to implement ethical thinking into businesses and organisations

The Women’s Business Club welcomed Dr Susan Liautaud, Vice Chair of Court of Governors and Chair of the Ethics Policy Committee of the London School of Economics and Political Science and Founder and Managing Director of Susan Liautaud & Associates as its guest speaker.

The session was hosted in the elegant premises of the House of Dior in London’s Mayfair, described by British Vogue as a ‘retail temple,’ featuring sculptures by Tony Cragg and Rado Kirov, a collaboration with artist, Mark Quinn, three private VIP shopping areas, and a dedicated shoe gallery.

The session was chaired by Estelle Brachlianoff, President of the French Chamber of Great Britain and Senior Executive Vice-President UK & Ireland at Veolia.

Held to Chatham House rules, specific reporting on the conversation was not allowed. Liautaud’s speech featured three of her approaches to the field of ethics. Here, she outlines aspects of her approach to ethics and some of the ways that business and individuals can think differently about utilising ethics in their strategy, operations and overall decision-making:

1. Effective ethical decision-making is about problem-solving. It is about making the decisions we will like in the short-, medium-, and long-term—the decisions that define leaders and institutions—irrespective of how much we like the outcomes of the decisions. It is pro-business and pro- positive innovation. It is every leader’s and organisation’s greatest strategic opportunity in my view, but left unheeded it becomes the greatest risk. And it navigates the grey in today’s world, whether how to classify sharing economy offerings or how to navigate collapsing humanitarian norms.

2. Ethics is not about perfection. No organisation or leadership team can prevent intentional wrong-doing. But all organisations can improve their cultures, risk profile, and resilience by reinforcing the preventive ethics mechanisms and decision-making and by positioning themselves to respond swiftly, thoroughly, and fairly when unwanted behaviour occurs.

« All organisations can improve their cultures, risk profile, and resilience by reinforcing the preventive ethics mechanisms and attitudes »

3. I see too many organisations missing the opportunity to integrate ethics into recruiting and performance evaluation—effectively, efficiently and in line with the organisation’s values.

This article was originally published in INFO magazine, March/April 2018

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