Every time I open my social media feeds I see another story about corporate corruption and greed at the highest levels from iconic Australian brands.
I’m feeling let down because these old organisations should be above this. It’s disgraceful. And the worst part is that it’s unlikely that much will happen, apart from the odd token CEO standing down, amongst claims of “I had no idea this was happening”.
We deserve far more from these corporations, and they deserve giant penalties (as in fines of billions of dollars, yep, that’s right) to send the message that needs to be sent – it is not OK to rip off the Australian consumer.
So, what’s this got to do with us soloists?
To me it has a lot to do with each and every one of us. We need to have clear moral lines that we will never cross. Our customers need to be able to depend on us and trust us, absolutely. We need to be setting an example to the big guys on how to act and treat people, because clearly they have no idea.
I’m not naive enough to ever think that every small business is completely ethical, nor is every corporation unethical. The question that matter here are:
- What are you ethical values?
- What are your standards?
- What lines won’t you cross in business?
- Can you be trusted to do the right thing all of the time?
The writer C.S Lewis wrote the famous quote,“Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching.” But the truth is, research has shown time and again that people are more honest when they know they’re being watched.
As much as this is a shame, we have to live in the world of transparency. We have to be squeaky clean, not because someone is watching but because it is the right thing to do. Our customers expect it and we need to be able to hold our heads high, knowing we are doing the right thing, even when no-one is watching.
What business values do you stand for?
My challenge to you is a simple one. Write down your values, what you stand for, your moral code – and be honest with yourself. Make it really clear and share it with the people you do business with. Hold yourself accountable at all times.
Business ethics is not something that is spoken about a great deal at the small business level but it needs to be. Trust is the currency of the next 10 years in my view and without it, you don’t have a business.
Trust doesn’t come from hollow words on a website, it comes from the actions we take and the reputation that we build. And it grows as our customers share their experiences with their communities about our business.
As soloists, every action we take needs to be building and enhancing our reputation as a business that can be trusted. Simple as that.
How important is trust in your business?