The Price of Ethics
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We all want to believe that practicing good ethics in both our
and professional lives is the right thing to do; that we should not
wrong, cheat, or defraud others. The reality though is we
have allowed unscrupulous ethical practices to creep into our lives
like a vine that starts at the root and, if left unchecked, slowly
climbs the tree and eventually strangles it. The current
recession is indicative of how we are all having to pay a hefty price
for ethical corruption, e.g.; companies are closing, people are out of
work, houses have been foreclosed, retirement funds are depleted
causing people to work longer and creating a crowded job market for
young people to enter. Some would say the recession is a
simple matter of economics and nothing else. Nonsense.
The recession was created by greed, which lead to bad lending
investment practices, followed by a shell game for hiding losses, along
with lies and cover-ups. The problem became so massive that
all the king's horses, and all the king's men, couldn't put Humpty
Actually, the recession has done us a favor by uncovering the
about ethics in this country and hopefully it will be a wake-up call
for reform. The lesson here is simple: It costs
more to follow a path of unethical business practices than to be honest
and do what is right. A "fast buck" is just that, a quick way
of making money but it will inevitably cost business and reputations
later on (ask a couple of lending institutions if you don't believe me).
The Media and unsophisticated teaches us that unethical
socially acceptable, even "cool," and by doing so they are sewing the
seeds of our destruction. I don't see myself as a religious fanatic,
but it seems to me that we have lost our way and need to redefine our
ethical values and teach them in the office, the classroom, and in the
home. People will undoubtedly dismiss such a notion as
ridiculous, that their values are just fine thank you, but are
they? Do we truly preach such things as honesty, integrity,
trust, etc.? Current indicators would suggest otherwise.
Some would suggest that you can only afford to practice ethics
robust economy (when you have the time and resources to do
so). I contend otherwise, that good ethical practices are
required for rebuilding an economy. Ethics, quite simply, is
good business; it represents satisfied customers, referrals, repeat
business, and reduced operating costs. Unethical practices
simply sets up a collision course with disaster, maybe not immediately,
but inevitable nonetheless.
And God, No, don't let the government get involved with
ethics. That would be like allowing the inmates to run the
TIM'S CRASH COURSE ON ETHICS 101
We all know what is right and wrong, but ethics requires a
strength and character, something that is somewhat uncommon in this day
and age. I'm not going to tell you to keep your word, or to be honest
and lead an upright and respectable life; You should know this
already. The question is, do you have the fortitude to do so?
Perhaps these simple guidelines will help:
- Learn to say, "No." It is an incredibly powerful
word and something we do not say enough of. At times it may
seem awkward and uncomfortable to say, but learn to say "No"
- Avoid politics. The more entangled you become in
them, the more your principles are compromised.
- Go the extra mile, avoid the temptation to take the easy
way out. Short cuts may seem nice, but following the right path is more
rewarding in the long run.
- Write a code of conduct defining how employees are to
behave on the job.
- Recognize and reward ethical behavior; Penalize bad
- Report indiscretions, either internally within your
company, or to external sources, such as the Better Business
Bureau. As a tip, make sure it is well documented.
Don't want to report it? Then don't complain or whine about
it to others (shutup).
- Participate in and promote discussions on ethics, either in
the office, at home, in school, in civic groups, on the Internet, or
wherever. Raise the consciousness on ethics.
- Last but not least, lead by example. Become a
role model for how you want others to behave.
Copyright © 2009 Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Tim Bryce is a writer and management consultant located in Palm Harbor,
He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-06-08 12:43:33 in Personal Articles