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Why lie in business?

This election, like no other, has created a forensic narrative on the parties policies, soundbites, social media dialogue and of course a lot of misinformation, subterfuge and blatant untruths. Let us be clear, ALL parties have been complicit in this election. But is this right, and should this be a lesson for us as business leaders in how we deal with our staff, suppliers and customers?

Those who know me personally as an entrepreneur and leader will understand that I do not expect leaders to be goodness and light (.. consider Elon Musk). But I do expect them to DO THE RIGHT THING. Personal values and integrity must mean something to us as leaders and this must be reflected in how we care for our staff and the wider community.

I have reproduced below one of my blogs on Ethics in Business, and why it is important. I hope you agree!

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If you are running a successful business it is likely that you will have experienced a multitude of scenarios where you would have to question your ethics and thinking on a matter. We tend to find that those scenarios are heightened and more prevalent when business is tight, cash flow is drying up or when an opportunity not to declare income for tax or VAT purposes comes to the fore.

Our work with a plethora of businesses has identified that the best businesses have a clear vision and culture which embrace the whole subject of ethics. Below are a number of tips to ensure your organisation does not fall into the same situation as Tesco’s, Ryanair and the LIBOR shenanigans of the banks. You may say these tips are obvious. Yet it is the obvious that is left behind on establishing the ongoing growth, health and legacy of a business. So ask yourself these questions:

  • Are people clear about the vision of the business? By having a clear vision and articulated goals people are constrained by the focus of the business and less likely to deviate from it into unethical practices.
  • What culture and values underpin how the business operates? Spell it out. Write down the non-negotiables of how you do business, how you treat your customers, how you treat your staff and how you treat even your suppliers.
  • Do all leaders in the organisation model the culture and values in the organisation? The falsification of profits at Tesco’s was supposedly underwritten by a number of key directors in the UK business. It is very rare that ethical issues leading to the problems or the demise of a business are not known or sanctioned by the leaders. Be comfortable with the leaders you have around you.
  • Give a voice to your staff to communicate ethical issues? Many of our clients use our tailored 360 feedback which incorporates questions for staff and peers to comment on the ethical behaviour of a manager or business leader. Very powerful process as well as anonymous.
  • Always seek independent advice from someone who will tell you as it is without fear of them not receiving a pay cheque or invited back to speak? Many a non-executive unfortunately do not communicate loud enough on these issues for fear of losing their jobs or position.

We could go on but if you are still not stirred to take the right business course by our comments above, then please heed the words of Warren Buffet to his organisation about their code of ethics, which has ensured that his reputation as well as his organisation, Berkshire Hathaway, continues to be one of the most respected investment businesses in the world.

“…I want employees to ask themselves (when they are in doubt about whether a particular conduct is ethical or not) whether they are willing to have any contemplated act appear the next day on the front page of their local paper – to be read by their spouses, children and friends – with the reporting done by an informed and critical reporter.”

When we leave this earth, it is good to be fondly remembered like Steve Jobs, Anita Rodick, Henry Ford and others for the good that you do, rather than be remembered like Fred Goodwin and of course Henry Weinstein for their moral character! True business legacy is more than a successful business.

For more information on how you can entrench the concepts of ethics in your business, contact us at the office on 01622 741712 or through our website www.wsqsolutions.com.


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By Wayne Wright on 13th December, 2019

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