Award Criteria – Six TRUST! Principles of EthicalEnterprising

We understand that each company is unique and has different needs, experiences and policies. It is not necessary to address all of the suggested content in each of the six sections, they are merely provided as illustrations of possible content to demonstrate that criteria; however, it is key to fully demonstrate how a company lives a given principle. We encourage you to find areas in each section that best exemplify your company’s practices. (Submission Criteria is based on the Center for Character Ethics Six TRUST! Principles of EthicalEnterprising).


Criteria 1: Transformation at the Top - Leadership Commitment to Ethical Practices

Leaders are reflective and intentionally work to increase the manifestation of their own high character in the organization’s culture. EthicalEnterprising leaders know that positive character traits are an essential guide to life and work. They strive to live and lead accordingly and they intentionally seek feedback in order to make personal improvements.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • A statement of the leader’s or leadership team’s personal code of ethics and how this code became personally significant.
  • A personal letter from the CEO/President or Owner that includes a personal statement of his/her commitment to ethical business practices.
  • Description or evidence of leaders’ participation in workshops/conferences or training in ethics.
  • Coaching/mentoring and feedback assessments that demonstrate that leaders seek to improve their ethical leadership practices.
  • How the leader(s) are transparent, value candor, or receive personal feedback from the organization, vendors, or customers (possibly including how such feedback has led to personal change).
  • Any public statement (speech, advertising, business material, or publication) of the leader’s commitment to ethics.
  • Cases/stories of leaders admitting error or the need for personal change, accepting responsibility, and taking corrective action.

Smaller companies may also consider:

  • How does the company leader obtain coaching or mentoring to improve or develop personal character and leadership?

Criteria 2: Reinforce and Build - Communications of Ethical Practices

Leaders reinforce and build a culture of high character ethics. The leader and leadership team intentionally behave and communicate with one another, employees, and stakeholders in ways that are consistent with their beliefs. Their actions follow their words which intentionally reinforces the character culture of their organization and builds a high performance business model.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • How new employees (including part-time or contract employees) are informed and/or trained in the company’s ethical policies.
  • How the CEO/President/owner’s personal code of ethics is communicated to employees, vendors, or customers.
  • Tools or activities that model, mentor, teach and reinforce defined character ethics as part of normal business/management practices.
  • Use of a character code or content in management/employee meetings.
  • Ethical practices/expectations documented in vendor relation manuals, customer policies, or stakeholder relations procedures.
  • What employees are taught/encouraged to do if others in the organization are not following the ethical code of the organization.
  • How ethical behaviors of employees are identified and recognized.
  • Examples of ethical challenges faced and how they were resolved.
  • Common practices of identifying and/or addressing violations of the organization’s ethical code.

Smaller companies may also consider:

  • How does the company reward (recognize) demonstration of good character and ethics by employees?

Criteria 3: Unite the Team - Organizational Commitment to Ethical Practice

Leaders unify the organization around clear purpose and compelling convictions. The leader and leadership team, work consistently to ensure clarity of purposes and an adherence to clear convictions that motivate and unite stakeholders. By doing so, they establish and emphasize the “whys” of an organization – why work here, why be a customer, why be a supplier, why we are who we are.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • How organizational statements such as “Vision”, “Mission”, “Core Business Values,” “Culture Description,” or “Business Purpose” have been created and/or are used to unite the team.
  • How these statements are shared with existing and potential employees.
  • Leadership practices or communications of progress or adherence to the vision/mission of the organization.
  • How feedback collected from the marketplace is used to assess the organization’s performance and focus employees on common issues.
  • How feedback from employees is utilized to make adjustments in organizational practices to better match the vision/mission or core values.
  • How recognition/celebration or other practices are used to unite employees and reinforce the mission or organization’s values.
  • Compensation systems/factors that help to unite workers.
  • Transparency of, and teaching of, management information and reports.

Smaller companies may also consider:

  • How does the company encourage creativity/innovation and taking informed risks to advance or improve the business?


Criteria 4: Steer Performance - Organizational Commitment to Performance Management Practices

Leaders guide organizational performance by implementing high competency management practices. High character must be accompanied by high competency. The leader and leadership team continually manage performance by establishing goals, measuring achievement and allocating just rewards. They establish practices that represent their commitments to the future and the means for the organization to achieve those commitments.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • The planning process, including time frames and the organizational levels that participate.
  • Practices in the use of clear measurements to evaluate progress, analyze performance and adjust plans to accomplish goals.
  • The processes/systems of establishing individual/team/department objectives or targets including time frames and responsibilities.
  • Practices using performance information to encourage, guide and motivate.
  • Accountability and compensation systems implemented for high performance.
  • Rewards and recognition that integrate performance and high character or ethical behavior.
  • How employees demonstrate accountability for performance and ethical behavior.
  • Unique budgeting or forecasting processes and unique performance metrics.
  • How innovation is encouraged and rewarded.

Smaller companies may also consider:

  • In what ways does the company collect and utilize customer feedback as it relates to business performance?

Criteria 5: Treasure People - Organizational Commitment to Ethical Human Resource Practices

Leaders prize the intrinsic value of people. The leader and the leadership team adopt and implement human resource practices that prepare, continually support/recognize and provide opportunities for growth of all staff members.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • Hiring practices that insure people are hired for character.
  • How employees are involved in hiring practices.
  • Unique systems and processes for training and preparing staff.
  • Practices and procedures to resolve ethical issues.
  • Any policies or procedures that specifically insure that employees are treated fairly, respectfully, and that workplace safety is ensured.
  • Mechanisms or procedures for employee professional development.
  • Termination practices that demonstrate respect of the individual.
  • How employees influence organizational practices and decisions.
  • Operational structures or systems that support the individual employee’s ability to perform.
  • Processes that insure meritorious selection of individuals for assignments and additional responsibilities.
  • Other practices that demonstrate leadership’s and/or organization’s commitment to individual employees.

Criteria 6: Enthusiastically Reinvest! - Organizational Commitment to the Community
The leader and leadership team transfer their ethical beliefs by their active engagement with their industry and the communities from which the organization derives its customers, workforce, vendors, investors, and governance.

The following are suggested ideas for demonstrating this principle (NOT a required list):

  • How leaders/employees participate in industry organizations and activities to promote best practices.
  • How employees are encouraged to, and recognized for, spending time in community service activities that the organization values.
  • Any contribution of funds, or in-kind services to community programs that is consistent with the organization’s values and character.
  • How the company’s advertising, operations, risk management, governance, and regulatory compliance behaviors are assessed against proven standards.
  • Proof of achievement with any industry benchmarks for high standards of business excellence.

Smaller companies may also consider:

  • In what ways does the company leader and/or employees engage with industry executives, associations or credentialing organizations to benchmark and stimulate self-improvement?

For questions and information on how your company can support these programs, please contact Shelley Polansky at 970-488-2037 or