ETHICS – You read about it in the papers; you hear about it on the evening news; it’s plastered on industry publications and legal journals. Almost everyone is talking about it – almost everywhere you turn, it’s front-page news. The “it” is ethics … and it has quickly become today’s most critical business concern.
If you turn to a dictionary for help, you find definitions such as: “a system of moral principles or values; the rules or standards governing the conduct of the members of a profession; accepted principles of right and wrong.”
Our grandparents, and generations before them, would probably be amused (and disturbed) by the fact that we now create departments, appoint officers, and even write books – all to make sure we do what they knew as the only way to do business … thenatural way to behave. But then, they didn’t face the same intense workplace and career pressures that lead to temptations of stretching the truth, trading quality for expediency, managing by exploiting “loopholes,” and chasing short-term, end-justifies-the-means, quick profit.
The good news is that most businesses, and most people that work in them, are doing right, fair, honest things every day. And that’s how it needs to be – that’s where YOU need to be – because the risks are great for doing otherwise. The reality is your reputation and your organization’s is at stake.In the business world, reputation is everything. Fact is, your success hinges on it. Customers have choices. They research and compare vendors. And they do business with reputable organizations. Commit one ethical faux pas – which will overshadow scores of previous good actions – and you’ll watch your customers go elsewhere.
Your job is at stake. If your business loses business, there’s less of a need to keep you around. Whatever job protection you may have had becomes non-existent. And, with today’s increased sensitivity and focus on business practices – combined with the need for organizations to protect themselves – ethics violations can result in job loss. That’s precisely why you should care about ethics. Whether or not you have an ethicsdepartment, or compliance officers, or a “code of conduct,” the ethical make-up of your business begins and ends with YOU … and all the other “you’s” with whom you work. The actions you take, the decisions you make, and the daily behaviors you exhibit – whether big or seemingly insignificant – are ultimately how you and your organization will be judged.
One of VIA’s three topics for our Connecting to Success curriculum is ethics. While the rest of the curriculum is rich in needed guidance, teaching the concept of how imperative it is to understand the importance of ethicsand how it affects every part of your life to the high school juniors in our valley is the most valuable part of the program. When it comes to ethics, everyone is responsible.
Loyalty. The word congers up something good… like a loyal friend, loyal employee, and of course, loyal pet.
Cognitively we know that the definition doesn’t change (‘the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations; faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.’) but our perception of how it’s applied may make loyalty good one minute and not so good another.
For example: being ‘loyal to a cause’; if you’re loyal to MY cause, it’s a good thing, but if you’re loyal to the other side, well…I may think you’re either nuts or your loyalties are misplaced.
What about ‘blind’ loyalty? I’m embarrassed to say that on more than one occasion I have adopted the viewpoint of a friend rather than think and research the information to develop my own opinion. I think this is a kind of blind loyalty.
Too, I remember while growing up I did some things that my older sister talked me into doing that could have really hurt us both. We now look back on and say, “What were we thinking?” Has blind loyalty ever affected your thoughts or actions?
More gray areas exist when it comes to loyalty in politics. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Thought provoking words as local and national politics and philosophies often create divisions in our community.
From a business perspective, do you think the following statements true or false?
- As a paid employee, my employer deserves my loyalty.
- As a competitive business owner, my employees deserve my loyalty.
It would be helpful for each of us to determine how we think about loyalty at work well ahead of the time when we find ourselves in a situation that requires immediate action and where loyalty is in play.
I wish you a safe and happy summer!!!
Seven Reasons Why A Non-Profit Organization
Should Join VIA
Regardless of the size of a Non-Profit Organization, its marketing budget, or years in business, there are valuable reasons why a Non-Profit organization should join VIA. Whether the Non-Profit Organization is on the national or local level, all non-profits strive for the same goals……to promote awareness of their organization, the services they offer to the community, and to raise the much needed funds to ensure that the organization and the programs that they offer will continue to serve their clients and the community at large. Via offers ways in all these areas to achieve these goals. Below is listed a few of them……
1. Visibility. Yes, you’ve heard it said time and time again, that “out of sight means out of mind”. By being a member of VIA, attending their events, and participating in business related activities, your nonprofit organization stays visible to the business professionals in our community and informs them of ways they can support your organization..
2. Access To Community Leaders & Elected Officials. When you join VIA and actively get involved you’ll discover that meeting prospects who may have an interest in your organization or who can refer you to the key contacts you’re trying to reach, is a huge benefit of membership. From being on committees or attending specific events where prospects are likely to be, you’ll find yourself in situations where you can identify and meet decision makers face-to-face.
3. Ongoing Training, Education & Professional Development. VIA offers leadership training for members through their Leadership Academy. Members can stay updated, informed and educated all included in the price of their membership. VIA also offers training and education periodically throughout the year on a variation of topics.
4. Networking. From seminars, luncheons, the VIA B2B Show, VIA Rocks Networking Mixers, membership referrals and various business committees, there’s absolutely no excuse for not being able to meet new contacts, referrals and people who can help you with ideas and additional ways to increase the visibility and goals of your organization. These avenues are great for promoting your non-profits events and fundraisers.
The old adage, out of sight, out of mind, is so true when it relates to networking. VIA gives you several different venues to meet new people and always stay “in sight”.
5. Low cost advertising opportunities. As far as visibility at the local level, VIA offers a wide range of affordable advertising options and sponsorship packages for just about every non-profit, regardless of how big or small their budget may be. VIA offers news and advertising opportunities through its web and printed newsletter, insert opportunities at the Monthly Luncheon, sponsorship opportunities at various events, and exhibitor opportunities to showcase your organization at the annual VIA B2B Show.
6. Advocacy. VIA researches, lobbies and routinely discusses with local and regional government units, politicians and the media issues that are relevant to the needs, goals, and challenges of the Non-Profit Community. VIA keeps their membership up to date on central issues of importance pertaining to their membership and the community.
7. Credibility. As a member of VIA, your organization will be viewed as a reputable, professional Non-Profit Organization that is connected to its business community. This affiliation is also important when applying for grants and other donations.
I was having a conversation with my daughter-in-law, who has a 3 year old and an almost 3 month old, when she said that she was “over this newborn stuff”.
Although I didn’t say anything to her, it reminded me of my mother telling me not to “wish my children older”. That I should enjoy the stages as they grew as much as possible or I would be sorry later since it goes by much too quickly and you can’t get it back.
She was right.
It is the same as the other moments in life and in business with the advice to stop thinking “I’ll be happy when…” such as:
“when we get that next contract,” or
“when we buy that new building,” or
“when business turns around”
Because, what usually happens when that “when” finally takes place?
We replace it with a new “when.”
My husband said to me last Friday, “It seems as if it was just Friday where does the time go?”
In reflecting on how quickly time passes I’m going to try and take this advice and work harder to enjoy life, family, friends, work, and the moment I’m in.
It’s your ATTITUDE not your APTITUDE that determines your ALTITUDE by James Caan CEO of Hamilton Bradshaw
To be successful in any area in life you need to have the right attitude, which means you have to approach any task or job with determination, tenacity and above all plenty of enthusiasm.
In business, when it comes to choosing the right individual for a certain post or promotion, I have always gone for people who have PMA – in other words Positive Mental Attitude.
Leadership and business management comes with its own set of challenges and pressures and it is a common mistake to let these problems and distractions become the major focus – that is why it is so important for senior managers to always look forward rather than backwards.
Of course, it is important for people to have skills, training and experience but I have always been a huge believer in putting attitude above aptitude. You can come fully equipped for a role but without real enthusiasm the best skill-set will count for very little. You can train somebody and give them the tools but you can’t give them the right attitude.
In my view there are two types of people in this world, and those who take the glass half empty approach are simply setting themselves up for failure no matter what targets they set themselves.
In any situation in life, people are looking for leaders to guide and direct them. That is particularly the case when you are going through a difficult or challenging period in the development of a company. Always remember there is only one person watching them and hundreds watching you.
I have always been a believer in leading by example and the nature or character of an organisation is more often than not shaped by the person at the top – that is why it is so important for senior executives to set the right tone and atmosphere.
Staff can instinctively grasp when something is not right within a business and it is vital not to panic and send out the wrong message during those difficult times and tough trading conditions – in other words stay positive.
More importantly, having the right attitude can have a real impact on the business in terms of its performance. There are too many organisations which allow a blame culture to flourish without properly understanding the negative effect it can have on the business.
When I have a bad month in my organisation, I get the senior management team together to discuss the reasons why performance isn’t the best. About 20 per cent of the meeting is normally taken up with looking at exactly what went wrong and the rest is spent discussing how to put the problem right.
Of course, it is really important to understand why something has not worked but it is even more important not to get caught up with the process of looking backwards. A firm which prefers to look to the past rather than to the future is always going to struggle in the long term.
The key to real success is an ability to adapt to change, and that will never happen if you approach every challenge with a negative attitude. People with the right mental attitude can always take something positive from a difficult situation and most important of all, will be constantly looking at ways of moving a business on to the next stage of its journey or development.
During the holidays, when time is at a premium, I especially appreciate these brief business tips from Paul Hellman. This month’s tip: “The easiest way to change your boss—or anyone else.” Take a minute and take a look. It might change your view… even just a little.
CNBC runs these tips regularly on their website:
To subscribe to these fast tips (no cost, no spam):
Happy Holidays, everyone!!!
Well, we just all got through the elections and they may or may not have gone the way you had hoped. Regardless of the outcome, we are all hopeful and optimistic that the future of businesses will continue to prosper and grow, especially for small business entrepreneurs. After all, entrepreneurship is part of the American Dream! It is through entrepreneurial optimism that business owners are finding business and personal success. One way for small business owners (and the larger ones too) to remain positive and optimistic is to remember the things we have to be thankful for in our companies and careers as we start this Thanksgiving holiday week and move forward right into the holiday season. Below is a list I found created by AllBussiness.com of the top ten things small businesses can be thankful for.
So here they are….I hope you enjoy them and give thanks for them this holiday season. The top 10 things small businesses can be thankful for this holiday season and throughout the year:
10. The economy really is getting better. No doubt about it, things are still tough for many people, but there are more and more positive signs out there, boding well for companies large and small. The major stock market indexes have shown surprising strength, credit card issuers report that delinquencies have slowed, and U.S. retail sales currently stand at their highest level in more than two years. That’s all good news for small businesses, especially consumer-facing firms. Even as most prices small businesses pay remain low, some small businesses are reporting that they’ve been able to increase profits by raising prices.
9. The Internet and social media. From Facebook to Twitter to eBay to email marketing, the Internet’s impact on small business is impossible to overstate. The Internet has made it possible for even the smallest companies to sell their products and services around the world, to work with suppliers and employees in remote locations, and to inexpensively market to millions (or billions) of people at once. On the Web nobody knows you’re a small business — in many ways you’re competing on a level playing field with the Fortune 500. And that’s not all. The Web also makes it easy to get the information you need to make your business successful — not to mention network with your peers for advice and support.
8. John Boehner is one of us. No matter what your political persuasion, it’s not insignificant that the incoming Speaker of the House comes from a small business background. Boehner often speaks in emotional tones about his experiences tending bar and mopping up the floors at his family’s small business, Andy’s Cafe, a pub in Carthage, Ohio. Before entering Congress he also worked as a salesman for Nucite Sales, a marketing firm for plastics manufacturers. It remains to be seen if Boehner’s real-world experience will prove a boon to small business once he takes the helm of the lower chamber — but the opportunity is there.
7. Small businesses can expect some relief on health care. The Obama administration is relaxing health care regulations so businesses can jump to another insurance company without having to conform to new coverage mandates. The biggest beneficiary of the recent ruling by the Department of Health and Human Services is expected to be small employers, which were just hit with a big rate increase.
6. Great employees. Small business owners have the privilege of leading some of the most dedicated, resourceful, productive workers in the world. And unlike large multinational corporations, small businesses often get the opportunity to work directly in cooperative teams with their employees, free of much of the bureaucracy and red tape that hobble bigger organizations.
5. It’s easier than ever to hire new workers. One positive side effect of the economic malaise is the creation of an employer’s hiring market. Small businesses that are hiring have access to better, more qualified workers than at any other time in memory. And many of these exemplary employees are happy to work for reasonable wages.
4. New financing options. Traditional bank loans and venture capital may be hard to come by these days, but we’ve also seen the emergence of innovative new ways to raise money. Small business grants and microloans, for example, are increasing in importance and availability. Angel investors are also taking on new importance. Perhaps even more important, if you can land a loan, interest rates continue to remain at historic lows.
3. Small is the new large. Revolutionary changes in technology– including the increasing consumerization of business tech, the rise of cloud computing, and Software as a Service (SaaS) are dramatically cutting the cost of equipping a business and building a computing infrastructure. Best of all, these trends seem tailor-made for the needs of small businesses — especially startups — not saddled with the legacy systems that can hinder many older, larger companies.
2. America. Small business owners like to carp about overregulation, taxes, and other problems. Those are all very real issues. But compared to most other countries, the good old USA still represents a unique combination of freedom; relatively low taxes and non-intrusive regulations; a skilled, diverse workforce; an entrepreneurial culture with unlimited opportunities; rich and varied sources of capital; and a transparent and consistent business culture maintained by rule of law, not connections, bribery, and influence. Really, where else would you want to run your small business?
1. You are your own boss! The best part of running a small company has always been that you’re in business for yourself, not someone else. So go ahead, take Friday off — the boss won’t mind.
Development Associate-Special Events
Child & Family Center
21545 Centre Pointe Parkway, Santa Clarita, Ca. 91350
661.255.6847 x3166 Laura.Kirchhoff@childfamilycenter.org
SCV Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year