It's that time of year again. While we're all busy decking the halls, trimming the tree and frantically rushing about in search of that last 'must have' gift; Santa is up at the Pole checking his list... looking to see who's been naughty or nice.
There has been a lot of talk in the business world of late about who has been naughty, but precious little about who has been nice. It seems over the last year or two, many a company have lost their way and should not be at all surprised to discover a lump of coal in their stockings hung by the chimney with care.
As some of you know, I teach a communications course for accounting students that touches on business ethics - go figure? And wouldn't you know it; this seems to be one of their favorite topics - again, go figure?
During a recent class discussion on ethical communication, service and reporting practices, one of the brighter lights (they're all pretty bright) asked "What do we really mean by business ethics? It all seems a bit ambiguous to me. Is there a single, simple definition that will help guide us on our way?"
Obviously, this young lady did not want to find coal in her stocking.
Unfortunately, I was 'momentarily' stumped by the question, but fortunately, another of the bright lights kindly bailed me out. He had recently been reading 'Think and Grow Rich' by Napoleon Hill and pointed out that in chapter three, Napoleon suggests we should:
"engage in no transaction which does not benefit all whom it affects”
By my way of thinking, when it comes to a single guiding principle for ethical business practice, that just about says it all!
For some, it may be too late to influence Santa's assessment of this year's performance, but soon a whole new year will begin and if we are hoping for a full stocking next Christmas, perhaps we would all be well advised to be guided by these simple words.
Merry Christmas to all... and to all, a 'good' life!
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