We’ve always been told ethics and conduct are important. But it seems with all the scandals at corporations that the unethical are severely rewarded and later severely punished. But that’s only if they’re caught. So if no one is caught, why should ethics in a business be important?

It’s been said that your ethics or core values are what you do when no one is watching. Abraham Lincoln said, “Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it. The tree is the real thing.” When we think of the great people in our lives personally and professionally it is hard to separate their work from their character isn’t it?

Ethics Training is vital to achieving good ethical standards in business.Training programs have been developed to assist. ACT with Integrity has a three step process to Analyze the situation, Consider the consequences and Take approprate action. But this is easier said than done. The ethics we have in business are likely the ethics we have in life. There are exceptions such as people who would never steal from a store but lift products from the office. It may seem different to most people but the consequences can mean losing your job which is actually a higher risk than a sterm warning from a store employee.

Most of us learn by example. Our parents were the greatest influence on our behavior and our ethics and conduct. Molding by example is the surest way for behaviors to change. The Lead with Integrity training video demonstrates how leaders can assure the proper behavior by seting a clear and ethical example with their own conduct.

Having great ethics and business ethics for that matter is not easy.  It it were everyone would be looked at in a positive light. And that’s what it really comes down to. What we get with unethical behavior is short term. Ethics is how we are remembered. How our family remembers us. We can be known as someone who had great ethics and conduct or be known as Bernie Madoff.