If you spend any time in business, you are bound to come up against ethical quandaries. Inherent in most business roles is the decision making process. And in most major decisions, ethical factors come into play.
You run into ethical questions in determining how much to charge people for your products, how you structure your relationship with employees and partners, how and where you develop the things that you sell, etc.
And very few businesses have perfect ethical records. But the reason some companies get themselves in trouble is because they don’t plan ahead. There is no guide, or no overarching principle against which all decisions are made. And so the person making the decision relies more on personal judgment than anything else.
That’s a recipe for disaster – if not now, then somewhere down the line.
Every business would do well to discuss ethics now, and bake it into company culture. Everyone in your organization, from the CEO to the sales and service reps on the front lines, should know what lines will never be crossed.
For Uber, this might mean never charging a higher price to people in danger. For United Airlines, this might mean never asking law enforcement to drag a paying customer off a flight. For Wells Fargo, this might mean never opening accounts for customers without them knowing.
Failing to build ethical boundaries into employee training means asking for trouble. And when the inevitable ethical violation does it occur, blame should go straight to the top of the organization.