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Business Ethics: Making it Big the Right Way

Akhil Shahani asked:

Most businesses have a mission statement, centered round qualities and values they swear to uphold. How many manage to observe the protocol is questionable, however. Do business ethics matter? Is it sensible to hold on to values when you can have an upper hand in business by casually ignoring them? Contrary to popular assumptions about corporate setups, many businesses today are coming around to stressing on the importance of ethical practices at work. The reasons are obvious. Take for instance the rising charges of fraud against employees by employers. Management cannot expect employees to be champions of ethics but not practice them as a firm.

There is immense value in adhering to business ethics in every undertaking. Being true to the values you preach alone can leave a lasting impression on the minds of your customers. “Business Ethics” by Milton Snoeyenbos, Robert Almeder and James M. Humber, could tell you more about the same, but here’s a small selection.

Fulfilling your duties: Honor every commitment to the best of your abilities. At the same time, be upfront with your customers, if something is not going according to plan – not doing so will not only show you as being less competent, but worse, it will also give you an image of not being trustworthy. If you cannot meet the obligations for some reason, make the requisite amends. But as far as possible, make it your second nature to meet commitments on time.

Concealing information: It isn’t uncommon to hear people say “read the fine print” especially when it comes to business dealings! Many a time brochures and catalogues, in an attempt to sell their products, land up misleading their customers. Remember, they are not likely to return, if faced with rude shocks like that!

Transparency: Financial discrepancies top the list of fraudulent cases in business. Maintain proper accounts and have a proper policy on the disclosure of financial statements.

Code of conduct: Make patience and dignity your key personality traits. Respecting everyone you deal with, including those you do not like too much, is reflective of the business ethics that your firm practices. Manage tricky situations with diplomacy.

Supporting a cause: Get involved with a social cause like a community project, or make contributions towards charity. Doing so will not only elevate the status of your business to that of a responsible and respected organization but also give you a greater sense of satisfaction.

Honesty: Adhering to the age old adage “honesty is the best policy” is sure to take you places. Do not evade taxes; and be fair in your dealings. While this has been reiterated time and again, many organizations still manage to be tripped up by dishonest actions. “Contemporary Issues in Business Ethics” by Joseph R. DesJardins, John J. McCall,

also could help you find answers to some difficult questions.

Open mindedness: A broad minded approach towards growth oriented strategies, new ideas and continuous improvement is essential to the well being of any business environment. Take criticism in your stride without holding petty grudges, acknowledge hard work and have well defined policies for dealing with employees, vendors and customers.

Business ethics make up the moral foundation of your firm. Exercising high standards conveys a strong message about the quality of your firm and the people behind it.