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happened, when I stood at a traffic signal when everybody was breaking it orwhen I made the effort to leave a public toilet clean, it was reinforcing in myown mind the concept of pristine honesty.I did this for a year or so, after which the next step I took was to build itinto my daily reflection in the evening on my way back in the car. Everyevening, along with the question ‘What could I have done better?’ I wouldreflect on whether there were any instances where I practised majorityhonesty that day. That reflection would make me realize some uncomfortablethings. E.g. in the workplace, one of the most practised forms of majorityhonesty is when the boss does something wrong and nobody confronts him orher with it. People know the boss has done wrong, people know the rightthing in the interest of the company is to point it out, yet the majority honestyapproach is that when nobody else is doing it, why should I stick my neck outand point it out? I struggled with this one. My pristine honesty always toldme, Mouli, every time you find something wrong being done by people seniorto you, you need to have the courage to point it out with good intent forimprovement, not fault-finding. I did it more often than most people. Yet,sometimes, it was difficult to implement, and I would lapse to majority
honesty. I am just giving this as an example to demonstrate how improvementin values is not easy to accomplish. It is quite complex and it needs workingat it in a sustained way.My learning is that there are three stages to values improvement:1. The first stage is sensitivity—facing what you are doing well in thatvalue and what you are doing poorly. Creating self-awareness of howyou fare at the lodestar standard of that value is the very starting pointof improving it.2. The second stage is practice—forcing yourself to practise the rightvalues behaviour. Choosing a few clear practice areas and beingextremely disciplined in practising these will help build theconsciousness of the lodestar standard in you.3. The third stage is embedding it into the person you are—the stagewhere the practice no longer requires conscious effort but getsintegrated into who you are.Values are among the most difficult things to be good at, and to be at alodestar level is challenging, to say the least. It is easier to be a smartchemical engineer than to practise pristine honesty. It is easier to be amarketing genius than it is to be truly humble. Values improvement to alodestar level has to be catalysed by you through an improvement plan. It willnot happen by itself.Unleash the Catalyst1. The bulk of the corporate culture on values is to restrict the occurrenceof a breach. I, however, believe there is an upside to superior valuesfor long-term success. For that, it is essential to change the coding ofyour understanding on values, from one that says limit the downsideto one that says leverage the upside.