Why You Need a Code of Conduct

But be prepared for what? The Scouting official website explains: “Scouting is a values-based program with its own code of conduct. For almost a century, Scouting has instilled in young men the values and knowledge that they will need to become leaders in their communities and country. ”

It goes on: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” But having a code of conduct isn't just some “kids-in-a-club” thing…

Consider these writers and their books:

All these men and many others point to the power of having and living by a code of conduct.

Every person should have a personal code of conduct.

Living by a code of conduct enables you to:

  • Make the difficult decisions in advance. From time to time you face decisions that lap over into the “grey” areas of ethics and morality. What will you choose to do in those situations? Having a code of conduct makes those decisions easier. Because you've already determined in advance what you will and won't do. 

  • Become the person you want to become. Without a code of conduct to guide you, it's easy to be influenced by those who have no scruples. The downward slide begins innocently enough. But just one small compromise leads to another…and another…and another. Then one day you wake up, horrified at the person you've become.

  • Improve the quality of your life. Your quality of life has primarily to do with relationships. To build healthy relationships you need integrity. Where does integrity come from? Living by a code of conduct.

  • Live with purpose. Many get caught up in the rat race of life never considering where they're headed or why. Having and living by a code of conduct provides you with a true north. You've contemplated your life and how you want to live it. You've established your code of conduct and you measure your progress by it.

Here Are Some Helpful Practices for Creating Your Code of Conduct

  • Make it specific.
  • Design it with leading measures.
  • Be realistic.
  • Think it through.
  • Rehearse it twice a day.
  • Journal until your code becomes embedded as part of you.

Here’s my own Code of Conduct

  1. I ask on an hourly basis (or more), “God, what are you doing in this situation?”
  2. I always remember my own Agency, and take 100% ownership of my decisions.
  3. I follow my current morning and evening success rituals without fail.
  4. I engage in 60 minutes of vigorous physical exercise every day.
  5. I eat food, not too much, mostly plants.
  6. I never lie, I do not swear, and I do not gossip.
  7. I act in a manner that is cheerful, polite, and courteous.
  8. I progress daily toward helping 100 million people fulfill their God-given dreams.
  9. I write 1,000 words first thing every morning.
  10. I don't do email before noon, and I don’t have unscheduled business calls.
  11. I always leave 40% margin in my schedule as open space to receive opportunity.
  12. I go to bed and get up at the same time every day (8 p.m. and 4 a.m.)

I don't always fulfill my code. In some areas I am solid as a rock. In others, I am a work in progress. But that's the point, isn't it? Progress? I have a clear code of conduct to work toward.

One thing is for sure..

“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
– Zig Ziglar

[reminder]Do you have a Code of Conduct or Rules to Live By?[/reminder]

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at RayEdwards.com.

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  • Love your code. My wife and I came up with Family Values (similar to code of conduct).
    Love deeply
    Live greatfuly
    Laugh regularly
    Learn daily
    Lead graciously

    It’s why we want to pass on to our kids

  • Paul

    Greetings Ray, I love this! Do I have a code of conduct? Yes! Is it written down? No, but it will be shortly. You are so right. It is a slippery slope. In the past few years, I have seen leaders compromise themselves in the name of company goals. Unfortunately, I am not sure they can see it “blind ambition.” Human beings can justify almost anything to themselves. I have intentionally stepped down from a senior leadership role with my company due to the pressure for me to give my all to the company. That included the expectation of 60 hour work weeks. I also removed myself from the social circles of prominent, powerful members of my community who proved to be unscrupulous and unfaithful to their spouses. Has it hurt my social standing, yes, have I lost a lot economically? Yes, but, these were the right moves. Money is much easier to replace than integrity, family… Next step, write it down. It’s a pleasure to know there are examples such as yourself out there. I gained a lot from teachings and podcasts done by you, Dan Miller, Michael Hyatt, Joel Boggess and others during the darkest moments which have since passed. Thanks!