Ethics is pretty simple in theory: “Do the right thing.” But as is often the case, the devil is in the details. It’s not always easy to “implement”. Here is some food for thought on the serious subject of business ethics…with a light, humorous twist.
Peter Drucker said,
“…there is no such thing as ‘business ethics’. There is only ethics.”
I will add to that I think ethics is a life long journey, and we encounter it at every turn…so we are never ‘done’ when it comes to ethics.
Here’s another of my favorites when it comes to ethics:
Golfers Bobby Jones, in the 1925 U.S. Open, and Tom Kite, in the 1978 Hall of Fame classic at Pinehurst, insisted on penalizing themselves a stroke when they noticed a slight movement of their ball due to their own brush of the nearby turf with their club. Both said, “There’s only one way to play the game.” They both lost their event solely because of that extra stroke…but they were able to live with themselves.
Yes, I think ethics is a long term commitment, and more of an ‘absolute’ thing, as expressed by the golfers above. It is something we live by, and something that, in a sense, grows with us…or can sink us…as we live life.
Here’s one more story – it’s well worth the read! – that delivers a light and humorous look at the serious subject of ethics:
A mother was invited to dinner at her son Brian’s apartment. During the course of the meal, Brian’s mother couldn’t help but notice how beautiful Brian’s roommate, Jennifer, was.
Brian’s mom had long suspected a relationship between Brian and Jennifer. Over the course of the evening, while watching the two interact, she started to wonder if there was more between them than met the eye.
Reading his Mom’s thoughts, Brian volunteered, “I know what you must be thinking, but I assure you Jennifer and I are just roommates.”
About a week later, Jennifer came to Brian, saying, “Ever since your mother came to dinner, I’ve been unable to find the beautiful silver gravy ladle. You don’t suppose she took it, do you?”
“Well, I doubt it,” Brian said, “but I’ll send her an email just to be sure.”
So he wrote: “Dear Mom: I’m not saying that you ‘did’ take the gravy ladle from the house, and I’m not saying that you ‘did not’ take the gravy ladle. But the fact remains that one has been missing ever since you were here for dinner. Love, Brian.”
Several days later, Brian received an e-mail back from his mother: “Dear Son: I’m not saying that you ‘do’ sleep with Jennifer, and I’m not saying that you ‘do not’ sleep with Jennifer. But the fact remains that if Jennifer had been sleeping in her own bed, she would have found the ladle by now. Love, Mom.”
John Reiling, PMP
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