No matter what industry you’re in, holding yourself and your business to a high ethical standard is not just a matter of doing the right thing — although it certainly is that too, and most importantly — it’s also a matter of securing the future and reputation of your business.
In certain fields, however, such as the medical field, the need to behave ethically is all the more pressing, because the stakes are so much higher. Any wrongdoing on your part can immediately and permanently harm another person, and ruin lives. Rightly, this would then also potentially ruin your professional prospects and reputation.
But what does it mean to run an ethical business, and to ensure that you’re doing everything conceivably within your power to ensure that the wellbeing of your clients is safeguarded, and that your reputation is beyond reproach?
Well, here are some basic principles for running an ethical business, to keep in mind.
Follow proper security protocols
Following good security protocols might seem, in the first instance, like a strategy for protecting yourself and your bottom line, rather than a way of behaving ethically towards your clients.
Using services such as those provided by Jumio, for example, you could verify client identity in order to reduce the chances of being preyed upon or exploited, or of acting in contravention to particular points of legislation.
An important thing to keep in mind, however, is that by protecting yourself and your company, and ensuring a high standard of security, you don’t just help yourself. You also fulfil one of your fundamental duties to your clients — which is, not opening up or allowing in any threatening outside elements that could compromise their data, or the quality of the service they receive.
One of the first points of running an ethical business is, therefore, to follow proper security protocols.
Transparency is almost a synonym for ethical behaviour in business. If you have deliberately obscured terms from your clients, or misled them about the nature of your operations, you are violating their trust and engaging, wilfully, in exploitative business practices.
If, on the other hand, you run a highly transparent business, you help to ensure that your clients know exactly what they’re getting into in any given instance, and are less likely to end up in a bad situation as a result.
To the best of your ability, you should strive to emphasise transparency in your business dealings.
Practice total accountability
The author Jack Canfield wrote, in his book, “How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be”, that accepting “100% accountability for their live” was one of the great constants among the most successful entrepreneurs in the world.
Practicing total accountability is also a great way of ensuring ethical behaviour in your business — but it’s certainly not an easy thing to achieve.
Adopting a mindset of total accountability means that when things go wrong, you’re always on the lookout for how you’re to blame, and for ways in which you can make the situation better.
Suffice to say, this is generally good for the client and for your reputation, as it stops you from passing the buck.