Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award luncheon with Ben Randolph and the Agency Entourage team, a Dallas Marketing Agency. (Ben is a member of our Renaissance Executive Forums Top Executive Group.) The Agency Entourage team was one of the finalist along with five other DFW companies; Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Dallas , DHD Films, MadeWell Obstetrics & Gynecology, North America Spine and Planit Business.
It was a great event that included a speech from Mayor Mike Rawling as he shared insights into his efforts to lead Dallas; “You can question my strategy but don’t question my ethics.” This is a great reminder to us all that just because someone does things differently than we would, doesn’t mean they have a diabolical plot behind it.
It almost seems silly to have an award for something most people expect everyone to have, but sadly, maintaining ethical conduct often falls to the wayside in the pursuit of other goals. The world is full of sad examples of leaders who tossed aside ethics and brought entire companies to their knees. Enron claimed the four values of Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence. Unfortunately, what they lived out was the idea that they were willing to try anything to make money without going to jail.
How are you teaching and modeling ethical behavior at your company? Your employees will follow the ethics you live out in front of them. Our employees watch us, they hear and see all that we do as leaders, even the things we try to keep secret. We all have the opportunity to lead with integrity and set the bar for our team to follow.
“Integrity” is doing what is right even when no body is looking. The question is how do you define “doing right.” For example, is it right to hire people who are here illegally just because that is how our industry works? Is it right to stretch out payments to our suppliers because that’s the way things are done today, and your customers do it to you? These are just two examples are tough choices we can face as leaders but I’m sure you’ve faced your own.
We all struggle with doing the right thing as we face the pressures to get things done. Be proactive in talking about this often with your team, and creating a transparent environment where they feel safe to share their struggles too. Allow the team to talk about issues so they will understand what it means to do the right thing in your company.
Keresa Richardson is the Owner of Benjamin Franklin Plumbing of Dallas and was one of the winners of the 2015 @GDBEA. She acknowledged that the best source for ethics is found in the Bible and it gives us great insights on doing what is right. You may follow another code but whatever your standards are, you should be confident in what you believe enough to lead your entire team to live it out, starting with yourself.
Ethics must be more that a list on our website or a plaque on our wall if we want our team to be known for doing business in an ethical manner, and it starts with you being committed to living this out each day for them to follow.
NOTE: Michael Webb leads the @GDBEA team. If you attended the event that day, send him a shout out to let him know we appreciate his hard work, and consider how you might be a part of the volunteer team for next years event. Learn more and get involved at www.GDBEA.org #EthicsAtWrok
Thanks to the Principal Partners who sponsored this event; Akin Gump, D Magazine, and The Better Business Bureau. Other Sponsors included Allegiant, C.V. Lemmon, Mass Mutual, Travis Wolff, Carter Financial, First Bank, and Core 24. @AgencyEntourage, @ , @cascfm, @TravisWolff, @NASpine