Sir Richard Lambert was appointed to his role as head of the new banking standards commission last year.

With the support of Britain’s biggest banks, the overarching objective of the commission is to restore trust in financial organisations. One of the proposed mechanisms for doing this is to create greater transparency by producing a league table of lenders’ ethical behaviour.

Whilst this is laudable in principle, the exact metrics that are used to assess ethical behaviour may be difficult to construct. Ethics is a complicated subject at the best of times, in the context of business, it can get even trickier.

How one quantifies business ethics is difficult, with all kinds of relative perspectives muddying the water. Reputation is similarly hard to quantify in a corporate context, but at least it is something that we can ‘feel’ at an individual level.

Indeed, Sir Richard Lambert’s commission is set to emphasise the importance of individual responsibility as another key element in rebuilding trust in the banking sector.

This is based on the generally held consensus that personal reputation can act as a guiding force for good, not least because it is driven by an innate desire to be seen to do the right thing

From an organisational perspective, regardless of sector, it is important that businesses focus on both elements of reputation – corporate and individual. At the heart of this debate sits the question: who matters to us, and what matters to them?

Only a detailed assessment of your business and the environment in which it operates can provide the answer to this question. Understanding the risks and opportunities facing you both at a corporate and individual level is the starting point for implementing the necessary safeguards to protect and defend your reputation.