Business ethics (also corporate ethics) is a form of applied ethics or professional ethics that examines ethical principles and moral or ethical problems that arise in a business environment. It applies to all aspects of business conducted and is relevant to the conduct of individuals and entire organizations.
Business ethics refers to contemporary standards or sets of values that govern the actions and behavior of an individual in the business organization (or environment). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_ethics
So why is this important? Let’s say we have a group of 5 lawyers, one of them specializes in criminal law, one is a prosecutor, one does contracts, one divorce, and the last one medical malpractice.
They all know each other and even play golf together once in awhile. They often run into each other at social events and at conferences. They’ve even been opposite each other in court!
But what I want to point out here is this: Regardless of their professional relationship, they also have a personal relationship. Even though they have been on opposite sides in a courtroom, at the end of the day, they shake hands, and head out to enjoy a cold beer.
So what do we have here? We have a group of people that share the same profession, yet show each other professional courtesy and there is a high level of respect. Our lawyer who does Divorces, doesn't try to read a complicated contract between 2 businesses that are merging. This is not his specialty. But he knows someone who does this day in and day out. He refers these companies to his colleague that practices Contract Law, Let me say it again, this is professional courtesy. It is having a level of respect for friends, colleagues and others in your profession and know your own limits. We have colleagues that are much better suited for jobs we aren’t. After all, it would be impossible to know it all!
And as a side note, let me say, it is not a weakness to admit that we don’t know everything, nor is it weakness to refer a potential client to someone better suited for the job. Additionally, don't we want to provide the highest level of service we can?
In the case of our lawyers, it takes many years of schooling and continuing education for every branch of law. But the same can be said for anyone who practices their profession in a niche. If you plan to be remarkable at your craft, whatever it may be, then the same dedication and hours of study need to be invested.
So now think about this: If you’ve spent your time and energy into a particular skill set, and you are remarkable at it, then if you have a potential client who needs services in an area that you know little about, what do you do? Refer the client to a colleague OR try to fill their needs in a “the best way I can” sort of way. This now becomes an Ethical Dilemma, or does it?. What do you do? Comment below...
What does Ethics mean to you? Comment below…
Let’s examine the meaning of Ethics… And this comes from an article on the Santa Clara University website and the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
“What, then, is ethics? Ethics is two things. First, ethics refers to well-founded standards of right and wrong that prescribe what humans ought to do, usually in terms of rights, obligations, benefits to society, fairness, or specific virtues. Ethics, for example, refers to those standards that impose the reasonable obligations to refrain from rape, stealing, murder, assault, slander, and fraud. Ethical standards also include those that enjoin virtues of honesty, compassion, and loyalty. And, ethical standards include standards relating to rights, such as the right to life, the right to freedom from injury, and the right to privacy. Such standards are adequate standards of ethics because they are supported by consistent and well-founded reasons.”
“Secondly, ethics refers to the study and development of one's ethical standards. As mentioned above, feelings, laws, and social norms can deviate from what is ethical. So it is necessary to constantly examine one's standards to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means, then, the continuous effort of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institutions we help to shape, live up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based.”
So how then does this apply to Social Media and your Business in the digital space?
Many industries have codes of ethics. For example, Leadership Ethics, Sports Ethics, Social Sector Ethics, & Bioethics. These are just a few examples. Some of the more common are Legal, Medical, & Journalism. Does your industry have a code of Ethics? I bet it does! Do you know what standards you are held to?
If you know and have a good understanding of the code of ethics that governs your industry, you’ll have a better handle on what is expected of you in Society, which translates directly to your digital footprint.
Let me give you an example: Interpreters have a code of ethics that they must adhere to. Now, if an Interpreter jumps on FB and shares a rant about how one of the defendants in today’s trial began yelling at the Judge and “quoted” what the defendant said, would this be a violation of their code of Ethics? YES! It is. Canon 3. Confidentiality Privileged or confidential information acquired in the course of interpreting or preparing a translation shall not be disclosed by the interpreter without authorization. This interpreter could be sanctioned or lose their certification all together.
So let’s go back to SM again. This interpreter shared confidential information from a trial. While the trial transcript at some point will become public record, it is not ethical for this interpreter to share this information.
Perhaps most people wouldn’t know this. But what about others’ in her industry? What about the attorney’s that she provides work for? This could and most likely will damage her reputation and anyone who sees her post will loose confidence in her work. Now she has lost the trust of her colleagues and clients.
Ethical issues are a part of your overall Voice on Social Media.
Circle complete. One last bit of advice. NEVER post in anger, frustration or in the heat of the moment. Why? Because you can never take it back! Despite what you may think the DELETE button doesn’t delete it from the internet forever. It will live somewhere on a server and someone will find it one day.
Have you thought about managing your message in more than just English? Why would you do that? What could the benefits possibly be?
Colorado alone ranks 8th in the country in Latin population with 1,071,000 Spanish speakers. This means that 31.8% of the population speaks Spanish. Denver also has a high population of Russian, Polish, Ethiopian and Lebanese populations.
As a business, what are your goals? Knowing that Denver and Colorado have such a high diversity in cultures and languages, how does your brand reach these potential consumers.
It is predicted that Colorado will grow by another 100,000 people by the end of this year alone. This, by the way, was the growth we experienced in 2015. Our unemployment is low and businesses and brands are moving and growing here.
So, now that you know what our demographics look like, here are some tips on what you can do to reach your non English speakers and create brand awareness, know, like and trust:
Have you noticed how your state of mind changes with daily, routine or life events? But have you noticed that the outcomes of events also changes based on your state of mind?
Mirriam Webster defines Happy as:
We have become very complacent in our lives. We just move through our day, one thing after another never really paying attention to our emotions, reactions, or others as they move through their day. Our expectations have been lowered and we don’t expect much from others except to meet our needs.
Some things to think about that could change the outcome of your experiences could be acting deliberately in every situation . For example, showing kindness, empathy, smiling and being intentional about your interactions with people. For example a grumpy cashier. Instead of just accepting her attitude, perhaps giving her a smile or wishing her a better day will change the outcome of your interaction with him/her.
I once heard something that has stuck with me, and that I practice. Make a list of a few tangible things that make you happy. Maybe it’s a particular scented candle, or a linen handkerchief that belonged to someone special, listening to an upbeat song. Whatever it is, make sure it’s small and you can carry it around. When you find yourself in that un-happy mood, pull out your “little bit” of happiness. Take a couple of minutes and enjoy your little bit of happiness and watch how your mood and state of mind shifts. For me, I have a Yankee candle that I love. When I find myself in that unhappy place, I pull it out light it and just absorb the fresh, clean scent. I also keep pictures that are special to me on my phone. They instantly change my state of mind! There is a song by Clint Black called "State of Mind" (http://www.metrolyrics.com/state-of-mind-lyrics-clint-black.html). It is a great song and one I listen to frequently because he talks about this very subject. Take a listen.
Living with intention allows us to accomplish more, be happier, control outcomes a little better and generally be more pleasant to be around.
What makes you happy? Share with us in the comments below.
I recently went to a seminar and learned all about these little tools that will give you feedback on your website. I consider myself a Google nerd, really. I love everything Google and just when I begin to think that I have a good handle on it, WHAM!! There's so much more to learn.
I hope you find these tools helpful:
Your business card is your link to the outside world. Make it memorable. But what does that mean? The information you include on your card will tell people how to reach you and what you do. It will also leave an impression. Here are some tips you can use when creating that impression. Start off on the right foot!
Happy designing! There are lots of things to consider here when designing your business card. Above all, make it memorable and legible. Do you have any tips for a business card? Please share in the comments below.
Do you use GMail? Are you sometimes frustrated that you can’t schedule your emails? How about getting a reminder when an email goes unanswered and you don’t have a good way to recall the original message.
There is a solution! Boomerang for GMail! Have you heard about it? Well it is just fabulous! I started with a trial to check it out. And I won’t look back- promise!
Boomerang for GMail allows you to:
The answer is yes! However, currently there is only an app for Android and iOS is in the works. BUT, you can access online. Just bookmark and you can:
Coworking is a style of work that involves a shared working environment, often an office, and independent activity. Unlike in a typical office environment, those coworking are usually not employed by the same organization. Typically it is attractive to work-at-home professionals, independent contractors, or people who travel frequently who end up working in relative isolation. Coworking is also the social gathering of a group of people who are still working independently, but who share values, and who are interested in the synergy that can happen from working with people who value working in the same place alongside each other. Is that you? Continue reading... https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coworking
This is a relatively new concept. But it works! It was definitely new to me and I'm sure it is to you too. So let me share a great experience with you where I learned about this.
When I decided to take my courses in Social Media Management, it was all on-line. We have a great Facebook Community and I made a friend who lives quite close to me. She proposed we meet for coffee and it turned out we had more than just Social Media in common! Neither one of us had taken the certification test so we decided to study together once a week. It was awesome to have a connection and share this time. We are both solopreneurs, so having that human to human (H2H) connection was great for both of us.
Since that time, we have maintained our connection and I have joined a group of awesome women who are all in Social Media. This has brought about the coworking aspect. While we meet once a month to discuss our profession, some of us also meet when time permits at a Library to cowork. Each one of us brings a special talent and different market to the table so we are able to provide feedback or help solve an issue.
We also connect via email and phone calls. The main thing with coworking, and what makes it work, is that we are able to take our ego out of it. This means we have consciously removed any perception of competitiveness. So what other things are needed to make coworking a success with others?
There is probably a space near you! But if not, check out http://workatjelly.com and start your own coworking community.
Give it a go. I think you'll find that you are more productive and you'll enjoy the camaraderie that comes with it. If you've tried it, share your thoughts in the comments. Have questions? Check out the links provided.
UPDATE: Because of this article, and the links I provided, Coworker.com updated their blog post about Co-working and asked me to link to it. Here is their article, which is fantastic!! Give it a read. https://www.coworker.com/lab/what-is-coworking/. You can also find a link to this article and theirs on their FB Page.
For those of you who don't know this about me, I am addicted to Google! You can run an entire business using Google tools and apps. Most of them are free and may have a paid upgrade to increase functionality and give you more options. But the one we are going to talk about today is Google Forms.
What is Google Forms? Forms allows you to create surveys in any way you want. This means answers can have short answers, long answers, check one, check all that apply, etc. You can combine any combination of answers to your surveys and once completed, you can send it by email, post it on your blog, or Social Media channels. Google Forms lets you customize your form with your logo, pictures and colors.
So here are some creative ideas to use forms:
1. New client: Create a Form asking your top 5 questions to find out what your client is looking for. They can fill it out while they wait i.e. How often do you get your hair cut? How often do you get your hair colored? What is your favorite way to be pampered in the salon?
2. A client in your chair: Create a Form of 3-4 questions to find out about their experience. i.e. Do you like the color we used on your hair today? Please rate your experience today. Is there any service you are looking for that we don't provide?
3. Salon Managers: Use Google Forms to get feedback from your stylists. i.e. What new information did you gain from the lunch and learn? What services do you think the salon should consider adding? How can we help you succeed?
4. Make-up artist: Create a form to find out what your client is looking for and what colors they like or have used. i.e. Please describe your everyday style. What are your favorite colors? What style is your wedding going to be?
Google Forms can also be used to create a poll, collect email addresses for your newsletter, or manage an event that you're planning. Responses to your surveys are neatly and automatically collected in Forms, with real time response info and charts. Or, take your data further by viewing it all in Sheets.
Google Forms are free to use and are located in your Google Drive. Check it out. There is so much you can do with Google! Share your uses for Google Forms with us.
Leaving a lasting impression is one of the hardest things to accomplish when we are competing for the attention of every single person we touch. So how do we do it? How do we accomplish this in a world where each person is bombarded with information and is multi-tasking just to keep their heads above water?
The answer is simple. So simple and obvious in fact, it is staring at us right in the face. So how come we don’t see it? Did we miss something? What do you mean it’s right in front of my face?
Customer Service! That’s it. That’s all it is. But what is the definition of customer service? And how do you stand out?
I’ll share a personal story that is a true definition of customer service. I traveled to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago. I needed to get some reading done and I was hungry so I took my iPad to one of my favorite restaurants. The setup of the place is, you order at a counter and then you give the hostess your receipt and she/he will find a table for you. This is a seafood restaurant that’s been in business for as long as I can remember and the food is amazing!
Most of the times I had been there, the service was very good. They have always been friendly, accommodating and very attentive to the guests needs. While it is a very casual place to dine, they have always provided a GOOD experience.
But on this particular day, I walked up to the counter to place my order. The young woman behind the counter greeted me by looking at ME. Not just saying the words without glancing up from her register. She smiled, and took the TIME to ask how my day was. But more than the words she was speaking, she showed genuine interest. She had a kindness about her, as though making a connection with each one of her guests was important to her. After we spoke a minute, I placed my order. She asked the usual questions about sides and drinks. I pulled out my wallet to pay. I decided to pay cash (which I so rarely do), I pulled out my bills and handed them to her. She took them and then asked, do you have the change? This way I don’t have to give you more coins as part of your change. I looked into my wallet, and realized I probably did, but it would take me precious seconds of time, her time, waiting for me to count out the coins. So I just looked up at her and said, “it’s ok, don’t worry about it..” Her response, “Please, take your time. You are MY customer and I won’t rush you.”
Wait...What??? Did I hear that correctly? I was a little taken aback. I wasn’t really even sure how to respond. She was so genuine in her words, I had no choice but to count out the change and hand it to her. But what’s more important than that, is how she left me FEELING after what was just a mundane, everyday task; ordering lunch.
Let’s examine my response for a minute. Why was I taken aback and unable to respond? Because we have created a world where the level of expectations have fallen so low, that we almost EXPECT our communications and encounters with people to be short, to the point, get through the pleasantries as quickly as possible so we can get to whatever business we have to attend to.
This sweet, caring, genuine woman, at a favorite restaurant of mine, made me really forget what I was there to do. Read. She made me FEEL special and that I needn’t be rushed. She made me feel as though we had connected on some level and that my day and how I was MATTERED to her.
Did it? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I’m sorry I didn’t commend her actions to her manager and express what a lovely young woman he had working for him. I’m sorry I didn't get her name. I also know that in a routine, everyday situation, she stood out of the crowd. She made a LASTING impression, and two weeks later, I’m still enjoying that EXPERIENCE. A routine lunch where I wanted to get some reading done.
So what is Customer Service to you? Are you leaving that lasting impression and making your people, your encounters and your co-workers feel important and cared for? Something to think about. Don’t be GOOD, be EXCEPTIONAL.