When you’re looking for the best principles of business ethics for successful deals, you can’t be too specific. You cannot, for instance, state ‘Do not do here’ or ‘Do not do this’ – that is far too generic and, therefore, ineffective in setting standards. What you need to do, rather, is to specify your expectations, so that what you’re talking about is specifically something you’re able to control. But how do you do that? Don’t you agree that it is virtually impossible to have everything in writing – that unless every single aspect of business transactions is in some inkling of a legal sense, there are inherent problems? Yet business ethics are all governed by the same principles of universal business practice that apply to everything else.
A business ethics course will teach you the various components of those principles and how to judge whether a person or a company is meeting them. Along with these courses come from various forms of support, including case studies, textbooks and websites that explain and promote ethical business practices. All this is well and fine, but how do you know what principles of business ethics are important for you to observe? How do you know what areas to address and which to ignore? How do you know which ethical conduct will get you the results you want – or hope for?
The answers to those questions are not all that easy to come by, but if you put some effort into thinking about them, you should eventually arrive at a set of answers that you can use to guide your own behavior in business. In this way, an ethics program can become a tool that helps you succeed in your own negotiations, and even with other people involved in business. An ethics education is invaluable to anyone who is looking for opportunities to maximize his profits – as the principles of business ethics are essentially no-no’s for almost any given situation. If you are seeking opportunities to grow your business, ethics training is critical – it is practically the foundation of successful negotiations.
Of course, your success in business, or any successful deals for that matter, rests ultimately on your own ethics. You need to make sure that ethical conduct in your dealings with others is embedded in your core values – and then practice them routinely. You must learn what they are and remember them. After all, a person who buys a product only to find out that it contains ingredients that are potentially damaging to his health, isn’t likely to be very enthusiastic about buying the product again. Similarly, a person who negotiates a deal on his behalf because he believes that the terms are fair is also unlikely to be too keen on abiding by them if he finds out later that the deal wasn’t, in fact, fair at all.
Those who are close to you will know whether you are practicing good business ethics or not. If you have someone working with you, they can notice any unethical behavior and give you advice about it. That said, however, it is sometimes possible to train yourself to be more conscious of what you do when making business decisions. For those who want to do this, ethics training is a necessary step towards greater effectiveness in business ethics and successful deals.
How, though, does one go about developing an awareness of ethics in business? One of the simplest things you can do, and something virtually everyone does, are asking questions. For example, you may wonder, if a salesperson has a reputation for aggressive selling, why does he get such a favorable review from customers? The simple answer is that, by asking the question, you can see how a person who promotes successful deals might actually do better by following some of the same ethical principles that guide the actual sales process – such as, for instance, building a relationship that will be built on trust and credibility rather than on ego and superiority.
You can also research successful deals yourself. Look for stories of how companies negotiate attractive contract terms or how salespeople develop strong working relationships. Read about successful companies and evaluate them. Then look at what you learned about successful salespeople and the lessons they learned from their own ethics training.
The bottom line is that no business can do without ethics and no successful business can work without ethics. A business is not a contract to sell a product, after all, it is a way for people to live. That said, however, business ethics are just as important for salespeople as they are for doctors, lawyers, accountants, or construction workers. And even if you are just getting started in business, you should consider ethics training.