Conducting business
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Do you know how to behave at work? Common-sense right?

Someone once said, “Common-sense is anything but common.” Answers on a postcard please.

Those of you on twitter will have seen a number of people mentioning that they have completed their BCG. This is not an injection. This is education, a reminder, a nudge. This is Business Conduct Guidelines. This is the heavy heavy monster sound. (sorry I had to)

“The guidelines provide general guidance for resolving a variety of legal and ethical questions for employees of IBM, including its subsidiaries and affiliates. These guidelines clarify long-standing expectations of how members of IBM’s worldwide community will conduct themselves in their business activities.”

If we step back and look at what happens in many companies and I’ll take those of my family and friends. Management is constantly “reminding people” through emails, meetings and memos, “can people please refrain from doing x,y and z while at work.” This is time consuming. This distracts people from work, from being productive and it demotivates people.

Actions of a small minority end up punishing the majority and as a result things seem a lot worse than they really are. I know, I get the phone calls.

When I joined IBM I was given a huge folder of stuff, I mean massive. We have the web now so thankfully all that has changed but within that pile were the BCGs.  Reading them I was a little terrified to be honest. “Never had anything like this before!” I thought.

But after a while you realise this is good. It means you have a definitive (well almost) answer to situations you may face. Some are more complex than you may imagine and I couldn’t imagine most of the scenarios in the education videos.

The BCGs draw a line in the sand, they tell you what is acceptable – actually they go further than that I would say, they tell you what is expected, what is the right thing to do.

Based around our company values the BCGs have also help IBM become more active in social media (did you wonder when I would mention that?) of which the social computing guidelines are a subsection. This year we also saw a section in the education module related just to social media.

To sum up, in my mind, the BCGs form the basis of what we do. They provide that common-sense, the line in the sand, the common ground from where we all start. If someone goes beyond those then the majority doesn’t get punished, the individual does and they can’t say they hadn’t been told.

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