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    14 Replies Latest reply on Sep 6, 2009 5:12 PM by CoastalBaby

    Business Ethics

    25trekker1 Adventurer
      Please allow me to change one word in the question I posed regarding business ethics and integrity. I think it might clarify my original question. Are good business ethics and integrity the very foundation of a good business?
        • Re: Business Ethics
          Lighthouse24 Ranger

          I think it goes deeper than the foundation. Here's the analogy I use in one of my seminars: The "foundation" of a good business is a worthwhile purpose. The ethics and integrity of the owner/manager are the "land beneath" the foundation.

          If the owner/manager is unethical or lacks integrity, it's like building a house on sand or on a fault line -- it can be done, but a lot of specialized and costly engineering will have to be integrated into the structure itself. Likewise, a business with a dishonest owner or unethical management will spend a lot of time and money "engineering around" those shortcomings. Merely "hiding" them doesn't work for long. The structure will eventually collapse.

          In contrast, having ethical ownership/management is like building a house on solid bedrock -- it will support a wider array of plans and be less expensive to construct and maintain. Even so, you can't just lay a few cinder blocks in the dirt and build a big mansion on top of them -- a good foundation is essential. That foundation, for a business, is a worthwhile mission or purpose.

          Most small businesses don't fail because the owner is unethical or lacks integrity (a bad person). They fail because the business was built without a "blueprint" (bad planning) or because there was no compelling reason for the business to exist in the chosen marketplace (bad foundation). In the rare cases when an ethical issue does bring down a business, it's big news, like an earthquake.

          Business owners and managers are human -- we make mistakes (which means no matter how strong our ethics and how solid the ground, our businesses will experience tremors and "settling" over time). When there's a good foundation (worthwhile purpose), the result may be some ugly cosmetic damage like cracks in the walls, but the structure itself will remain sound and functional -- our business will survive. When we (as owners) handle something badly or behave in a way that someone might consider unethical, the fact that the business is fulfilling a worthwhile purpose for its customers, employees, and other stakeholders is what saves us -- and gives us a chance to repair the damage and continue on. (But if people think they can do without us, or if we repeatedly fail to address the problem, we're toast!)

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            • Re: Business Ethics
              25trekker1 Adventurer
              Before I proceed with my reply, I would like to know if it is permissable to delve into theology and spirituality in my answer. You have a "Good Day" and a "Happy Forever"! Thank You!
              • Re: Business Ethics
                xenopod Adventurer
                Wow that was a brilliant response.

                What happens when you are business that has all of that, but has had problematic interactions with other companies that were unethical? I am just curious how you would extend your analogy to that instance.
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                  • Re: Business Ethics
                    25trekker1 Adventurer
                    Thank you for the creative question! I sincerely hope that more members will be given the courage to participate in this discussion on ethics and integrity.
                    • Re: Business Ethics
                      Lighthouse24 Ranger

                      Xenopod, my extension of that analogy might be toxic waste leaching up into the soil under your foundation -- or better yet, how about some of those big ol' dirt-eating worms that were chasing Kevin Bacon around?

                      RUN for it? What do you mean, "RUN for it!" "Run for it" is not a plan. "Run for it" is what you do when the plan fails! - Tremors

                      Seriously, probably the second-most angry I've ever been in my life involved an unethical act on the part of an organization that my firm was partnered with in another city, so I appreciate the significance of your follow-up question. If you'd like to discuss a specific situation, lay it on us. If you'd rather not do it in a public forum, you can e-mail me (Doug) at the website listed in my profile.

                       


                      (And thanks for the compliment!)

                      • Re: Business Ethics
                        CoastalBaby Newbie
                        I am hoping someone can provide advice on this topic. I am having a continual problem with a local competitor. Ever since I opened my doors, they have repeatedly slandered myself and my company, spreading all sorts crazy stories, and recently I was informed that the business owner broke down in sobs while demading my marketing materials be taken down from another place of business. The word they used when letting me know was that this business owner seemed "obsessed" with myself personally and my business. This business owner seems to be doing whatever they can to harm my business by reporting my site to all the search engines to be removed, which in the long run I can have my site re-listed but the extent to which they are stooping, instead of focusing on their own business, is unbelievable.

                        Is there anything out there that I can do to protect myself and my business from this? To date I have ignored it as best I can, but it seems the less response they get, the more they escalate in their desperation to shut me down. Any advice???
                    • Re: Business Ethics
                      xeeker Wayfarer
                      I really hate that question! Ethics and integrity are, indeed the individual.

                      I will say this. If you are swimming with sharks, you may either be a pilot fish, keeping the shark clean, or you may be the shark (the bigger the more profitable).

                      As we have seen in the news, ethics seem to follow the "golden rule". "He who has all the gold makes all the rules".

                      It really depends on the business that you are in, sad to say. If you are in the construction indutry, there are only so many ethics and so much integrity that you can afford before you face bankruptcy. Price vs. value are the ethics that a business must live by in the perception of the customer. In the perception of finances, paying your bills as agreed is what keeps you alive. Your customers are going to dictate to you what ethics and integrity are worth. If you are dealing with a bunch of "scumbags", you will find your ethics and integrity changing to suit their demands, regardless of how unreasonable they may be.

                      You may currently be young and idealistic, but real life will change your perceptions.
                        • Re: Business Ethics
                          25trekker1 Adventurer
                          I am now 68 years and almost 1 and 1/2 months on this earth. Now I think it is time to pose another question which will hopefully lead to the correct answer to my "amended by one word question". The question is as follolws: Is the customer (consumer) alway right? Hint, this is a Yes or No question. Now that sounds simple, does'nt it? By the way , only one person so far has given the right answer to my original and first question on this site. I still do not know the definition of a thread. If there are any mistakes in my typing or thinking, please feel free to comment. Sometimes, a good insult is good for me because it makes me angry and teaches me to control my anger. I do not forgive easily, but when I do it is from my heart. Thank you God for being God. Have a "Good Day" everyone and a "Happy Forever"!
                            • Re: Business Ethics
                              Iwrite Pioneer
                              I strongly believe that ethics and morals matter. I think Lighthouse's answer was so dead on that there isn't much to add. A first!! (Me keeping it short)

                              A "thread" is a discussion that is created by a question like yours - all the answers or responses after your post are considered a "thread."

                              No. The customer is not always right. Do you want examples?
                              • Re: Business Ethics
                                xeeker Wayfarer
                                NO! The customer is not always right! If you do your business with written quotations that specify the work to be performed, you will find the customer frequently will add on the "I was under the impression that you would.....". Well the quotation was specific, if the quotation did not addreess the issue, then, neither will we. Now that you ask, let's see if we can include the new issue in the original quotation, or, should we make an additional quotation to address your new issue.
                                • Re: Business Ethics
                                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                  25trekker1, from a business owner's perspective -- no, the customer is not always right (well, unless I'm the customer, then of course he is! LOL). The one-word answer: NO.
                                • Re: Business Ethics
                                  Lighthouse24 Ranger

                                  Xeeker, I'm 57, started my first business from scratch almost 20 years ago, and am absolutely THRILLED if you found any part of my response to be young and idealist. Thanks!