Ethics is asking the right questions


I have just finished reading Ethicability by Roger Steare – the ‘corporate philosopher’ who researches and writes on ethics in business.

It is an amazingly inspiring book that really makes you analyse the kind of actions and decisions you take in business, and why you take them.

The definition of ‘ethicability’, which is also the strapline for the book, is ‘how to decide what’s right and find the courage to do it’.

But it’s not a dogmatic book at all – it just helps you find your own moral direction. In business, maybe more so than in personal life, doing what’s right isn’t always easy, which is why we need to be in touch with our own sense of personal and social responsibility. Roger Steare recommends we should be constantly, consciously improving our integrity, that is personal qualities such as courage, humility and patience.

He divides our ‘drivers’ into three. First is our personal conscience, our inner sense of right and wrong and the values that guide us most of the time. He then points out that we often reserve our best behaviour for certain people, our nearest and dearest, and apply different values to people outside that circle.

This is where the second driver, social conscience comes in – keeping an eye on the bigger picture and trying to be aware of how our behaviour affects everyone involved in our lives and our work. It’s this that, for example, would make people decide to pay tax rather than avoid it, even though legal loopholes offer that option, because they want to make a fair contribution to their community.

This brings me to the third driver, ‘rule compliance’, which also guides a lot of what we do. Like the other two, when this is taken to an extreme it becomes harmful. A famous experiment showed 63 per cent of people were happy to give a lethal electric shock to someone simply because they were told to. This demonstrated the sinister effect of a society with too many rules – we give up our sense of personal and social responsibility.

Ideally we would be guided by what Steare calls the ‘Philosopher’s Golden Rule’ – where we ask ourselves the question: how would I feel in that person’s situation? Then add the ‘Philosopher’s Golden Mean’ where we decide for ourselves what would be fair and reasonable.

Overall this book encourages you to ask yourself the right questions when making decisions. I found it very inspiring, and I really agree with it – I strongly believe that what goes around comes around, and just because we are in business and trying to make a profit, we shouldn’t be doing it at the expense of anyone else’s welfare.

It’s important to do well in business, but it’s also important to be a good person and do the right thing – knowing you are doing the right thing brings a lot of confidence and self-respect.

I would highly recommend Ethicability both as a book and also as a business philosophy.

The Awesome Attitudes of Positive Regard and Genuineness


Introducing Amanda Downs!  Amanda is a sales and business growth expert who has very kindly offered to be The Thousandaire Club’s first guest blogger.  Thank you Amanda 🙂

Amanda’s business, Sales GROWTH Expert, provides sales-strategy facilitation, sales-leader mentoring and sales-leadership skills training to businesses that are ready to grow.

We don’t just live differently from our parents’ generation, we work differently too.

Look back twenty or thirty years and it can often seem as though so much has changed. In the 21st century everything from the way we shop to how we consume information and breaking news is different to a generation ago. Another major change to come about in recent years has been the significant shift in workplace management and operations. Businesses everywhere are looking for ways to improve employee satisfaction and retention, adding flexibility to offices that were once ruled by an iron fist and allowed no such thing.

The way we work now – despite all the jargon surrounding flexible working, hot-desking, patchwork careers etc – means that we’re placing more emphasis on getting results from a working population that is increasingly having to be technologically savvy whilst simultaneously juggling multiple work and family stresses.

The approach we take to leading our business will make or break its results, and not just for sales teams, but for everyone involved, too. The days of the ‘command and control’ leader are gone. Leaders need to release the reins and lead collaboratively.

Without exception, the two attitudes critical to sales leadership that I train and coach at every opportunity, and that have had the most profound effect on my own leadership approach, are these:

  • Positive Regard
  • Genuineness

These are taken from the Liberating Leadership model, developed by Ali Stewart, which teaches how to lead and develop people – it’s based on 25 years of research into what high performing leaders actually do to get great results through their teams.

Attitude of Positive Regard

Having an attitude of Positive Regard is a way of accepting and supporting someone, as a fellow human being, no matter what they say or do. It’s an attitude of non-judgment and non-assumption about someone that can give them the freedom to be who they are without the fear of loss of your esteem for them. It doesn’t mean you have to like them, or approve of what they do – it just means that you respect them as human beings and their right to self-determination.

Simply put, Positive Regard means that you approach every situation, and the person involved, with a positive spin. Here’s what you mean when you say you have Positive Regard:

  • “I respect this person as a human being.”
  • “This person’s position and view of the world is valid.”
  • “This person is trying to do their best, and expects the same from me.”
  • “So…I’m going to work to understand the situation, and this person’s view of it, so that we can get the best possible result for us both.”

Having this attitude really works in teams, and especially with your customers. It comes from a counselling approach called Unconditional Positive Regard, a term coined by Carl Rogers, the creator of person-centred counselling and one of the founders of humanistic therapy.
When you take on an attitude of Unconditional Positive Regard, you can use it as a growth strategy for the people you lead. It allows them freedom; it can foster new ideas; it can increase the chances that your team will bring their best to work. And it can increase the strong likelihood that you’ll bring your best self to work, too.

Attitude of Genuineness

The Attitude of Genuineness, once we are approaching a situation with Positive Regard, is about being honest and open about your view, as well as giving valuable conditional feedback.

A lot of being a successful business owner is about building trust with your clients and customers. Genuineness is such a huge part of this because people want to feel as though you are authentic and honest – a real person.  When people view you this way, they feel more connected and trusting of you. This also means that they will be more likely to hire you, as well as support and promote you. Genuineness is integral to your business branding and ensures that you retain your customers’ trust.

Here’s what you subscribe to when you have an Attitude of Genuineness:

  • “I get where you are coming from, and this is my truthful opinion.”
  • “I give you my feedback with the intent that it will help this situation to be even better.”
  • “So…in a customer scenario, we give genuine answers when a customer asks a question or has a problem. We don’t blag, make it up or say what we think the customer wants to hear.”

Attitude is as important as having the right skills. When your attitude is one of Positive Regard and Genuineness then you are certain to be of help. You know the right things to ask your customers or your team, or to say nothing at the right moment!