As a student of engineering and business, I've been exposed to two very different interpretations of ethics. In Engineering, we talk about the ethics of "bad calculations", "building a bridge with errors", "cutting corners", or other things that can actually get people KILLED. This kind of ethics always seemed like "real ethics" to me. Business ethics seemed like a silly thing in compared to people dying.
I guess I'm starting to finally understand the importance of Business ethics. I realize now, that I've always had good business ethics, and that's why I never had to deal with ethical problems.
At Bigfoot Networks, I was using very ethical business practices without realizing it:
- I never even considered buying stuff without some form of purchasing/payment contract or pre-paid:
- thus avoiding the ethical issue of "no contract"
- I always treated partners and customers as valuable customers and nothing else.
- thus avoiding potential conflicts of interest and complex issues like "customers as investors" or "partners determining our product direction".
- I avoided making promises I couldn't keep, or would not put in writing.
- Thus avoiding confusion and frustration.
- I always treated people with respect and courtesy.
- Thus avoiding employee issues and problems.
While I can't say specifically all the ethical issues I am facing today... I am glad that:
- The issues are not "Engineering Ethical issues"!!! e.g. they are not life or death issues, thank goodness.
- I do know how to avoid business ethical issues, even though dealing with the problems themselves are a challenge.
- My 7-Habits training and my years of running companies has prepared me to handle these issues, so I am confident I will do my very best to resolve them.
My advice for everyone: JUST AVOID THESE KINDS OF ISSUES! It's way easier than dealing with them.