G. Richard Shell: How To Stand Up For Your Values At Work Without Paying A Dear Price

Longtime Wharton business and law school professor, G. Richard Shell, joins us to do double duty.

It was Shell whom Wharton specifically chose to reinvent its entire MBA program curriculum, & our first objective in asking him to be a guest was to explain why one of America’s top ranked business schools intentionally became more humanistic?

When we think of business schools in the past – and Wharton especially – we recall students being taught arcane accounting and quantitative analysis techniques exclusively, & virtually nothing on how to successfully manage human beings in the workplace. It’s no wonder so many companies over the past few decades have been quick to lay off workers whenever financial performance lagged. Their top managers were only trained to focus on numbers, not on people.

So, our first objective for this episode is to give you an insider’s view into the future of leadership development, in hopes you’ll gain a deeper awareness on how you might seek to further grow your own managerial skill-set for the future. There’s a clear reason Wharton has evolved in what it believes comprises a comprehensive MBA education.

And Shell is also a very successful author whose new book, The Conscience Code: Lead With Your Values & Advance Your Career tackles a truly challenging workplace dilemma: How to speak up for your values when you observe or experience unethical behavior at work.

  • According to research Shell cites in his book, 40% of US workers witness unethical or illegal conduct on the job in any given year.
  • And 25% report feeling pressured by their own bosses to behave unethically or even illegally.

Here are some real-world examples that Wharton School, MBA students have experienced in their young careers:

  • A fast-track colleague elbows their way up the corporate ladder by faking sales reports.
  • An entrepreneur boss asks employees to lie to would-be investors.
  • A team leader is a serial sexual harasser.

The question in all of these scenarios is what should you do in response?

According to Shell, few people have ever been trained or prepared to deal with this unsavory part of professional life – and when they do occur, they’re faced with the gut-wrenching choice: do they “go along to get along” or risk their job by speaking up for what they know is right?

We all know how we should behave in these kinds of situations, but not necessarily how to maneuver in ways that will allow us to speak our conscience without having to face severe career consequences. So, the second part of our conversation is focused on how you can recognize when these conflicts might be coming, know how to spot them, and learn how to skillfully resolve them.

This is an episode that taps the wisdom and profound knowledge of one of the Wharton Business Schools’ longest tenured, and most revered professors.

By Mark C. Crowley

Mark C. Crowley is the author of Lead From The Heart: Transformational Leadership For The 21st Century which has been taught in 11 American universities. He is a global speaker, leadership consultant and thought leader on the topics of workplace culture and employee engagement.