The Negotiator Magazine

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4. I resolve to speak ill of no person whatever, not even in a matter of truth; but rather by some means excuse the faults I hear charged upon others, and upon proper occasions, speak all the good that I know of everybody.

Good ethics?? Seems so! What does the wisdom of the ages say to us today? It's there. We just need to look for it!

The third thing hindsight teaches me that one must come to peace with change in one's life. Change is a norm and to fight it is a waste of time and energy. Hindsight teaches me that change is an opportunity you can guide, but not control. And where are all these opportunities, all around us. Change is like aging. You can't control it, you can only guide it! Yet, in dealing with change there are three things we need to consider. You need to be able to anticipate, adapt, and act. The one that most companies have the toughest time dealing with is ADAPT. When businesses don't adapt to changing customer needs, the customers go elsewhere. The problem arises, occasionally, that when a company adapts, it may tend to play "catch up" with a competitor and its ethics may suffer in order to get the business. Ethics values must never be compromised. They may need to be further defined, more aptly applied, and more focused on the relationship with the customer rather than just the making of a sale.

We need to look to our own "journey" in business, your company's history, your business relationships. what you value as a person and as a company, and those reflections will give you a direction as to where you need to go. All of this is based on the reflective value of hindsight.

The "I" in ethics is for Intuition. What does your gut tell you is the right thing to do. I believe we were all born with this dynamic in place, we just learn how not to use it and I think I can prove it to you. Do you remember being in first or second grade and you got that first thick black pencil and the teacher said, for your first test, "I want you to answer all the questions that you know first and then, if you have time, go back and give the rest your best guess." We all remember something like that, and we did just that.

However, when we finished and looked up at the clock we had five more minutes left over. So what did we do? We started to think and we looked at that test and said, there can't be five B's in a row, there's got to be a C in there and we change some of our answers. And I would bet that most of those answers we changed went from right to wrong! Our "gut" knew what was right from wrong, but our thinking about it made us change those answers. Sometimes, when ethical issues arise, we really need to listen to our gut, our intuition, or conscience, because thinking can rational the situation, but listening to your Gut gives us insight.

Alvin Toffler, who wrote the books Future Shock and Third Wave, among others stated that people are going to need to learn three things by the year 2000. They're going to need to learn how to choose better, how to relate better and how to re-learn what they've already learned. He goes on to say that the illiterates of the future will not be those that cannot read or write, but those cannot re-learn.

To learn how to choose, relate and re-learn are key concepts in developing an ethical approach to business and life.

Our intuition helps us develop our own personal moral code. When that moral code is challenged, negated or altered, we have what I call "qualms of conscience." We know that something just isn't right about a particular situation, our "spirit" just can't rest, if you will. That is the amber light, warning us to go slow, reflect and think a little bit more the decision at hand.

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