Ethics Suck.

How’s that for a blog headline?  Does it make you think we don’t care as a firm and can do whatever we want?  Well that’s not true, but it’s what new clients and team members think for a second when I make that statement initially.  What I really mean is business might initially appear to be easier if we didn’t have to follow our ethical code of conduct.

Doing the right thing is always paramount. Sometimes when it gets busy and tough, we joke about “Ethics Suck” as it appears to be simpler if we didn’t have to try and do things right the first time.   We have to take responsibility and do right by the client and our internal team too.   Some people think it’s too hard and look for easier ways of doing things, but good firms don’t.

For example, a couple years ago we ordered an expensive piece of equipment for a client.  When the box showed up, there were 2 inside, not just one!  After confirming we weren’t crazy, I took a picture and sent it to a senior person at the manufacturer, asking if he knew about this error.  He thought I was kidding, but then looked at the pictures.  After a few hours, it was discovered someone in shipping was taping 2 boxes together to save on freight to the distributor.  In turn, the distributor was not breaking apart the bundle, it wasn’t the distributors fault as no one told them.  When someone ordered the part, they shipped the “2 pack”.

This was a new part number for the manufacturer and they had shipped over a dozen of the “buy one get one free bundle” as we jokingly called it.  Sadly, here is where the story gets a little ugly.  We were the only ones to call and tell the manufacturer and discuss the error.

It would have been easy to keep the extra equipment and sell it, but “Ethics Suck” got in the way, as it always should and always will.  The manufacturer was very thankful someone spoke up and they fixed the inventory issue right away.

Our team knew to do the right thing and we still joke about it today.  But the message is extremely clear. Sometimes doing the right thing is tough and even though you could get away with it, you really don’t.  Ethics don’t suck, they make the person and the business.

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