Recently I’ve attended a business breakfast, a sponsor lunch and participated in a forum at TV show website, all of which have been discussing the topic of Ethics in Business. And then just this week a presentation at the OIVAC about Business Ethics.
The fact that this topic is being discussed in many places recently indicates to me it is something that is at the top of people’s minds of late. It is probably always there but so many things have been raising their heads globally that it’s got people thinking. Not just in business but in politics, in churches, in social networks, on websites. There seems to be so many ‘shades of grey’ today that people are lulled into thinking that whatever it is they are doing, or thinking, is ok – because ‘times have changed’ and so many others are doing it. Are ethics really to be considered as ‘old fashioned’? I hope not!
When does it get down to what is right within? Do people truly not have a conscience anymore? Is it more a collective conscience that rules rather than an individual one?
As VAs there are two things we need to have in mind – what is right for our clients and what is right for us as individuals. Sometimes those two things might appear to clash. What we do in business reflects on us as a person and that even means how we conduct ourselves via email and in discussion forums. I presented at the OIVAC on Email Etiquette the other day and even there was raised how people respond to others, not ‘airing their dirty laundry in public’ and taking arguments offlist. It only serves to give people a bad view of those involved in the argument and that can ultimately reflect on how you are perceived as a business operator.
There are some decisions that are tough calls and if you cannot make a decision that sits right within then perhaps you need to seek someone to whom you look up to for advice. This could be someone who’s been in business longer, or perhaps a colleague, a mentor, a teacher, a parent, someone in your church, or perhaps even the person who leads the business network of which you are a member. Don’t let it get to the point where it stresses you severely and you get sick as a result. You then stand to lose your health, lose business and not be there for your family as they have need. Your health is important, and dare I say as well, the ‘health of your ethics’. KMT