Character in Business – How to Achieve It
Character in Business – How to Achieve It
By Elizabeth L Hamilton
Character in business draws great attention in its absence, but how important is its presence? We who are decision makers have little time to consider moral values in the fast-paced world of commerce. Forced to act quickly, we may pass over the moral implications of an action we are about to take. Gradually, we may give high moral values diminishing amounts of attention. Then someone shines light on an unethical practice, and we realize that it is vital to achieve a high level of character in business.
Build Proper Foundations
Character in business is critical from the very inauguration of a company. As an organization’s founders, we must value high morals and inject them strategically into the groundwork. We must ensure that company bylaws, mission statements, and goals all are ethically strong. We must lay strong moral foundations throughout if we hope to have character in business. We cannot expect to erect an ethical company on unethical or ethically flawed foundations.
Build a Strong Infrastructure
Professor Dennis Moberg, nationally respected scholar of management ethics, and holder of the Gerald and Bonita Wilkinson Chair of Management and Ethics at Santa Clara University, knows a lot about character in business. It is his main field of research.
Professor Moberg says that ethics must become instinctive for an organization’s leadership. He believes the exercise of high moral values must begin with leadership to achieve critical character in business.
Suppose we agree with Moberg. Suppose you and all other leaders in your organization begin by building personal moral values. What can you as a leader do after that to achieve character in business?
Hire Ethical Attitudes
If you as a leader are determined to achieve character in business, you will labor at the outset to hire the best possible employees for your company. Whether you are hiring custodians or accountants, you will look for the best. You will carefully interview potential candidates for indications of impressive skills and experience, of course, but you will not hire solely on the basis of abilities.
You will look at attitudes as well. What is so important about attitudes? Several studies done at Harvard and Stanford Universities found that attitude is far more important to success than an individual’s education, experience, intelligence, or special talents!
Their research showed:
· As much as 85% of success was due to attitudes
· As little as 15% of success was due to abilities
Did they mean positive attitudes? Is that what you must find to ensure the success of potential employees and, in turn, the success of your company – positive attitudes?
Hardly. The exercise of a positive attitude by every employee is not a guarantee that you will achieve character in business. We read often about people whose positive attitudes cause them to bankrupt a company through fraud. They were positive they could succeed, but their goals were white-collar crime.
Character in business demands positive attitudes produced by ethical attitudes.
Ethical attitudes are positive because they feed on such high moral values as diligence, determination, confidence, perseverance, responsibility, resourcefulness, trustworthiness, efficiency, and respect. Ethical attitudes refuse negativity with moral values such as joy, love, peace, compassion, and friendliness.
As you wrestle with the tactical need to attract and keep the most effective workers, you will want to look for applicants with ethical attitudes. You will reckon with the fact that skills matter far less than character in business.
Require Character in Business Connections
Character in business demands integrity and trustworthiness in every relationship. You must require character in business connections:
· Within your company. Leadership and employees must learn to understand and exercise appreciation for one another. You will want everyone to exercise kindness, cooperation, consideration, sincerity, self-control and more in their interactions with one another. Backstabbing must be taboo. There must be no gossiping at the water cooler. You will want to strive, instead, for a close-knit, caring atmosphere. High moral values smooth relationships and increase productivity.
· With vendors. Vendors, or suppliers, provide goods or services to your company. You must be sure everyone in your company treats them with integrity and honesty. You must show them respect, flexibility, and tolerance. There must be no cheating on orders or payments. Fighting with vendors is not a luxury you can afford. You will maintain good relationships with them if you exercise forgiveness when errors are made and commitment to your contracts with them.
· With customers. These people are the lifeblood of your company. Contrary to the timeworn saying, the customer is not always right, but the success of your organization rests squarely on the relationships you have with customers. If they stop wanting to buy your products or services, you will have to close your doors. You will want to be sure your employees take that to heart, and show great respect for customers. Every member of your team must exercise toward every customer traits such as attentiveness, dependableness, gentleness, truthfulness, patience, trustworthiness, and tactfulness.
Character in business is not automatic. You must work at it. The benefits, however, are well worth the time and effort you invest.
� 2010, Elizabeth L Hamilton. Elizabeth invites you to read more about character in business at http://character-in-action.com. Elizabeth has posted many articles on that site about building moral values. If you would like to read about character in business dealings, you won’t want to miss her article on that subject.