Guest post by Patti Dragland (learn more about Patti at the end of this post)
People are generally good. Most people who live a relatively average life (and don’t suffer from psychopathic disorders) live with a moral compass that’s in line with socially acceptable behaviour. There are times, however, when we can get caught up outside of our moral compass. I would expect almost every business woman has at one time or another worked with, encountered or had a client whose ethics seemed questionable.
Ethics are not about religion, or belonging to a unique group.
According to www.dictionary.com, ethic is described as such:
- The body of moral principles or values governing or distinctive of a particular culture or group.
- A complex of moral precepts held or rules of conduct followed by an individual.
Number 1 talks about “socially acceptable behavior” in terms of a group or culture; perhaps a culture such as that found in a company.
Number 2 talks about your personal moral code or compass.
We’re experiencing an age of corporate scandals hitting the news, of global markets collapsing from greed and businesses struggling to stay afloat as the actions of a greedy few echo out to the folks who were playing by the rules. We sometimes wonder if having a good moral compass is worth it. We are seeing the greed of others affecting the honest and the innocent in layoffs, collapsing companies and seniors with investment income that will not even cover their medication costs, and that makes people angry. When people are angry, they have a tendency to overreact or act out. They might internalize and wonder why they have maintained this “silly moral code” or they may lash out with the attitude of, “Well, being nice never got anyone anywhere”.
If this describes you, STOP and give your head a shake! Isn’t being an honest business woman with a willingness to stand by an ethical code never to cheat or lie or back down on commitments what business is supposed to be? At least it was when you started out, no? Create an honest and transparent movement in your business, your personal life, your interactions with others and you will reap great reward.
In Jon M. Huntsman’s book “Winners Never Cheat” he introduces us to why it is so important to maintain your ethical stand in business and how it worked for him, a self-made billionaire who believes in the value of honesty and responsibility. He talks about how you learned everything you needed to know about the market place as a child; why it’s important to play by the rules; how, as a leader, you set the example; how to select your advisors; and how to ensure you are following a personal code that makes you successful so that looking back gives you pride in your accomplishments.
There will be many temptations, you’ll be put into circumstances where legal can ‘loop-hole’ you out of commitments, where covering up becomes appealing as the knife may be coming down or where you may wish to misrepresent your department in order not to feel the slice. Don’t do it!
These are difficult and interesting times, setting an intention to uphold your moral and ethical compass through it all is what will separate you from the crowd. Lying is always found out, cheating is always discovered and secrets are never really secret in the end. Your success will be in making certain that no matter what activity is ‘dug-up’ from your past, you can be proud to claim it as your own doing.
Women who offer graciousness, generosity, respect, gratefulness and honesty in every action will find themselves as the leaders good people follow. Setting an example in your business, making your ethical code well known to the entire company, giving back to the community, and honoring those who helped get you there will not only provide you with a company overflowing with good people, it will provide you with the kind of customers who not only want to work with you, but will offer repeat business opportunities.
Wake up tomorrow and say to yourself, “No matter what happens, who tries to influence me or what comes my way, I will hang onto my ethics today!”
About the Author:
Patti Dragland is President of Strategic Sense Inc. and a Leadership and Plans of Action Diva with a passion to change the world one leader at a time making your work experiences the best they can be. Changing the world might seem a daunting task for many, but Patti believes each and every person has the ability to provide a truly positive means of affecting others and the ripple effects will echo long passed initial contact.
Patti’s company: www.strategicsenseinc.com
Patti’s blog: www.strategicsenseinc.wordpress.com