It’s not easy
BUSINESS MATTERS BEYOND THE BOTTOM LINE - Francis J. Kong (The Philippine Star) - September 15, 2018 - 12:00am

One day, a father decided that it is time to explain business ethics to his son for he is at the ripe age to go into business. The father looked at his son and said, “You need to understand that business ethics is extremely important. So, listen closely and I will give you a test question.” The son listened attentively.

The father said, “Let’s suppose a customer comes in and orders a thousand pesos-worth of materials. You wrap it up and give it to her. But unknown to her, though she gave you a crisp new P1,000 bill and as she goes out the door, you realize that she has actually given you two P1,000 instead. Now, here is where the ethics come in: should you or should you not tell your partner about the extra P1,000 bill?”

Business people know and understand that business ethics is extremely important. Most companies carry the concept of “Integrity” in their core values. But truth to tell, doing business ethically and being a good person is no walk in the park.

Michael Josephson in his website “Character Counts” has this to say:

“Let’s be honest. Ethics is not for wimps.

It’s not easy being a good person.

It’s not easy to be honest when it might be costly, to play fair when others cheat, or to keep inconvenient promises.

It’s not easy to stand up for our beliefs and still respect differing viewpoints.

It’s not easy to control powerful impulses, to be accountable for our attitudes and actions, to tackle unpleasant tasks, or to sacrifice the now for later.

It’s not easy to bear criticism and learn from it without getting angry, to take advice, or to admit error.

It’s not easy to feel genuine remorse and apologize sincerely or to accept apologies graciously and truly forgive.

It’s not easy to stop feeling like a victim, to resist cynicism, or to make the best of every situation.

It’s not easy to be consistently kind, to think of others first, to judge generously, or to give the benefit of the doubt.

It’s not easy to be grateful or to give without concern for reward or gratitude.

It’s not easy to fail and still keep trying, to learn from failure, to risk failing again, to start over, to lose with grace, or to be glad of another’s success.

It’s not easy to look at ourselves honestly and be accountable, to avoid excuses and rationalizations, or to resist temptations.

No, being a person of character isn’t easy. That’s why it’s such a lofty goal and an admirable achievement.”

And he is right.

In many of my business dealings, I would like to say that there are actually more honest ethical business people I have dealt with. Many of them are still my clients today and I love doing business with them. But the pressure is constantly upon me not to fail their expectations or to break their trust, and the one effective practice I can always go is to give more than what I am paid for. I have done extra services for them without the slight intention of charging fees, and they have given me the opportunity to help them with their needs.

Then, there are those who have betrayed my trust. Not only do they do unethical things, they would also give a thousand and one reasons why they had to do what they did and go on a crusade to slur, bad mouth and slander people so as to get businesses for themselves. Yet all the justifications would never be accepted by intelligent and ethical people because at the end of the day, the greatest motivation behind the behavior is money and economic benefits derived from doing so, and clients can sense that.

Dishonest people will always hate the truth and will abhor the messenger or representative of it. It is not that they are against the person, it is that they are against the truth. Being honest and being ethical is not for wimps. The benefits of being trusted yields positive rewards in the long run.

Meanwhile, those who have cheated their way to do business could hardly be found successful today. It is because dishonesty is a self-exploding bomb. The people in their outfit would never trust each other anyway, and trust will always be an object of doubt within their own relationship.

Trust me, I would rather suffer a loss (and I have). But, having a clear conscience doing the right thing is better than earning money doing unethical things. It’s a great feeling after all, and what makes this best is that now, I can look into the eyes of my own children and tell them it is profitable to be honest. And they surely would believe me.

(All seats including extended accommodations for this year’s last run of Level Up Leadership have been taken. The next run will take place on February of next year. Date and venue are still being arranged but will be announced when ready. Meanwhile, for further inquiries or advanced reservations contact April at +63928-559-1798 or register online at www.levelupleadership.ph)

FRANCIS J. KONG
Philstar
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