Do the Right Thing

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With business moving at a rapid pace, ethical dilemmas will arise at a faster rate — ranging from the able-bodied trying to get a handicapped sticker for easy parking to insider trading.

At a recent ethics seminar for Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Marsha Egan, a certified insurance professional, observed that there's been a general relaxing in moral standards. To stop the erosion of ethics, Egan advises the following:

  • Define ethical behavior — values such as honesty, loyalty, fairness, respect for others and personal accountability.
  • Recognize the benefits — enhanced reputation, enhanced leadership ability and increased morale.
  • Create a code of ethics and insist that all employees adhere to the code.
  • Make ethical values an integral part of the corporate culture.

Egan notes that companies usually handle ethics in one of three ways:

  1. Neglect: Companies do not communicate expectations to their employees.
  2. Compliance: Companies post a set of rules.
  3. Values: Companies focus on ethical values.

"When we embrace the values of loyalty, fairness, honesty and accountability, it follows that our actions will be ethical. When we face a challenging situation, we have an inner compass that points us toward ethical behavior," says Egan.

"Whether you are a company president or the head of a household, you are CEO of something. Be a leader — set an example," Egan urges. "The price of being ethical is high, but the price of being unethical is much higher."

Source: CPCU Society, Jane Greiner, (800) 932-2728, ext. 2738; jgreiner@cpcusociety.org

Writer: Tom Truman

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