TTLS S2 5 | Power Of Values

G. Richard Shell is a global thought leader and senior faculty member at one of the world’s leading business schools, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Chair of Wharton’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, the largest department of its kind in the world.

 

This episode is important because we discussed toxic leadership and how it connects to his new book, The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career.

The Toxic Leadership Podcast

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Dr. Kevin Sansberry II is a behavioral scientist and executive coach with expertise in toxic leadership, human capital strategy, and creating inclusive cultures of belonging to enhance organization performance. Over the years, Kevin has focused on providing research-informed solutions in various settings such as higher education, nonprofit, sales, and corporate environments.

 

Follow KEVRA: The Culture Company on LinkedIn to keep up with your favorite behavioral scientist, Dr. Sansberry.

 

KEVRA: The Culture Company is specifically designed and optimized for leaders who are experiencing turnover, low employee morale, and seek to move the needle further with their initiatives. Our organizational culture and inclusion strategies are a leading consulting service that helps you gain increased retention, increased productivity, and a reputation as an inclusive organization, and unlike competitors, our services are underpinned with unique research and experience in the field of toxic organizational culture and how to create inclusive environments that stick.

 

Have a question for Dr. Sansberry? Visit askdrkev.com to send your leadership and organizational-related questions.

 

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The Power Of Values, An Interview With Expert And Author Richard Shell

This episode is with G. Richard Shell. Dr. Shell is a global thought leader and senior faculty member at one of the world’s leading business schools, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Chair of Wharton’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, the largest department of its kind in the world.

This episode is important because we discuss toxic leadership and how it connects to his new book, The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career. This phenomenal book addresses an increasingly urgent problem in nowadays workforce. Standing up for core values, such as honesty, fairness, personal dignity and justice when the pressure is on to look the other way. Let’s get to it.

I am super excited to have Richard Shell. How are you?

Kevin, thank you. It’s wonderful to be here. I appreciate you asking me.

TTLS S2 5 | Power Of Values

The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career

I’m really happy you’re here and getting to cross paths with you. I got your book, The Conscience Code. I’m excited to dig into that and talk more about your inspiration and how that applies to the workplace. Before we get into that, I want to give the audience the opportunity to learn a little bit about yourself and how you came to be.

I’m a Professor. I’m the Chair of an Academic Department at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. It’s where Elon Musk went to school. We have some distinguished alums. I got here by a long route. My dad was in the military. I grew up all over the world following him. In my early twenties, I happen to be of a generation that was challenged by the Vietnam War as a social issue. I actually broke with my parents. I became a conscientious objector and a pacifist that war a resistor.

Early in my life, I had a values conflict. That’s what this book is about. It’s about handling values conflict. This is deeply personal for me. I joined the faculty warden after having about 6 or 8 careers. I was everything from a bricklayer to a social worker, to a world traveler and I was in a rock band. Finally, landed at 37 in an Assistant Professor job at Wharton in our Legal Studies Department. That’s the group I Chair now.

We have a required course for MBAs on Responsibility. This book, The Conscience Code is based on what I teach in that course. Hopefully, trying to give our MBA students a set of value-based approaches to leadership, not just deadline-based approaches to leadership. Hopefully, create the conditions where they won’t be toxic leaders. We try to help them think about how to not just get things done but get things done the right way.

I love the emphasis on the values piece. Focusing on values is more proactive than just reacting to whatever is in your environment. This is the Toxic Leadership show so I do want to hear what is your experience with toxic leadership whether that’s through research, being a practitioner or personal experience. Tell me your experience with that construct.

The motivating activity that got me into the book was toxic leadership. Hopefully, not because I am one but because my MBA students, as part of this course have to share examples from their professional careers between college and graduate school of environments in which they were asked to do things they knew were wrong or look away while others did things they knew were wrong.

Listening to their stories, I just became deeply aware of how many toxic offices there are. The stories I heard, I have a student who was on an engagement in a consulting firm, they were propositioned by a client for sexual activity. They said, no. They went to their boss and said, “Give me some feedback. This is pretty awkward. This is what I did.” The boss said, “Go back and make the client happy. It’ll give us more business.”

If that’s not a toxic environment, I don’t know what is. You’re being pimped by your boss to the clients. The people who’ve been screamed at, yell at, told that there’s only one right answer to an analysis, it was supposed to be about discovering the truth or what’s legal. That office shout and got so loud that people were walking by in nearby hallways stopped because they were concerned for the safety of this person. After the third round of being bullied in this way, they ended up one day taking a break for lunch and they never went back to the office. They just kept walking and landed in the front row of my course.

The solution to toxic workplaces and leaders is to find mechanisms and accountability structures to create a positive, energized workplace.

This person was a full-fledged lawyer at a big law firm in California. They walked out of that job because they just couldn’t handle it. It was too brutal for them. What’s really been the story for me is I had no idea that these students who are some of the most talented students in the world, when it comes to credentials and all that stuff had been the victims of these toxic workplaces.

At the retail level, this is not people who were involved in some corporate scandal or some major whistleblowing, wrongdoing or something. These were just people trying to live life and get through the day. They couldn’t handle it. I call them ethics refugees. They’re people who left their jobs either trying to fix it or just being overwhelmed by it. They use grad school as a way to reset their direction. That they could get out of the swamp, get to some higher ground and then try to see where they wanted to plant their careers and make the difference they want to make in the world.

With a constructive environment, a positive workplace, not one of these toxic places. I loved being on your show. I’m really a witness to how pervasive this is and how little it’s discussed. A lot of people are suffering from this and they’re suffering in silence. They don’t have the support. They’re scared to speak up. They’re worried about losing their paycheck and their health benefits for their families. This is hidden damage that’s being done to a lot of people.

As you’ve probably realized from a legal standpoint, there are a lot of toxic things that occur that don’t meet that threshold of illegal. There is a lack of supports or avenues that people can even take at times because it’s not illegal to be a jerk or that yelling you mentioned somebody could try to make a case of it but it’s not really obvious.

Also, a lot of it comes down to who you believe. The boss will say, “I didn’t do it.” Now, where are you? You’re saying, “What?” The people who are going to behave in toxic ways are going to be happy to lie about it.

It’s very common. From the ethics standpoint, in your research and in the work that you do, do you see a difference in any way whether it’s how somebody feels or how they respond to it? Do you see a difference between an ethics violation that’s interpersonal ethics violation versus a compliance type of ethics violation? Are there any differences that one should be aware of?

They’re all a part of the same cloth. Maybe there are different strands in the weaving. When you have an office that bullies are running it, people who disrespect others, harass others, make themselves taskmasters without any boundaries. You also have the same people who are very likely to be the ones who cut the corners, who misrepresent the data, who are looking for how to look good, even though the project isn’t actually delivering what they promised.

There’s a pretty seamless continuum between treating people and the work badly. It’s not a surprise to me that the same person would have both problems. We call one, a well-being problem for the employees or some office morale problem. We called the other compliance. The solution to both of those is the same. The solution is to find the mechanisms and the accountability structures to create positive, energized workplaces.

How did you come to write the book The Conscience Code?

It came right out of that course. I was actually in class one day and we’re having this class where people will share their stories of things that they’ve been able to push back on and things that they haven’t. I try to give people a chance to get both kinds of stories. This one woman told a story and it hit me that there was a missing link in the literature that people have available to help them with this problem.

Her dream job out of college was working in the fashion industry. She had succeeded in getting a job in the fashion industry at a pretty high-level branding company. I don’t know which one it was but she was very satisfied with where she landed. After about a year, she was at a client dinner. She was sitting next to her boss at the dinner table in a restaurant. Her boss put his hand up her leg.

She did what you would expect a young woman of character to do. She brushed it off and then he put it back. She got up and went to the ladies’ room to try to break the cycle. She went back, sat down and he did it a third time. She got up and asked to change seats with someone who was a couple of people across. It was a little awkward but the person did it. She got away from this guy.

TTLS S2 5 | Power Of Values

Power Of Values: Many people suffer from toxic workplaces in silence. They don’t have the support, and they’re scared to speak up, worried about losing their paycheck and health benefits for their families.

 

She was telling the story. The fashion industry is a culture that supports that misbehavior. It’s a little like the entertainment industry can be. She concluded this story by saying, “I knew what I was going to do. I wasn’t going to put up with this but I didn’t know what to do next. I didn’t know whether I should report this guy but he was the boss. What would happen to my career if I did? Who would I talk to? What would happen? I just did nothing. Ultimately, I left and came to grad school.”

I thought to myself, “Here’s this person she’s a very effective professional. She knows she’s got her values. There’s no doubt in her mind about her point of view. She lacked tools, frameworks and ways to think about how to take this and advance it. Instead of telling this story, 2 or 3 years later and feeling remorse and regret that she didn’t do something to protect the next victim of this guy. This is not going to be the last time this guy does this. She is escaping but she’s left behind a predator who’s got no brakes.

I thought I’m going to try to write a book that is going to give people the tools to how to think about what to do. It’s not about what’s right and wrong. A lot of business ethics books are, “I’m going to tell you what’s right and wrong.” I don’t think people have a lot of trouble knowing what’s right and wrong. I think people have trouble in organizations knowing what to do about what’s wrong and how to try to fix it. Be a force for good instead of a passive force or a victim of this behavior, feeling powerless to try to be an agent for change.

The Conscience Code is a tactical playbook for people of conscience. This is a big idea in a book. I don’t talk about whistleblowers. I don’t talk about victims of legal misconduct. I talk about people of conscience. A lot of us are very comfortable with that term. We have people of conscience in our lives, spiritual communities, professional communities, we know people who put values first.

Give that name, people of conscience. If you identify yourself as a person of conscience and ask, “What would a person of conscience do in this situation?” It calls you to be more proactive, engaged and thoughtful about how to advance for solutions instead of retreat into your fears. That’s what the book is about. That’s what I try to deliver.

That makes a lot of sense related to those people of conscience frame. A lot of times when you have an organization, people tend to sign the HR handbook every year, sometimes they don’t. Do they memorize what the process is for reporting? Do they memorize all that? No. We have to treat people as people of conscience and not people of compliance because they’re not.

If you identify yourself as a person of conscience, you’re more proactive, engaged, and thoughtful about how to advance toward solutions instead of retreat into your fears.

That’s a great distinction. People of compliance are people who are following rules but not bringing values into them. People of conscience are people who bring values to the rules.

To be honest, people of conscience will be your best people to have because they’ll help you evolve your rules as your rules get played out from a time standpoint. You learn more, not all rules are good.

It’s also the case in most firms and it’s rare that a whole company is a toxic company. The problem for the firm is how do we take care of these offices and divisions that have been taken over by toxic bosses and toxic teams, empower the people who are people of conscience to help us clean it up. Bring the power of the company behind the right side of these issues. The company doesn’t want this most of the time, it’s just that it’s hidden. People are too scared.

You’re going to need these people of conscience because they’re going to operate behind closed doors. Whereas HR or legal shows up, everybody’s on their best behavior in most cases. You’re going to need the people of conscience, who are truly the change agents of that toxicity.

I just like to emphasize this the notion of a person of conscience doesn’t mean that you’re the person who has to lead the charge, that you have to be the point of the spear, that you’re going to throw yourself off the cliff. A person of conscience is just someone who’s secure, that values come first. They then have to bring self-awareness of their position, skills, personality, abilities to manage conflict and personal conflict.

Not everybody is really good at handling confrontation. That’s part of the reason that the bullies get away with it. They’re just overbearing and people just don’t have the personality to push back. A person of conscience is just, “Let’s put the values first and then let’s see what I can do with my skills, my position, my personality to enlist others toward forming a solution.”

One of the most important concepts in this book, I have a whole chapter on it, called the Power of Two. One of the problems that people face when nothing gets done is they feel isolated, alone and they think they are the only ones who can act. The Power of Two is the insight that, “You’ve got to find the one person first. Someone you can talk to, share with, you can get counsel from who will be able to encourage you, give you confidence and remind you you’re not crazy.

There’s a lot of social science research on the pressure that people put on others using authority or peer pressure, classic social science experiments. One of the parts that I talk about in the book that isn’t so well-known is that the same scientist who documented, how authority pressure and peer pressure are exerted and how powerful it is. They also discovered the escape conditions, which will relieve that pressure and the escape conditions for both authority and peer pressure is finding one ally.

I’ve never thought about that. That also resonates with me because, in my very own research, I did against abusive supervision. I found that the perception of coworker support actually helps buffer people from abusive supervision and toxic workplaces. That does resonate with the results that I was able to find in some studies that I’ve done. We were talking about the individual so let’s jump to the organization. What’s the missing link in programs to create ethical cultures in organizations?

The missing link is an emphasis on the individual. A lot of corporate compliance structures are systemic. They create a hotline, handbooks, corporate codes, mission statements, what we value and our set of Ten Commandments and all that stuff. If you push down one level to surveys about the employees’ responses to these compliance systems, even the reputationally ethical company is, as many as 40% of the employees don’t trust the system.

That’s in a system that’s in a company that’s trying to create a reputation for being ethical. Imagine the average company, you’ve got maybe 80% of the people who don’t trust the system. They don’t think they’ll be protected. They don’t think that they report anybody will do anything. When you’re in that kind of a mindset, it gets underreported, under handled. Even when it does get reported, there’s still a certain percentage of times when it lands on someone’s desk and they lack the skills or the courage to advance it because the stakes are too high.

The missing link is let’s enlist the people on the front lines, the nurses, the school teachers, the employees who are doing the shelf work at Walmart to be people of conscience. To speak their values and to do it effectively. That’s where some strategies and how organizations work. Some tactics that you can use that will protect yourself while you’re doing this and not expose yourself unnecessarily to retaliation.

Let’s give them the toolkit. Create the space where the system, once it hears can respond. It could be that the compliance system works, maybe the hotline works, maybe the HR approach to this happens to work in a given case. It’s usually a little more complicated than that. I would say instead of having a compliance culture, you have a conscience culture.

That’s exactly what came to mind for me. Having that conscience culture, it’s instilling agency in the people who work there. Instead of putting the power into the hotline or the policy, which we know are underreported.

TTLS S2 5 | Power Of Values

Power Of Values: The first person to speak frees up evidence that others are hiding because they’re afraid.

 

I would say one last thing to throw on top of that is that we view the people who are people of conscience as leaders. You can lead at any level of the organization. A union organizing effort can start with someone on the shop floor, who’s an ordinary person, who is just as angry about the conditions they’re working in. They become a leader because they are powered by that passion that they have to try to correct some wrongs and having to see people being treated.

A person of conscience effectively, which means they don’t have to do it all themselves, is a leader. We have to salute them as leaders. We ought to celebrate them as leaders and the firms ought to look at these initiatives by people as leadership signals. These are the people we want to promote. When you’re a values-based leader then you can have the opportunity to create a value-based workplace. That’s going to be an energy source for everyone who works there.

It’s going to be more productive. People are going to be more fulfilled. Everybody’s going to look at that unit and go, ” I wish I could work there.” The next thing you know, someone comes in and says, “Could you tell us how you did that?” Pretty soon, you’re getting more responsibility and you’re a more effective person in every part of your life.

You’re ultimately modeling the right behaviors.

You’re modeling behaviors to people who are skilled at enacting but maybe it’s in a different part of their life. They may be a person of conscience and an effective advocate for their children in their community. They may be quite effective in their community meetings or their spiritual community. They just need to bring that mindset to work.

I know it’s daunting, people think, “The deck stacked against us and the people in power are going to come after us.” There’s a realistic fear that we have to be really mindful and careful about. That’s no reason for despair. Humans are humans in every part of our social matrix. A person of conscience has the ability and the agency.

They have to be self-aware. They have to know themselves and then think about who the right people are to bring along with them. Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Supreme Court Justice who died in 2020, said something along these lines, “Do what you think is right but do it in a way that will lead others to follow you.”

Do what you think is right, but do it in a way that will lead others to follow you.

When we think about gaining those followers, getting that critical mass, shifting the culture and fixing that workplace that’s toxic, how can I combat pilot’s tactical playbook help you through that?

This is one of my favorite transfers of knowledge. We, Professors, sometimes read a lot of different pieces of literature and one of the values that we create as we bring something from one domain and use it at another. Combat pilots have a tactical playbook they follow. It’s called the OODA loop. When you’re engaged in aerial combat, the OODA loop is basically the way you can stay one step ahead of your counterpart, when you’re in a dog fight with another fighter pilot.

It stands for O Observe, O Orient, D Decide, A Act. The loop is to see what they do, make adjustments and then start the OODA loop over. It’s a continuous tactical loop. In the context of disputes over values at work, what I’ve done is adjusted that. The first thing is observed. That’s the same. You got to observe, there are values, conflicts ahead of you. A violation is occurring. You’re not making it up. Your conscience is feeling the effects of misbehavior or someone pressuring you to do something wrong. You have to face it. You have to first recognize it.

It’s surprising how easy it is to rationalize that you’re not seeing it or you wish you hadn’t seen it. You just want to say like in the Bible, “Let this cup pass from me. I don’t want to be the one.” Observe first and do it clear-eyed. Second, own rather than orient, which is what a pilot needs to do. I say own the conflict that is, “This problem is something I’m going to take responsibility for.” It’s not something I’m going to say, “I’m too low in the organization. It’s a little thing. It’s just this once. Everybody does it.” All that stuff that comes up when you try to disown a conflict at work. You’ve got to own it.

That doesn’t mean you know what to do yet, it just means, “This is something I have to do something about,” ownership. The third is to decide. That’s what the power of two comes in. Talk to some people. First thing is to reach out. Even if it’s someone at home, share, verbalize, express, testify to it so that you can begin to see it as something that you can use words to describe. It’s not just a feeling.

In the decision part, you survey the options, “What should I do? Can I talk to a mentor? Should I bring it up at the next team meeting? Should I go talk to this person who’s the issue? Maybe they don’t even know they’re the issue and they’re a good person but they just are unconsciously behaving badly? Their themselves are under pressure that is driving them to behavior that they would be ashamed of it if they knew what’s the effect it was having.”

Sometimes you can bring it to the person. You just have to think whether that’s the best move. You survey your options about what to do, what actions to take then act. There’s the A. The act is not the one and only act. The act is, “I’m going to bring this to the attention of my mentor and loop.” What happens in the meeting with the mentor? What did they inform you about? How do they share options with you? Maybe they’ll take some ownership. Maybe they can bring other people into it. You want to reach out maybe they’ll recommend you bring some other people along.

Maybe there needs to be more evidence. We need to find another victim that this person has harassed, bullied, sexually assaulted or whatever. It’s an interesting problem especially toxic workplaces where you can have bad stuff going on and nobody’s saying anything about it. Everybody who’s the victim thinking that everybody else thinks it’s okay.

The bystander effect.

As soon as one person speaks up then everybody suddenly gets permission to say, “Me too.” You’ve got a majority or a coalition of people who can testify, “This happened to me, too.” We’ve got some evidence that’s not just my word against this person’s word. We have several people saying this is going on. That’s going to be a lot more persuasive. They’re going to have to pay more attention. There’s more to tell HR or the compliance system. This notion that the first person to speak is actually freeing up a lot of evidence that others are hiding because they’re afraid.

The OODA loop is really interesting. I love the way you’ve applied something outside of your base literature that’s innovative. I loved hearing about that and definitely can see how that can apply to the quick actions we need to make in the workplace when we’re in those toxic environments. I appreciate that.

It’s really helpful to have a framework to help you remember. The first thing is the emotion like, “This person is yelling at me. I’m seeing a huge expense account abuse going on.” or whatever the emotions are. If you have something like the OODA loop to remember then you go, “This might be a chance to think about the OODA loop. You then automatically start thinking about the steps to take action instead of just retreating and feeling pressured and having this emotion of withdrawal. In the OODA loop, you just go, “I’m going to be the combat pilot. Let’s see where we go.”

That’s even applicable when it’s like, “What if we put that stuff in our policy just to reinforce it even more and what if we put that into how we act? How do we frame this into the culture fully?” When the chips are down, which will it be career or conscience?

TTLS S2 5 | Power Of Values

Power Of Values: How you see yourself is the most critical thread throughout your life because you’ll look back on how you acted at the end of your life.

 

When the chips are down, I have a long-term view of a career. If most people change jobs at least twelve times over the course of their career. It’s important that you distinguish between a job, a career and what I call a call. I’ve had all three. I’ve been a waiter in a restaurant. I’ve been a door-to-door salesperson for an installation company in rural Virginia. I know what a job is, a job is you try to do well and you get a paycheck, it’s not something you want to see yourself doing forever.

If it is, it’s just something you do so you can support your family and do the other part of your life. It does have something more continuous going on. When it comes to career or conscience, if you are a person of conscience, I want to emphasize that again because identity, who you are, how you see yourself is the most important thread throughout your life.

At the end of your life, when you’re reflecting back on who you are, what you’ve accomplished, what you’ve done for your loved ones and your community and what service you’ve been to others on the planet, you’re not going to be thinking a whole lot about the moments when you retreated from a conflict. Also, when you withdrew from unethical behavior and just did nothing about it. You’re going to want to be looking at those moments when you’re proud of how you handle it. Even if you failed, you just try you. You witnessed for the right.

If it’s either-or. I think about a career as a long-term thing as opposed to just it’s this job. In the long run, your career will be richer. You’ll have better workmates. You’ll have more satisfying, fulfilling things to do. If you are a person of conscience first and a salesperson second, a business manager, an auditor or whatever it is you do. Don’t put that first and person of conscience second. Put person of conscience first then corporate role, organizational role.

Go back to thinking about yourself, if you have kids and you’re at the grocery store. Say you got a young child that’s with you like a three-year-old, they’re immobile. You’re in an aisle and a stranger comes up to you and says, “I’d like you to go over to this other part of the grocery store, I’ll take care of your kid.” You’re going to go, “No, thank you. I’m a parent before I’m a consumer.”

You know exactly where your priorities are. They going to think this person is weird and you’re going to stand with your kid. We bring that same spirit of priorities to your work values. When someone approaches you and says, “We need you to overlook this accounting error, we need you to help us cheat on the books or we need you to help us by not reporting this harassment someone’s suffering.”

It’s not even close. “No, I’m a person of conscience and a person of conscience wouldn’t do that. I’m not going to do it.” Now, how are we going to solve the problem? That’s a different question. Maybe we can solve it really beautiful in a way that is not going to result in anyone losing their job or anybody having to go through a long grievance procedure or whatever. How are we going to solve it? OODA loop. It’s non-negotiable the principles and the values that are involved.

One of the things I want to do is thank you first. I really appreciate hearing this very practical way to handle these times, where morals and your conscience come into play. Before we go, one thing I want to do is let’s leave our audience with some words of wisdom. What would you have to leave for them?

If you are a person of conscience first and a salesperson second, your career will be richer in the long run. You’ll have better workmates and more fulfilling things to do.

I would say the most important thing is bring your conscience to work.

You have a conscience and you’re using it, bring it to work. Bring the commitment to your values. Bring a commitment to being a person of conscience. A lot of the rest of it will take care of itself.

We use our conscience in other avenues so why not work. How can people reach you and get to learn more about what you’re working on?

My full name is G. Richard Shell. I have a website GRichardShell.com. This is my fifth book, all the books that I’ve written a global bestseller on negotiation and persuasion. Got another book on the search for long-term success and how do you define success for yourself. I would urge people to check out. For some of the assessments I used, I have a Conflict Styles Assessment to help people figure out how they handle that thing. Those are on the websites. You can actually take them on the website.

It’s a good way to sort of taste some of the self-awareness that the books try to provide. There’s the book itself, The Conscience Code is on Amazon.com. It’s on Barnes & Noble. It’s widely available. It was published June 8th. I’m on the Wharton faculty. The Wharton School’s website it’s pretty easy to find, Richard Shell, Wharton School. That’s where I am.

I really appreciate your conversation and the amount of insight knowledge you have. Thank you for all of this. I’m sure our audience would appreciate it

Thank you, Kevin. It’s really been a pleasure talking with you.

Thank you for reading.

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About Richard Shell

TTLS S2 5 | Power Of ValuesRichard Shell is a global thought leader and senior faculty member at one of the world’s leading business schools, the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He serves as Chair of Wharton’s Legal Studies and Business Ethics Department, the largest department of its kind in the world. His forthcoming book, The Conscience Code: Lead with Your Values. Advance Your Career. [June 8, HarperCollins Leadership] addresses an increasingly urgent problem in today’s workplace: standing up for core values such as honesty, fairness, personal dignity, and justice when the pressure is on to look the other way. Shell is a skilled communicator across many diverse audiences. His students have included everyone from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 CEOs to FBI hostage negotiators, Navy SEALs, and United Nations peacekeepers. In addition, he has worked extensively with public school teachers, labor unions, nurses, and hospital administrators to help them become more effective professionals.

Shell’s previous award-winning books include Bargaining for Advantage: Negotiation Strategies for Reasonable People (3rd Edition, Penguin, 2019), The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas (with Mario Moussa, Penguin/Portfolio, 2007), and Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success (Portfolio, 2013). Collectively, they have sold over 500,000 copies in 17 foreign language editions. He has written for and/or been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Fast Company, Inc., Financial Times, U.S. News & World Report, Time, USA Today, HuffPost, Real Simple, Bottom Line Personal, and Men’s Health.

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