On March 10-11, CEOs, board chairs, compliance and risk management leadership, and more will meet at the 7th Annual Global Ethics Summit, sponsored by Thomson Reuters and Ethisphere.

Each year, the summit features compelling conversations on the ethical performance, behavior and reputation of organizations all over the world.

Among the business leaders at this year’s event is Dr. J. Phillip (Jack) London, executive chairman and chairman of the board of CACI International Inc., a multinational information technology and professional services provider that serves several branches of the federal government.

London will be featured on a panel called “Leadership Lessons from the Top.” But while he believes organizational ethics can be driven by strong leadership, London believes that everyone in an organization has a stake in its collective reputation.

“It’s one thing to have posters, statements and policy documents, but what really counts are the attitudes and the orientations of the individuals who make up the organization,” he asserts.

London’s practical, all-in approach to business ethics is easy to understand when he reflects on his extensive military and business career. Noting that he has “been around the world a few times,” London’s experiences and observations of people on a global scale has led him to believe that there is an ethical framework we all aspire to follow.

“When I saw the term [global ethics], I reflected on what’s happening in our company, in our industry, in our culture, and in our society…I don’t subscribe to a view of situational ethics, that ethical perspectives depend on the situation and that you can have various views of what’s right or wrong depending on where you are or what culture you’re in,” London noted. “I will be addressing what I call the ‘immutable aspects of ethical behavior,’ and the basic notion of integrity, basic honesty, fair play and good intentions.”

While this view of ethics was shaped by a “synthesis” of years of experience, London also holds fast to the notion that many of his mentors and peers also have helped to guide him along the way. But to hear him describe it, ethics in business is more than just a lesson to be learned, it is a central part of his business acumen.

“In our business [at CACI], we are stewards, in effect, of billions of taxpayer’s dollars, and though we have a fiduciary obligation to do the best we can on behalf of the American people and our clients in the United States government, there’s no way we are going to build an organization of 15,000 or 20,000 people unless we have a whole lot folks who subscribe to these values of [ethics],” he added.

But the need for events like the Global Ethics Summit is very clear to London. From the numerous ponzi schemes that have robbed people of their livelihood, to sexual assault cases in the military, and manufacturing defects in the automobile industry that have led to loss of life, there’s a need to discuss and promote ethical ideals in our society.

“I think it’s critically important for us to communicate the issue of the ethical perspective eroding in our culture and the need to get back to basics; to return to…the notion of organizational ethics and behavior through individuals,” London said. “[Ethics] has to be kept as a high priority by management, consistently. This is not a once-a-year form to sign that ‘I’ll be a good guy or gal,’ and it’s much more than that — it has to be talked about; it has to be believed.”

For more on the Global Ethics Summit, or to attend, click here. And visit Legal Current next week for coverage from the summit.

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