Can ethical values provide organizations with true differentiation?
It is tougher and tougher by industry to determine true differentiation of products and support services.
In the brick and mortar retail sector what real differentiation is there? In the banking sector what real differentiation is there? In the transportation industry what real differentiation is there? In the office supply industry what real differentiation is there?
We can comb down industry by industry and ask this question. With competition so vicious in North America there isn’t one company worth their salt that doesn’t pose this question and determine their value among a sea of worthy competitors.
The one area where differentiation widely varies is in ethical values.
What exactly am I driving at?
Ethical values is a set of principles that govern virtuous behavior. In order for the specific organization to build an excellent business reputation, leaders develop, promote, and live their values.
These ethical values are in full play when dealing with employees, suppliers, customers, stakeholders/shareholders, and the communities served.
How consistently ethical values are lived ultimately determines a company’s reputation and establishes their differentiation.
In my career spanning almost four decades and many types of industries I have not observed many companies that make ethical values their core strategy. The ones who do are generally more profitable, experience less employee turnover, have loyal and highly engaged employees, and are involved in less litigation.
Study after study and survey after survey confirm this obvious fact. What is the problem then?
Leaders simply believe the organizations they lead are ethical and values driven. They ignore the very constituents that are in place to support them.
My advice to any leader is to not fall into this trap. It is slippery and dangerous.
Always seek out the input of your constituents. Always survey those you serve. Always be open to criticism and ways to improve your cultures.
My friends please remember this: respect, consideration, and courtesy matter a lot. Treat others fairly, decently, and equally.
Build your moral compasses carefully and always monitor them daily.
You know the battle cry: do your best each day. No one can ask more or less from any of us.
All the best/blessings, Mark