Patrick James was devastated when he was called into the office of the small human resources firm he worked for and told that he would no longer have a job there. Unexpected financial problems forced the owners to severely downsize the staff thereby eliminating his job. Patrick had saved a small amount of money for an emergency such as this but it was imperative that he find other work as soon as he could. He immediately started a new job search by updating his resume and sending it out to every business in the area that could possibly use his talents. In the meantime, he went through the process of creating a spreadsheet with alternative ways to make and save the money and resources he had available to him.
How can you tell when a lawyer is lying? His mouth is moving. This is a common joke about lawyers, but it makes the unfair assumption that all lawyers care about is money, and they will lie in order to get what they want. However, this is not true. In fact, the vast majority of lawyers and attorneys work incredibly hard to secure clients, forge relationships with other attorneys and often without every receiving a dime. I can remember when my father was studying for the Bar exam. He spent hours upon hours each night after he would get home from work, studying at the dining room table. Books thicker than I would have ever imagined lay sprawled out all over the table printed in a typeface that I was convinced you would need a magnifying glass in order to read without getting a headache.
The Oxford English dictionary defines ethics as "the moral principles governing or influencing conduct." In all communities, societies, organizations and cultures there are prescriptions and prohibitions that define morality. Each community has its mandated, prohibited, laudable and reprehensible actions. When we become part of a larger community, the extent of our obligations and prohibitions expands. This is true of companies also. Their acts - and the individuals that are part of them - affect positively or negatively on other businesses, other individuals, and/or other processes. Ethics are of major relevance to every individual, and that extends to business as well.
According to the media (and most everyone else) the devastation of the American economy is a direct result of simple greed. This conclusion is logical, given the banks acting like casinos, big business acting like common street criminals, and a surplus of scammers acting like, well, scammers. But the underlying problem is far more than just simple greed. The lack of fundamental ethics and decency and the glaring dearth of integrity evident throughout the business landscape are the true culprits in the current economic disaster. Entrepreneurs would do well to acknowledge this distinction and work to reverse the trend in the new economy. Greed, in itself, is not an inherently negative characteristic.
In order to fully understand ethics and how they relate to business, one must first define its key components. Ethics can be broken down into three categories: social, organizational, and individual. Corporations are bound by social ethics which challenge them to hold accountable for their own actions its company officers, management, and stakeholders, who aspire to gain financially from traditional and unconventional economic activities. Organizational ethics involve a shared sense of pride and responsibility for employees, managers and corporations. They are part of an overall business philosophy that is shared throughout the company. Individual ethics involve our conceptions of right and wrong which stem from many different sources.
You all know I'm pretty much posting about my skin care products to get men/women more familiar with them and how they can change your skin. However, today I'd like to talk about ethics or professional respect. I had an unfortunate encounter with another consultant that I found really disturbing which made me wonder how often this kind of thing happens. In my situation, I was communicating with a potential recruit, answering her questions, sending her information and product samples, etc. Before I knew it, another consultant (from the same company) reached out to this person offering all sorts of free stuff if she'd sign up with her! What I found annoying was that I had already put time, effort and expense (catalogs, opportunity brochure, samples, postage, etc.
How many times have you heard someone bad mouth a business person? How many times have you heard someone bad mouth another professional in their industry? The truth of the matter is, even though the subject of ethics may seem easy to understand, its actually not. Where do you cross the line between hard working aggressiveness and being unethical? Well, just look at the long-term consequences of what you are doing today in your profession. If what you are doing today constitutes "burning bridges, " then you know its time to re-evaluate how you conduct yourself. The person who feels they are getting the short end of the stick from you today, may show up in your office 3 years from now looking to do business, and they'll probably walk out once they see that you are the one handling their account.
We often hear a lot about the need for Transparency in business; to protect consumers, shareholders and to insure that the companies are following the rules and regulations. Unfortunately, what we do not hear much about is the flip-side to that coin; transparency is a double edged sword. Let me explain. You see, too much transparency is a Real Problem because each business has methods that give them advantages, if there is too much transparency then the competition gets this important information without earning them. This is bad because it allows those who try new things and learn the hard way to be instantly copied while the same school-of-hard-knocks were not endured.
Ethics in advertising is a serious subject. First and foremost, advertisers must sell the product or service that they represent. On the other hand, however, advertising agents and companies must also be truthful and ethical in their portrayals and not deceive their consumers. These two demands create a tension that is heightened for controversial products or audience demographics, such as tobacco, alcohol, condoms, pharmaceutics, and children. Tobacco, a legal but lethal product, creates an especially tricky dilemma for advertisers. Likewise, alcohol forms controversial campaigns for many agencies. Some companies handle the dilemma by refusing to do ad work for either group or by offering free services to health or cause-related groups like Mothers against Drunk Driving.
A new study from the University of Georgia concludes that Hispanic spending power will surpass African American buying power in 2007; marking the first year that Hispanics control more disposable personal income than any other U.S. minority group. This conclusion leads me to question the motive behind the research and the social consequences if Hispanics and Blacks buy into the competitive research. Will corporate America pit the two groups against each other when disbursing advertising dollars to their respective ad agencies? The business case for diversity in corporate advertising has been a solid one for decades. Corporations have slowly realized the importance of advertising to ethnic markets and the results of such efforts to their bottom line.