Ethical dilemmas

SPASA Australia

By Spiros Dassakis, Chief Operating Officer, SPASA Australia
Monday, 09 October, 2017


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What happens when you encounter a competitor’s shoddy work or product that threatens the reputation of our industry? While your first instinct might be to criticise them, a negative reaction makes you look bad too — no-one wins.

Ethical dilemmas occur frequently in our business lives. As an industry, it is critical to responsibly navigate these complex dilemmas to avoid poisoning the professional and hardworking image we are all trying to project.

Whilst ethical dilemmas are not always black and white, it is important to ask three key questions:

  1. Is what I am doing legal?
  2. Is my approach balanced?
  3. Am I doing the right thing?

Grey ethical areas can be tricky, so take time to reflect on these questions before deciding the best way forward.

As a professional, it is important to act with integrity and personal responsibility. For a member of any association, this involves abiding by your Code of Ethics and understanding how your conduct may impact your business and the broader industry.

Competition can be a great motivator, delivering benefits for consumers and encouraging businesses to adapt and find efficiencies. Sometimes we make mistakes when we hire the wrong people, rush or cut corners. Therefore, the job we do has repercussions affecting the product, service, customer and our reputation.

But it’s always worse when someone else does it… right?

We can never know the full circumstances of a job we walk into. The solution may have been price-driven, the customer may have specified an outcome or perhaps the job was just poorly done.

So how should we behave when we are presented with a competitor’s job that is riddled with issues? Choosing not to make negative comments about your competitor to the customer is a good start.

As a rule, we should always refrain from discrediting our competitors in the public domain. Publicly criticising our competitors is not only unethical, but also contributes to a negative culture in the broader industry. This affects everyone in your industry, including you, and is a great way to make enemies.

When you work ethically, there is every reason that you will outperform your competition. Why? Simply because customers will see your business as a trusted and credible choice, not only for what your business does, but how it delivers.

Without having an ethical approach to our competitors and business, we are left with no moral compass. Always remember: good ethics is good business.

Image credit: ©denisismagilov/Dollar Photo Club

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