Ethics (noun): To differentiate between right and wrong; to understand good and bad decision-making; a set of rules developed to govern human behavior; to examine moral principles. These are all textbook definitions of ethics, and they all apply in business just as much as they do in regular life. In business, however, it makes a more significant difference than some may realize.
What Makes You Different?
What really sets a business apart? The answers will vary from business to business: marketing strategy, an outstanding product or service, or maybe a first-rate leader. Those are all good examples, but they are also small examples. There are game changers that can set a business apart and make it not only a popular brand in terms of product, but a good brand in terms of trust. The practice of good ethics is one of those game changers.
In any competitive market, it is easy to veer off the path of ethics when a winning title is the goal in your mind’s eye for your business. The important thing to remember is that backsliding into corruption despite good intentions to achieve the desired success goal is not what will differentiate your business in an industry. It is the good that you do and the morality you espouse that will set you apart.
Here’s the specific question to ask yourself regarding ethics at your business: What actionable factors contribute to an organization being deemed ethical? The word ‘ethics’ is simple, but not many take the time to consider what actually goes into being ethical and why these actionable factors are important. A group of researchers had this same question and set about trying to answer it. Consider these elements about being an ethical organization.
Not What, Why
Being economically successful is excellent, and certainly should be an objective within your business. However, the companies that have a passion and a purpose beyond economic success are the ones that stand out to consumers. Having this purpose is also what Simon Sinek and EMPIST call having a why. The concept of a why was introduced to the public in Simon Sinek’s TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action. It follows the idea that what you do is not nearly as paramount to your success as the reason behind doing it.
EMPIST, for example, exists as a business whose purpose for showing up to work every day is to be a catalyst for digital innovation and improving day-to-day operations, ultimately creating beneficial opportunities for businesses. We place great importance on being a company that is not only a trustworthy resource but also a friendly one.
Similarly, Apple maintains their passion and purpose by, no matter what they do business-wise, challenging the status quo and thinking differently. These types of ‘whys’ are fueled by good company values and sound ethical standing. As the co-founder of Lyft John Zimmer says, you should never veer off the path of your values.
Avoid the Iceberg, Head Towards Ethics
Most everyone remembers James Cameron’s portrayal of that unthinkable (and definitely sinkable) mistake the Titanic captain made to prioritize his pride before his passengers, ending in an utter, fatal disaster. A business will ultimately meet disasters of their own by making the same type of misguided mistake, and not factoring ethics into decision-making and into building a work culture of community, respect, honor, and integrity.
The leader of a business is a model against which employees and business competitors measure themselves. To avoid another iceberg, ethics have to be a platform that your company stands on, and that primarily comes from the leader, but also from the ‘crew.’
EMPIST works to uphold these factors of ethics by being transparent with the businesses to whom we provide solutions. We also prioritize the cultivation of good relationships with those businesses as important as good relationships within our company.
Win, Lose or Draw
Similarly to having a leader and employees that make ethical decisions, to begin with, it also shows strong ethical standing when a business is able and willing to take action to resolve conflict or mistakes made. Even in the face of potential backlash, choosing the right path to correcting mistakes that may still cause public uproar will show a commitment to the value of being ethically right over upholding pride.
When caught up in an ethical crisis, typically the first thought is about the public’s opinion; how they will take it, what they will say about it and to whom they are saying these things. While this is important to keep in mind, clearing up ethical conflicts starts at home, AKA your employees. Give them an ethical path to follow on the road to correcting a mistake, and those ethical decisions will flow through your efforts to the public.
Ethics can be a differentiator, and they can also be called a disruptor. Although those terms may sound like negative connotations, they aren’t. EMPIST’s ethical differentiator, our disruptor, is how we function as a business in the tech industry. Very often in this industry, companies are notorious for price gouging and non-transparent or unfair practices, but EMPIST disrupts that with our ethics, month-to-month zero-commitment pricing and unique culture.
The EMPIST Effect
Our EMPIST culture and our why are the sources of how we can function as a transparent and ethical business. The way we operate attracts like-minded employees who are here for the same purpose and to bring more meaning to their roles other than financial gain. With this in mind, we can bring these practices to our customers, and remain an ethical sounding board in the tech industry.