Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Ethics - Do They Really Matter in Today's Business World?

There is a pervasive belief, in the world today, to get ahead in politics and business a person can't have principles. Some people have high moral fiber in their home life. They might even be pillars in the church. Yet, when it comes to business, they are unrecognizable as the same people. I have had managers tell me, ethics don't add to the bottom line. I have even been told to stop being childish, everyone compromises their ethics, sometime.

There are many opportunities in business today where we will be in a position to make a choice. In business, and in life, there are many forks in the road. It may appear to be the faster road to success, to take the road to doing something, we know in our hearts, is not right.

I believe that particular road is built on sand. It may feel solid at first, but as trials and tribulations happen the road quickly begins to disintegrate and success is lost. In leadership, it is even more important to have principles. When we teach and lead people, they will do as we do, not as we say. We would quickly become a leader of unprincipled people who will do anything unethical to succeed. This behavior, eventually, opens up the business to legal and regulator issues. Most of all, to the disappointment and distrust of the customers. This is very evident in the business of politics, today. Who can we trust and believe in?

In business, a reputation is everything. Not only will customers, eventually, mistrust and avoid an unethical company, but people talk. Word of mouth is a powerful thing. It can make, or break a company. It is said that when someone is happy with a product or service they will, on average, tell five other people. If they are unhappy with how they have been treated, they will tell eleven to sixteen people. Those eleven to sixteen people will, not only not do business with that company or person, they will tell others. It doesn't take long to ruin a reputation. Soon the business is gone.

We have to strive to be right, in our ethics, as well as our customer service, 100% of the time. When you are a leader of people, those people are putting it on the line for your company and you every single day. They are assuming, you know what is right and in their best interest. We have to know from the very beginning what is right and wrong. Our lives depend on it.

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