It may seem obvious on the surface, but ethics are a huge part of a company’s brand and identity. They affect virtually everything your company does. Ethics encompass everything from the labor your use to produce your products to the way you treat your employees and customers. If you want to be a respected business, ethics and morals must be taken into serious consideration when you are deciding how your business will run!
When building your organization up you must begin by asking yourself: What do we want people to know us for? It may seem trivial, but the business practices underlying your organization will come to light whether you want them to or not. A great example is the United Airlines PR nightmare that has been unearthed in the last month. For those who have not seen it exploding across news headlines and social media channels United Airlines had an overbooked flight last week and had to remove 4 passengers from the flight to make room for United personnel to get from one city to another to service another flight. No one volunteered to take the $800 cash package and an overnight hotel at the Chicago O’Hare Airport, so they had to select 4 people randomly. They chose the people and 3 of those people left while one man refused to leave the plane. This was a 69-year-old Chinese-American man who claimed he couldn’t get off the flight because he was a doctor and had patients to get home to see.
When this gentleman refused to leave the security officers with shirts marked “POLICE” were called in. What proceeded was the passenger being drug over two other passengers from his chair and drug down the aisle by his arms to remove him from the plane. Photos surfaced of his face bleeding after his jaw/head was hit off something and him moaning “Kill me kill me” in pain as they pulled him away. The other passengers could be heard on cell phone videos screaming “Oh my God!”, “Let him go!”, or “You can’t do that!”. The videos surfaced and the subsequent day United Airlines stocks plummeted 26% losing over $1 billion dollars.
Incidents like these speak of organizational ethics, and when things go badly such as they did for United Airlines it can ruin a company’s reputation, but it can also severely impact the company’s bottom-line. Think of how you want people to perceive your company and create an ethics code accordingly.
Knowledge Grows Old – Karma Survives:
Any company can keep up with the cutting-edge technology of the day. While knowledge is important to create a great product or service for consumers, the ethics with which it is delivered never needs to be considered. The basics always stay in style. Treating customers with respect, being kind to employees, providing quality services, having a friendly staff etc. The karma of how you treat someone today can come back on you in the future as United Airlines will be learning for some time to come!
Company Leadership Must Influence Ethics:
A company’s leadership should pushing for strong business ethics. This is your business or enterprise. Take some pride in the way customers are treated, the way your employees are treated, the way you run the business, and the honesty/integrity of what you do. Treat the people around you as you would want them to treat you. It will come back and help build a positive reputation for your business. The bottom-line (profits) will profit from it in the future.
It’s not just about how fast you can grow a business. Sure, anyone can create a booming business, but if it’s not based on quality values and is not set in the right direction it will ultimately fail. Be more concerned with the future of the business, where it’s going, and what the blueprint includes rather than “overnight success and growth”. Running a business in the right direction that allows its prominence to be long lasting that allows the strategy to respond to changes in the industry and the market is the key to a successful future. The bottom-line of tomorrow will profit from careful planning today!
Stay True to Your Values:
Stay true to what you believe is important and what matters most to you. Don’t sacrifice the ethics on which you run your business for money. It’s never worth it. It’s never worth making an extra dollar today to betray those who helped you get to where you are, because it’s likely that those people are going to have some role in where you are going tomorrow. Stand by what you believe is right and the results of improved business and money will come!
Never Put a Price Tag on Ethics:
Ethics is what your business is built on. You know what is right versus what is wrong. Stick by your convictions and never let that change. When you put price tags on ethics like United did by dragging that passenger away to get the flight to leave on time, you will sacrifice your reputation and profits in the end. Things will happen that people will not forgive. It will hurt your business long-term. Taking the time to do things the right way may be annoying at first, but in the end, it can save a lot of other headaches that would be even worse.
Ethics are not just something you push to put on “a strong façade” or those on the outside. Ethics are not a second thought or something you promote when it’s convenient. Ethics are the foundation of your business and your organization’s reputation with other people. Decide what you want that to be and build that into the foundation of your business!
Image Credit: Michael Mroczek, Unsplash