Why to invoke moral code quite often?

Counting cash at banks might enhance our honesty but its repetitive nature of the job makes it prone to mistakes.


Have you ever wondered the effect of the signboard “जेब कतरो से सावधान” (beware of pickpocketing) at various places?

It’s so that we get primed and take self-caution. Precisely this why we know “Honesty is the best policy” but we are not primed about it from time to time hence, we tend to forget, to be honest, and happen to be a bit dishonest.

Just for example, robbery in the US accounts for $525 million  while workplace theft is a whopping $600 billion, yes the billion B.

So to curb dishonesty and corruption we need to evoke the moral code quite often for better priming and the best will happen when we evoke it at the right time before the temptation.

Usually for small things our honesty-compass doesn’t even bother, it gets activated only when the big transgression is there.

Even if we have no chance to get caught, we still don’t become wildly dishonest. Surprisingly working with cash makes us more honest. The more away from cash, we are, the more we rationalise our dishonesty.

Counting cash at banks might enhance our honesty but its repetitive nature of the job makes it prone to mistakes. And with time, it becomes boring and non-meaningful.

So labour with is repetitive, boring and non-meaningful i.e. non-creative technical grind does not give long term happiness. Basically, even a small meaning can take us a long way.

So employers should focus on describing jobs as how meaning is derived from the job. As people want meaning and
appreciation by others.

Work ignored to be seen later is felt and meant as work rejected at once. So appreciating and meaning make the labour fruitful.

If we are ignored for long, we are filled with regret for being in the situation and revenge keeps boiling in. We basically seek an apology and next set of positive action.

Failing to get that, we feel pain and seek to reciprocate it. Even a small gesture of apology and next fair steps can help to build a harmonious society.

An apology is hard if we start thinking about it wearing a rational hat. It should start with empathy and emotion.

Empathy and emotion are easy to illicit when individualised… face/names matter. Closeness, vividness matters.

Rational thoughts block empathy so next time you going to pitch something, start by catalysing fantasy… not the size of a market.

Our emotions are fleeting: while we go through short-term (strong) emotions, Decisions made in due course have a long-term effect. So go slow in-the-heat-of-moment to let it cool off.

We don’t do rational decisions rather we do rationalise our decisions.

We do look out for a piece of evidence that support our actions and there is a name for it too, ‘confirmation bias’. So instead of falling prey to this bias we should look for some reality test for anti-thesis check.

Rationalising decisions instead of rational decisions is a mental shortcut for the brain, the problem comes when rationalising crosses its limits and gives us hopes of unrealistic optimism even when the stakes are high… This over-confidence costs us dearly.

In those times and otherwise too, by practice we should nudge to remind ourselves of a bad event.

This brings the control to the brain to come to grips with sort of things that might-go-wrong… So considering ‘how may things can go wrong?’

Helps to keep overconfidence in check?

Shekhar Chandra is an IIT-Delhi alumnus. He has over a decade of entrepreneurial experience and leadership excellence. He is also a member of Big Wire team. Reach him at YouLEAD)



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