A Line in the Sand – May 2007
By Sean Wolfington
We all possess values, good or bad. We all make choices, good or bad. A value is the idea and belief that influences and directs our choices and actions. We are all faced daily with situations that require the use of our conscience and judgment.
Whether at home or in the workplace, in conversation or deed, we are all confronted with circumstances in which we must exercise our freedom to make decisions with regard to words and actions; or perhaps you can relate more closely to decisions about budgets, marketing, advertising strategies, etc. It’s inevitable. Decisions need to be made. Where do you draw the line in the sand?
Business is business. Right? Wrong. Leaders have the responsibility to make decisions in the best interest of the profits of the business; but more importantly, management has the responsibility to make decisions for the common good of the people. Just as one can not deny that business is a basic part of the human fabric of life, neither can one disassociate business from ethics and morality. They are, in fact, synonymous. Throughout history, successful leaders have effectively incorporated moral ethics into management. According to Henry Ford, Sr., “For a long time people believed that the only purpose of industry is to make a profit. They are wrong. Its purpose is to serve the general welfare.” The concept of ethics in leadership is an age-old principle. For more than 2000 years, mankind has turned to the ethical wisdom of one of the greatest human minds, Aristotle, who suggests that ethics and morals cannot simply be learned by studying, but can only be acquired through observation and witness of the conduct of a moral person. That simple theory bears a huge relevance to leadership. Leaders affect people, whether positively or negatively. To sum it up in terms of results, employees will be as ethical and loyal in performing their jobs as they perceive their bosses and managers to be in leading and directing them. Think of leadership as an investment with a huge ROI!
In the course of managing budgets and bottom lines, leaders set the tempo for fellow colleagues and shape the behavior of all those involved in the organization. The important thing to understand is that, whether you like it or not, as a leader you carry a moral and ethical responsibility to those whom you affect. The behavior and demeanor established by leaders set patterns and become behavior models for colleagues.
Drawing a line in the sand means taking a stand. It is a commitment to refrain from compromising the integrity of others for the benefit of the bottom line. From conducting business with a customer to selecting an advertising strategy, we must always uphold and promote good moral values. For the sake of the integrity of our industry and the future of our children and generations to come, there has to be a place where such a line is drawn.
Where will you draw your line?
Sean Wolfington is the general manager of BZResults.com, and ADP Company. He can
be contacted at 866.802.5753, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.