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Being a Good Company: Ethics and Value-Based Leadership

Does your company have a Mission Statement? Is it posted somewhere in your office or on your website? Can you recite it?

We were recently asked these questions during a presentation by Frank Bucaro, CSP, CPAE, a leading advocate for ethics and values in business. He gave two thoughtful and inspiring presentations: “Be a Good Company – The One People Want to Work With and For” and “Be a Good Company Each and Every Day – Putting it into Practice.”  During these presentations, Frank discussed the five pillars to a being a good company, the moral principles for building a reputation, and ethical decision-making.

What is a Good Company?
A Good Company is one that people want to work with and for. They are lead by a moral compass and put values first. It’s often the type of company or organization you would most likely like to work with as well. Frank indicated that there are the Five Pillars to being a Good Company:

  1. Reputation – A reflection of the values you hold dear
  2. Trust & Loyalty – To your customers, investors, employees, and the public
  3. Moral Compass – one’s values, i.e. code of ethics, Mission Statement, personal values
  4. Be Accountable – Not just responsible leadership, but accountable to those you serve
  5. Stewardship – What we do after we say we believe in the Mission Statement, code of ethics, the values statement. Do you believe in your Mission Statement?  Can your entire staff recite your Mission Statement?  


“Reputation” is first on the list, and with good reason. It’s putting your values into action and doing what you say you’re going to do. According to Fran, there are four moral principles for building a strong reputation:

  • Put people first in decision making
  • Have respect for individual human dignity
  • Treat everyone fairly
  • Be honest


You’ll notice at the center of each of these moral principles is not the bottom line, nor is it the product line – it’s people. When you focus on people and treating them honestly and fairly, your reputation is strengthened and you’re on the path to being a Good Company.

This can be summed up in a powerful quote that Frank shared, “Business is a partnership of people creating, in many ways, a better life for others as well as ourselves.”

Why Customers Choose To Work With a Business
Frank further indicated that the top three reasons why customers choose a business is because of their practice of business ethics, their employee professionalism, and a reputable complaint record. It’s important for people to work with someone they feel they can trust, that has a track record for doing the right thing and treating people fairly. Also, that the company’s employees reflect this focus on values and professionalism, even during times when things don’t go as smoothly. How does your company handle complaints? Do you have procedures in place that your employees know to follow? Does everyone ask, “What can I do to make this right?” as opposed to trying to pass the blame?

Strategic Initiatives & Decision Making
At Tricom, we have a strong focus on strategic planning and making smart decisions. In Frank’s presentation, he takes that focus and looks at it through the lens of being an ethical, value-based company. When looking at strategic initiatives, ask these simple questions: How will this help our customers or employees feel like they belong, feel significant, and develop a unique identity?  The important thing is to focus on how you do business, not what you do.

Decisions based on ethics can be tough. Unethical decisions are often easy and have an immediate payout or gratification. It’s important to consider questions like “what do you do when no one is looking, or when you won’t get credit?” or “does it have a payout at the end?” to better understand if the decision you’re making is in line with Good Company practices.
 
To help with an ethical decision-making process, as a company, focus on:

  • Purpose – Why are we here?
  • Mission – What do we do to fulfill our purpose?
  • Values – How do we work together to fulfill our mission and accomplish our purpose?


Additional questions to ask when making a decision:

  1. Is this in line with our company’s objectives?
  2. Will the decision result in the right thing being done for the customer?


If you didn’t answer yes to both questions, should you proceed? Challenge your managers and staff to stop asking, “Can we do this?” but rather, “Should we do this?”

Doing the right thing isn’t always easy. In fact, it can involve some of the toughest business decisions you’ll make. But being known as an ethical and value-based company has its own rewards.

Frank Bucaro had a lot more smart and interesting things to say on these topics. You can read more about him and his presentations, read his blog, or follow him on social media and more by visiting his website at www.frankbucaro.com.
 

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