We have quickly seen the motivation for starting a new business move from being idea based to purely financial. The bottom line and financial success of business seems to have been the modicum of many businesses.
Lack of concern for employees, the health of society, and dignified actions of individuals are thrown out the door when the means justifies the ends for a profitable bottom line.
However, there is a way to be both profitable and healthy. We all share our humanity and the Earth. In order to sustain this we must treat each other ethically. Kind and ethical behavior inspires empathic thought and action.
Just like violent behavior creates chaos and division.
Unity, trust, and mutual respect are at the base of true success.
Below are are my suggestions for being an ethical entrepreneur through priorities and daily actions.
1. Focus On Leading By Example
Those who have succeeded with corporate greed, poor treatment of employees, and wall building will destroy not only us, but also the generation that follows. This is why we must lead by example.
By doing this we are guiding, setting a new gold standard for treating others how we would like to be treated. This means doing what you say which instills a philosophy of trust. With trust you can lead in both business and life.
This philosophy will filter down through time and generations. In summary to lead by example we:
- Take responsibility of our own actions
- Listen & acknowledge others
- Be the first to offer solutions to a problem
- Be honest and truthful
- Don’t overwork yourself or others
2. Embrace Humanity
Out of sight does not mean out of mind. When we turn a blind eye to the human condition we dance with the poison that has no taste, smell, or flavor. It will begin to create an environment of contempt for those outside of the business looking in. Eventually evincing the destructive nature of this poison inside the firm.
We must recognize the needs and vulnerability of others with empathy. Ignoring humanitarian issues on a global level eventually affects us full circle. Some basic ways to do this are:
- Create a clean work environment
- Support the lives of workers outside of workplace
- Donate goods or services to a local charity
- Educate people in your community
- Support the arts
The ethics in business should also concern our planets well being.
It is something you would think goes without saying, but what we see is otherwise. The excessive use of wasteful labor, carbon emissions, and toxic chemicals affect an Earth that we all share. This isn’t just for us, but also for the generations to follow.
We all share this Earth together and the more we do collectively, the more sustainable we become as a whole. Take small steps daily in both business practice and lifestyle to help sustain our planets longevity.
- Use sustainable materials
- Up-cycle the office furniture or buy secondhand
- Remove unnecessary plastics like bottles
- Properly recycle “E-waste”. Electronics, batteries, etc.
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products
4. Homeland Economy
When we focus on those around us we have more of a direct impact. What we put in as leaders will be recognized quicker and spread with more understanding. We are nothing without our tiered workforce.
We are only as strong as our weakest link and dismantling the chain only makes us vulnerable. To keep the link strong, we must create competition through local business & prosperity. Below are some of the reasons and benefits for a homeland economy.
- Better wages can be provided
- Business is recycled back into the economy
- Communities become stronger
- Increased competition
- Customer oriented
5. Give Back
Being charitable and participating in society as a code of ethics fosters participation within the community. We should not only do our civic duties for face value. We must feel an obligation as individuals living amongst each other. We all give and take in the world.
This is your chance to help balance the scales of our society. This is a sum of it all. If you follow the above you are already acting in charitable ways. It is not about donating clothes, but offering your care, your knowledge, and acts as simple as opening the door for others.
In society it is important to recognize the power of ideas. Far too often we turn a blind eye to what is the interest of the greater good of the world and society. A prosperous society is an audience and a thriving customer base for the entrepreneur.
We live in a world where we are teetering on forgetting these obligations. Where our concerns for our neighbors are not altruistic. We all need to live in this world together and the notion of empathy should be the Golden Rule. For with empathy we gain a greater understanding of our customers, employees, and neighbors.
The cycle of business can happen on a grand scale or on the micro level. Doing our part to be better business owners, entrepreneurs, and individuals in society is not just good business but the right thing to do.
This should apply in every business, from a long corporation to a small mom and pop retail store. A happy work place that everyone with in, and outside looking in, can be proud of, is a profitable business. This construct applies to more than just a company’s bottom line.
Are you an ethical entrepreneur? Leave a comment below.