Keep Strong Values in Business
by Harvey Mackay
A dejected father confided in his pastor with a problem: his youngster had been caught cheating on a test at school.
He was crushed, feeling like he had failed as a father, concerned it would saddle the child with a reputation for dishonesty.
“The worst thing that can happen to a youngster starting school,” said the father, “is to get caught cheating.”
“Not at all,” said the clergyman, “the worst thing at the start of a person’s life is to cheat and NOT get caught.”
What is a good parent’s main job? The days of simply supporting the family financially may be over, according to a Pew Research Center report. Asked what’s “extremely important” for a father to provide, a telephone survey of 1,004 American adults got these findings:
- Values and morals: 58 percent
- Emotional support: 52 percent
- Discipline: 47 percent
- Income: 41 percent
The results follow a similar trend for mothers, with “values and morals” at the top and “income” coming in last.
Every time dishonesty wins, it gets harder to convince our children that honesty is the best policy. Complete honesty in little things is not a little thing at all.
Honesty, ethics, integrity, values, morals – all mean the same thing. In my estimation, you can interchange them, because they all convey the single attribute that determines whether a person or an organization can be trusted.
On the heels of recurrent tales of corruption in most every aspect of modern life, it is a commonly accepted fact that ethics are what each of us thinks other people should apply. The challenge we all face is that we cannot fudge on our own set of ethics and values, even when it is extremely tempting. That is the kiss of death.
Peter Drucker, the late management guru, once said, “There is no such thing as business ethics — there is only ethics.”
My good friend, world-renowned leadership guru John Maxwell makes the same point in his book “There’s No Such Thing As Business Ethics.” John gives three reasons why people make unethical choices.
- Is it true?
- Is it fair to everyone concerned?
- Will it build good will and better relationships?
- Will it benefit everyone concerned?
Mackay’s Moral: If truth stands in your way, you’re headed in the wrong direction.
Originally published by the Baltimore Business Journalon November 20, 2017. Harvey Mackay is the author of New York Times No. 1 bestsellers “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive” and “Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.” He is chairman of MackayMitchell Envelope Company, a business he founded in 1959.