One of our three values at PPS is to strive to always do the right thing. I often tell staff that, if you are ever in a situation where you really need to decide and there is no time to get input from a manager, decide by using your common sense and gut, but test it against our values framework. We will back you, even if later it turns out to have been the wrong decision. As long as it ticks our value of “We do the right thing”, i.e. we did not compromise on things like integrity or compliance, and if we feel in our gut it is the right thing for our members, then go ahead. I am convinced that the cost of the few wrong decisions will be compensated in multiples by the speed of decision-making and the general feeling of empowerment, which also talks to our value of taking extreme ownership. Here are some thoughts around doing the right thing:
A test on doing the right thing is how you would feel if what you do in private is made public. Is what you do and how you act when nobody else knows or checks up on you, the same as how you would act in the public eye?
When Steve Jobs – many years – ago had to convince a world that was used to pirating music that it is better to pay for it, one of his arguments was: “Don’t mess with karma”. The seeds you sow – good or bad – will come back, sometimes tenfold, and often in very unexpected ways. Don’t mess with this return. Rather do the right thing.
Ours is a heavily regulated industry. It needs to be, as we work with other people’s money. It is an industry based on trust and long-term promises. Regulatory compliance is therefore important. It is our licence to trade. We never want to put this licence at risk. At PPS we pride ourselves on our compliance track record. It is the right thing to do.
Doing the right thing is not always easy. Train yourself to be robust around this one by doing the right thing with the little decisions in life. If you vest this habit, and not compromise on the small ones, then the bigger ones will be easier. It will become a way of life.
Do the right thing also as far as the environment is concerned. Leave a place better than what you have found it. Do not litter. Teach your children not to litter. Be carbon conscious. We only have one world, there is no Planet B.
Respect authority, of whatever form. Do not break the law. The only time this does not apply is if such authority is totally at odds with your moral value compass, which is a very high test.
We all live in various networks and are members of various teams. Be a constructive contributor to that ecosystem. Continuously make small deposits into the trust accounts of fellow team members. The culture in a team is the collaborative result of all team members.
Trust your gut. If something “feels” wrong, it probably is.
Sometimes, when one is confronted with a very tough decision, and when it is difficult to do the right thing, it helps to zoom out. How would I feel about this one day when I reflect on this decision? Is doing the wrong thing worth it in the bigger scheme of things? Is it worth selling my soul for this? A longer-term context can help.
And finally, be clear on those things that you will never compromise on, draw the moral lines firmly. If the moral compass is calibrated, decisions become easier.
So, to summarise, here are ten guiding principles around our value of doing the right thing:
These principles are simple, but certainly not easy. But difficulty is what wakes up the giant and the genius.