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Ethics….A short course…..

My trustworthy Webster’s dictionary defines ethics as:

  • “The discipline dealing with what is good and bad and with moral duty and obligation.”

Today for the first time in years, I had a client ask me about ethics. His concern was how to define ethics in an easy to understand format so that he could post it in his office lunch area.

In developing our strategic plan we started by itemizing the values that he, as an owner, wanted to use as a foundation for building his company. In a way those values represented his ethics, but he wanted something different than positing words on a wall.

I remember reading an article that satisfied his need. The following are the main points we took from the article to post on his wall:

  1. Do the right thing even if it hurts. If you like what you see in the mirror every morning, then you are on the right track. I am not referring to the way you dress, but to the way you conducted yourself yesterday.
  2. Always give more than you take away. Just being fair with your clients, prospects and employees is not enough. Strive to always give more than is expected of you.
  3. Live each day with a purpose. If you don’t stand for something, you stand for nothing.  What you stand for in your business should be identified in your “Value Based Strategic Focus Plan” which puts forth a direction based upon values.

For me, these three points say it all. If each of us adopts these three short sentences, what a great business world we would have.


Treat others the way you would have them treat you.                                MT 7:12

Nick J. Petra CFP

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