Keeping your ethics when everyone around you loses theirs

 A Wise friend shared the following, and although it isn’t a business story, it does have a bearing on life relationships, including professional ones.

Our friend’s daughter, aged 8, came home from playing with the child next door and was feeling unhappy about their time together. “Mommy, when Katie visits our house, you make sure that I let her play with all my toys and you always offer her a drink and a snack. When I go to Katie’s house, she always tells me that she doesn’t have to let me play with anything, and her mom doesn’t give us a snack. I want to be a nice friend, but it doesn’t seem fair. Now I don’t want her to play with any of my stuff.”

Well, our Wise friend had some explaining to do. She told her young daughter that doing the right thing isn’t usually easy and that she could refuse to let Katie play with any toys or offer her a snack. However, in treating her friend in such a manner, she would be changing her ideals and basic character to make it fit someone else’s personality. When meeting new people, they wouldn’t recognize  her as the good hostess and polite guest that she had always been and they might not choose to be friends with her.

This is a simplistic story, but a true one, and one that resonates in all walks of life, including business. When we see others seemingly doing well, even though they are cutting corners, cheating or giving poor customer service, it makes it a little more difficult to follow through and continue doing what we know to be correct, ethical business practices.

Do the right thing for you and your own integrity, no matter what everyone else is doing.