Building a Code of Ethics with Institutional Integrity

How do you consistently demonstrate integrity in your organization?


Michael Daly is President and Inaugural Board Chair of the Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, a non-profit organization that provides leadership and guidance to homeless and foster teens to support college and career readiness. In this video, Michael challenges leaders to create institutional integrity and a code of ethics from the first day in business, and to model it, share it and encourage it in others every day.

Michael shares a three-part foundation of ethical leadership:

1) serving others

2) building trust

3) modeling transparency and commitment.

Through the example of his organization, The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, Michael helps his team, as well as the youth he serves, understand the significance that ethics and integrity have in an organization's reputation and longevity.

Sadly, non-profits and many organizations, the trust has been broken because of misuse of funds or misuse of the trust of the person that's receiving those goods or services or the need. So we make sure as an organization, that ethics and transparency are paramount. So as a young foundation as you can imagine with one or two classes our first year, we had all of our financials audited to make sure that we were meeting financial benchmarks of the highest non-profits, the highest financial integrity by GuideStar. That was an expensive gesture and many of our board members said, "You don't really need to do this until your third year." And we said, "From day one, we will be transparent, we will be audited and we'll celebrate our financial integrity."

We also have a code of ethics and we have all of our board members and all of our constituents, all of our volunteers, and all of our coaches and contractors and program managers volunteer their time and commit to volunteering their time for at least a year. So that we know that they're invested, they understand what this is about and that they are all-in because they want to be. Whether it's in the non-profit world or the for-profit world, people buy from who they trust and like. And so that same scenario is with our partners, it's with our students. When you earn that trust, you have to be very, very careful not to break it and to always be careful and know that, that trust has been given to you for a purpose.

So we always end every meeting saying, "What we've done today, is it in pursuit and benefit of our students." Because at the end of the day, it's about those young people and we share our vision, we share our accomplishments, and we share our plan with our partners and we invite them into the overall work because we can't do this in a vacuum. So I think that the way we successfully build additional growth and momentum is because people know who we are, understand us and trust us.

Michael Daly

Michael Daly, President and Inaugural Board Chairman of The Orange Duffel Bag Initiative, has had more than two decades of successful professional experience with renowned organizations such as AARP, Smithsonian Journeys, The History ...

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