As I go through my entrepreneurship class, I’ll need to post these weekly summaries of what I’ve learned over the course of the week. Occasionally, there will also be specific topics or questions I need to address in the post.
In this second week, we’ve looked more closely at the question of business ethics. If I could summarize the message in two words they would be people and integrity. What has become clear to me throughout my reading related to this class and what was reiterated this week is that business and entrepreneurship center around people. As an entrepreneur, I strive to help people; and to succeed, I rely upon the relationships that I build with others. An ethical business places people before profit.
The strong relationships required for a business to succeed are built upon a foundation of integrity. As an entrepreneur, my actions are consistent with my values, and my values derive from a strong moral compass. My moral compass is based upon my Christian discipleship. My compass sets me on a course defined by traditional values of respect, honesty, service, fellowship, work, and charity. As I remain true to these values, as I have integrity, the people I work with grow to trust me.
I was most struck this week by a talk by Elder Lynn G. Robbins entitled Making a Living and a Life. In this talk, Elder Robbins provides a model or a rubric to evaluate a business’s ethics. Without delving into the details of his model, the main point is that the most ethical businesses care about the people they serve and actively strive to do right by their fellow men; the least ethical businesses have their eye set firmly on the making of money without regard for the impact or at the expense of their fellow men.
As I embark upon my entrepreneurial life, I want to build my business to fit into the highest levels of Elder Robbins’s model. This will happen naturally as I turn my eyes outward, showing love and respect for others, and turn my eyes upward, showing love and respect for God. In short, I will build an ethical business by focusing on people and integrity.