Saturday, February 26, 2011

“Relativity applies to physics, not ethics” - Einstein

As a new business owner starting out in a tough economy, business ethics is what I am constantly aware of. I am writing this blog because I do not subscribe to the advice many have given me: "Young lady, it's better for people to wonder why you did not speak out than wonder why you did". Those who know me will point out that I am usually the first one to stand up and say - This is not right! It's not balanced! And often I have walked out of such situations where the group has decided not to pursue the ethical path.

We are indeed in hard times. At Wall Street, bright people have made immoral millions by unethical means. In the government, not a day goes by when you don't hear that some politician or public official had an ethical slip. In academia, you hear of plagiarism and of  'doctoring' data. And of course there are bribes, corruption, and a plethora of wrongs happening everyday. We sit on the sidelines and often wonder why 'nice guys finish last'.  But, do they, really? What about the emotional cost of bad ethics?  Nice guys may appear to finish last, but usually they are running a different race.

As I build my business, I will be running a different race too. No, I am not naive, as many have pointed out, I am just putting the brackets in a different place when I measure success. My success and my business' prosperity is not based on the monthly profit-loss statement, but includes the emotional quotient. Every business decision I take will make sure that the outcome is, of course legal, that my competitors are privy to the same level playing field as myself and I am not winning at their expense, and most importantly how I feel deep inside about the decision. My conscience will be my guide and my decision should build my self-esteem, not erode it. Your 'gut' is your best judge - "There is no pillow as soft as a clear conscience".

My business is five months old. It's been a fantastic journey. I have several contracts in hand and some really good prospects ahead. Yes, there have been leads that came and ebbed away with no immediate results, but then there have been some wonderful friends I have made along the way. What I have enjoyed the most is the ability to choose and decide on my own and be responsible for it. There is no ethical dilemma - I am at peace with myself and with the world around me. This is what it's all about!