A key element that many businesses are now putting in the forefront is
something called ethics. Although I was raised in an era of ethics and
integrity, they’ve gotten lost in the last few years. Now they are making
a comeback and I’d like to ask you where you stand on the subject.
Before you get upset at me for thinking you might not be completely honest
in all your business dealings, you have to think about a few things. If
you overcharged a customer by mistake and he didn’t catch it, would you
call him and tell him about it? If you knew a competitor might do a better
job for a customer and charge them even less that you could, would you tell
her about it? If you caught a team member fudging some numbers to make
something more salable, would you report that person?
I know your immediate reaction is to say of course, but when it actually
happens, what do you do? In my mind, there is absolutely no justification
for not being honest. Do you say something when it is hurtful or spiteful–
of course not. But there are many instances where we can get away with
something and o one would be the wiser, except for us.
And in my mind that is where ethics starts and stops. We must lead the way
for everyone else in our organization. We represent our company and people
look to us for role behavior and a person to model themselves after. Remember
the expression, “walk your talk.” This is where it is the most important.
Ethics state who you are. It determines what you do and how you do it. It
broadcasts to the world what you stand for. I know there are many hard and
difficult choices that you have to make on a daily basis, but if your decisions
are based on what is fair to all people involved, ethics will usually be
Sometimes there is not one clear answer. And of course, there are always
two sides to every story. This is where your mission and vision statement
become important. No, you don’t have to make them complicated, and no,
people don’t want them on your web site necessarily, but they do serve to
put people on notice as to your beliefs and purpose.
If you use them to guide your ethics, everything should be in perspective.