On a recent trip to Dubai with my family, I forgot my camera in a taxi on the way to a friend's place.
I panicked - new country, whom to contact, what to do!Time - 05th May 2017, 12:30PM.
I narrated what happened to our hosts! To our surprise, they calmed us down and told us that we would get it back the next day! They made a few calls to the taxicab company and we were assured that we would get the camera back. I was still not sure. Time - 05th May 2017, 1:00PM
The next day we got a call from our hotel reception, a cab driver was there to meet us. Guess what, he had come to personally hand over our camera and did not expect anything in return. It was an eye-opener for me. Time - 06th May 2017, 1:00PM
It took all of 24 hours for us to get our camera back in - an unknown country, unknown cab driver, unknown passengers. Despite all the unknowns we got it back.
I paused to reflect and ponder on the following:
Honesty or on a wider basis "values", is it in the DNA (culture) of the person (cab driver) or place(Dubai) or a combination of both? It surely was not the former only, otherwise how come our friends (residents in Dubai) were so sure we would get it back! If it was the latter, then how has the desert kingdom been able to build this culture among its people (residents, immigrant workers, police) etc. Did I get the camera back because of cab driver's individual moral compass or do the laws in Dubai promote/enforce honesty?
Expanding the context to an organization, is it possible to build a culture or a framework that promotes honesty? If so, how? Is it a function of leadership only or are there other ways to promote a values based culture? What are the boundaries in today's multinational operating environments with diverse cultures where business is conducted in myriad manners? How does an organization promote these values within their ecosystem (partners, clients, employees)? Would "Trust" as a commodity in business go up if the ecosystem supports/promotes such values?