Ethics At Work – The Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards

Do you have an Ethical Company? You may be an ethical person but that does not necessarily mean you have an ethical company. I volunteer with the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Awards and I know the rigorous documentation that is required to qualify for this award. Each year a panel of judges spends countless hours reviewing the submissions to choose honorees who “do what is right even when no one is looking.”

Our annual awards luncheon provides the recognition these companies deserve and encourages other companies to hold their standards up in the light to see how they rank. I had the pleasure of attending the Greater Dallas Business Ethics Award to see Ben Randolph of Agency Entourage, a Dallas Marketing Agency, receive their award (see photo above).  the following year I was there to see Steven Bolos of Katerra Renovations as they received their award (see photo below).

Both of these men are members of our Renaissance Executive Forums CEO Peer Advisory Group in Dallas but I’m not saying that’s why the won these awards. 

I am proud of the companies these men lead and the amazing leaders they have on their teams. 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. For example, 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.

Are you teaching, modeling, and measuring 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.

Ethics (moral philosophy) is the branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct. The term ethics is derived from the word ethos (habit, “custom”).

Do you have an Ethical Company?

The idea of Ethical Behavior is doing what is right. The question is how do you define “doing right.” For example, is it right to hire people that are here illegally because that is how your industry works? Is it right to stretch out payments to your suppliers because that’s the way things are done today, and your customers do it to you? These are just two examples of tough choices we can face as leaders but I’m sure you’ve faced your own.

It can be a struggle to do the right thing when 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. Allow the team to talk while you to listen about issues so they understand what it means to do the right thing in your company. Set policies to assure an ethical standard of behavior and then assign people to help promote and monitor adherence to these standards.

Ethics must be more than a word we 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. This process starts with being committed to living this out each day for them to follow, then creating systems and policies that assure others understand and follow the same standard of doing what is RIGHT.

Learn more and get involved at www.GDBEA.org

Robert Hunt

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