EB115 - Ethical Dependability © Question:   With so many business failures being reported, I would like your opinion on what role a managers personal values and ethics play in the development of a business plan.

Larry:  Every ethically dependable person can remember the influential voice of someone teaching them right from wrong.  When I teach business ethics or rally a business team to higher standards, I am depending upon my listeners being stirred to respond to that voice.

We begin to shape our character early in life as we learn the values that will become the foundation for our business strategies.  Moral conscience is the power source for our moral behavior.  It is the traffic director of our thought processes and it gives us the strength to make difficult choices and stay the course in hard times.

No one can be truly successful as a business leader without building upon a reliable moral foundation.  Nonetheless, the news is routinely peppered with reports of people who tried to defy the odds of succeeding without moral character.

I believe one of the reasons we see this so often is that in today’s business culture a manager is expected to press early and often for corporate growth – with little or no consideration for the risks to other people.  In other words, we are taunted to take presumptive action, without carefully developed plans or reasonable judgment, by people looking for quick results.

Reasonable judgment is the logical product of a person’s wisdom and common sense.   It supports the concepts of equity and justice in a civil society because a great part of our law hinges on the principle of what a reasonable person would say or do in a given situation.

Who among us has not said, “I would like to do that all over again with what I now know.”   When we look back at how things “could have been," we can see how some of the most important decisions we have made - personally and in our business plans - were affected by our values.