Small Changes Make a Big Difference – Part 7 – Citizenship

The capability of Citizenship is about living by a code of ethics, a set of values. By being good citizens we draw like-minded people to us, the kind of people we crave as colleagues, customers, employees or even friends. When we’re seen in the right light, it materially affects relationships we can build and ultimately the results we can achieve.

Small Changes make a big difference – Citizenship

The capability of Citizenship is about living by a code of ethics, a set of values.  By being good citizens we draw like-minded people to us, the kind of people we crave as colleagues, customers, employees or even friends.  When we’re seen in the right light, it materially affects relationships we can build and ultimately the results we can achieve.

We all want to live and work with people we trust and respect.  We want to collaborate and be surrounded by people who want to do the right thing, who are principled and ethical and consider the long-term interests of as many people as possible.

Have you noticed when you are in the supermarket you only look to buy only the food which you know has been produced ethically?  For instance I only buy cage free eggs, and dolphin safe tuna.

As a consumer do you look to purchase or promote only products that you know and trust.

One of the things Rob Yeung talks about is that of all the exceptional people he interviewed for the book have outstanding reputations.  They believe that the best way to be perceived as good is to be good.  The easiest way to be talked about in a positive way is by behaving in a positive way.  They all strive to do well by others and focus on conducting themselves in responsible ethical ways.

Here is am exercise to do

Pick five words to describe yourself

Now here is the big test, if you really want to learn about yourself, repeat this exercise but asking a handful of friends and colleagues to use five words to describe you.  What does this say about your reputation?

With the internet been so big nowadays, things that we have always thought  of as private can become public.  There has already been a number of cases in New Zealand in the last couple of years where private emails have been sent to the wrong people.  Always say to yourself “how would I feel if this got online?”

The broader and longer term issues of citizenship really means sustainability.  In recent years this has come to mean the ability of both individuals and organisations to use the Earth’s natural resources in a way that continue forever.

A great example of this in New Zealand is we have a lot of Hydro and now Solar energy companies.  This way they are using renewable resources to produce energy.   My husband and I have a dream-home which we want to build. The home will be built the most sustainable way possible with all luxuries.  We are looking at wind-powered hydro electricity as well as solar energy to power it and to use as many forms of passive heating and cooling.  That has been our dream for many years now.

At the heart of Citizenship is considering the broader and longer-term impacts of more of our decisions.  Imagine that you have a board of advisers who will oversee all of your decisions.  Your panel is made up of three people:

  • Someone in your Profession, a peer. e.g a professional body representative.  What would they expect you to do?
  • A close friend outside of work who you respect.  What would a pal say who knows nothing about the technical nature of your work? Would they take a positive or dim view of your actions?
  • Your grown-up grandchild – How will you explain the decision you’re about to make to him or her?

Remember Citizenship applies to all of us – from young people starting out in their careers with seemingly little influence to senior people with sway over thousands or millions of people.  Regardless, the principle remains the same: make good decisions and set an example to those around you.

Ethical, responsible behaviour will increasingly become a prerequisite for success rather than an optional extra.  Consider that it’s better to be thought of as a leader than an ethical idler.

Being a good citizen simply involves investing a little more thought into the broader consequences of all that we do.  Ask yourself: ‘What would my children’s children want me to do?’

So what are you doing to display the trait of citizenship?  Leave a comment belowAnd share this post if you like what you are reading.