Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Integrity and Ethics in Business are the ‘NEW’ black…


Or to put the headline another way ‘Arrogance is Dead’!

There comes a time when great change moves across the world, ‘it’ may be ‘new visions’, ‘new methods’, ‘new belief structures’, or any of a number of ‘new’ things.

Whatever this new ‘it’ is, the start is usually with hushed whispers; at a dinner party, over a pub table, perhaps at a business Networking event, between those initial ‘believers’ hardly daring to put voice to their thoughts. Such activity is like a slight breeze brushing the surface of the sea – hardly noticeable and yet occasionally catching the eyes and ears of those around, who see and hear parts, or all, of its effect.

Then follows the few brave soles who will speak out more loudly, with more conviction as they have a true passion in whatever the new ‘it’ is all about – they may well be branded as heretics, as weird, as impracticable, or even as ‘mad’ – such responses often resulting out of fear within those hearing about the new ‘it’. Fear that it may ‘cost’ them something, fear that they may have to ‘change’ and learn a ‘new way’, fear that they may be proven to be in ‘the wrong’. This stage of great change is, I feel, akin to a growing swell upon the sea, causing larger waves which the wise and skilled mariner can, and does, take notice of, changing course as he recognises the precursors of what is sure to follow – the storm that is brewing and will threaten his boat – this is where I believe we are today, in 2015, and we Captains of our business boats need to be taking notice of the growing, and coming storm, that is heading toward us.

The majorative ‘business way’ has, for many years, been one of arrogance, one that ‘self proclaims’ how good ones product or service is. A way that treats the consumer with a degree of contempt by playing ‘word games’ with them, using terms such as; ‘up to’, ‘from’, ‘limited availability’, ‘rare opportunity’, and/or often utilising comparisons and/or guarantees that, although sounding straight forward are in effect meaningless, many of which play on known human nature and behaviours to minimise risk to the goods/service provider – be warned though the consumer is becoming aware, becoming savvy, becoming informed – they are starting to ‘hear’, to learn and to understand that which they are told, that what they hear and its true reality are often different – they are starting to ask questions.

To ignore this growing awareness among consumers, the on-coming storm if you will, is in itself an arrogant behaviour and one all businesses, their owners and managers, need to learn to avoid.

The ‘coming consumer’ will be asking deeper things about your company, things such as; your Ethics, Values, Vision and Mission; how strong is your guarantee; do you source and procure in ‘sustainable and ethical’ way and from sustainable and ethical sources; are you a fair employer; do you pay ‘living wage’ or ‘minimum wage’ – yes some will still buy on ‘price’ however I believe, based upon many conversations with a range of such people, that today’s under 25’s will see the ‘Emperors New Clothes’ that are today’s marketing words that ‘sell’, they do understand, and ‘see’, the invisibility of such words and their falseness.

The coming generations will look to place their money with those who are truly honest and ethical, those who undertake actions that truly support this approach and they have little time for the ‘baby boomer’ generation that many of them perceive as having wastefully squandered opportunity, resources and trust – to have thrown away the future for the coming generations only arrogantly thinking of themselves.

This way of arrogance is dying, hopefully close to dead, the way of ‘Ethics and Integrity’ is arriving now and it is knocking on the door, in many cases already in the room. So will you and your business be ready to ride with the waves and the currents of change, or will you just sit back and be blown around and battered on the rocks?

As usual comments are welcomed and I do hope this Blog has made you consider your current and future approach to the way you operate your business.