There was an English teacher of mine in high school that had a sign above the chalk board in his classroom that said:
What is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.
This quote was from the great Albert Einstein. I know my English teacher would be disappointed that I didn’t remember his teachings of Beowulf so vividly, but that quote has stuck with me ever since.
People tend to talk a lot about ethics and “doing the right thing” but when the rubber meets the road the decision doesn’t always align with the words. I read an article recently by Chris Bahn of the Arkansas Democrat Gazette entitled “Wal-Mart exec: Stores need polishing” about the newly hired Wal-Mart U.S. President and Chief Executive Officer, Greg Foran. The article talked about his unannounced visits to Walmart stores and how he had found opportunities for the retailer to improve their store operations. One particular quote in the article got my attention: “We’ve got plenty of opportunity, but as I often say to my team, you get one point for talking about it, nine points for doing,” Foran said. This quote rings true for ethics. We can talk about doing the right thing all we want, but the moment of truth is when we have the opportunity to make it right and we execute.
Here at Priority1 we have developed Core Leadership Values with several of these values relating to ethics including: Personal Courage, Respect, Integrity and Trust. We pride ourselves in living out these values in our day-to-day operations. Especially in our industry it is vital to ensure our customers know how we do business and our employees live out these values.
In its truest form, to me ethics is doing the right thing even when it’s not the most popular decision. In business this can sometimes be challenging because each situation is different with a unique set of circumstances, but we must stay true to our moral compass when tackling these decisions.
Troy Lampley, Financial Assurance Manager