DRIVER NUMBER 5: ETHICS, SOCIETY AND COMPASSION
Last week we spoke influencing factor 4: Global Perceptions. Today let us look at influencing factor 5: ethics, society and compassion.
Humans are social beings. We love a sense of community, contact, and communication. This urge to communicate with the rest of our species has by far been the single most driver of technological advancement in the modern age. What has changed is the way we communicate and the mediums we use to do this. What has remained constant is our need to be connected with the rest of our species.
Let’s briefly touch upon ethics, society and compassion.
Companies and enterprises exist as businesses to make money. There’s no question about that. However, the way they make money is paramount. Ethics and ethical practises are more about going above and beyond the bare minimum requirements one must meet to stay within regulatory frameworks. What do we mean by this? Allow us to explain this with an example.
The rail industry in the UK is driven by a number of quality requirements and standards, which must be met for train companies to operate services. However, despite all this, the quality of customer experience has been deteriorating, thanks to delays, cancellations, rising fares and crumbling infrastructure. Whilst the legal requirements are being met, the ethics of doing business, especially in a customer facing industry are found lacking.
In this context, when we are talking about society, we mean more than the people and social structures we have in place. We are talking about the ecosystem the company is dependent on to deliver it products and services. It is not only about how many direct employees you have as a company, but about how many indirect opportunities for employment you create in the form of direct and indirect supply chain.
For example, Airbus in the UK has around 13,000 direct employees, and over a 100,000 strong workforce forms part of its supply chain, which ranges from giants like Rolls-Royce to many SME, a total of around 2,500 different companies.
Compassion is not an effect, but is the cause of good ethical practises and care for society. Having compassion as an organisation is what drives care for society and ethical practices. Compassion can be developed by adopting and define that values that a company stands by. It is possible to be profitable and still have compassion, values, care for society and ethical practices.
For example, pharmaceutical company Johnson and Johnson was founded in 1886. This means, the company has been around for just under 130 years. That is an incredibly long time. How they do business is reflected in their credo, which is available on their website.
Three pointers for today:
- Ethics is more than just meeting the bare minimum requirements that allow you to stay in business
- Having a positive impact on your society and communities matters a lot
- The key to all this is being compassionate as a business, and it starts with putting people first