Is it better to do the right thing for the wrong reason or the wrong thing for the right reason?
I don’t know the answer to that; but if I had to pick one I think I would choose the wrong thing for the right reason because of the belief that good acts are tainted by the motives behind them. On the other hand, with that choice, the right thing never occurs. So maybe getting the right thing done in the end is more important than the motives?
The above was completely cyclical conversation with no resolution, so my next question brings into focus a chicken and an egg…
If the right thing was popular it definitely would occur more frequently, and if the right thing was lucrative? Well, we’d all be saints. Our businesses reside in a very aware culture and society. Having a good handle on CSR, Corporate Social Responsibility, is more popular then we think and when ignore it, more damaging than we anticipated.
Heightened awareness of our global citizenship: Consumers are becoming more and more aware that we live in a global society. What we do here, doesn’t just affect our neighbors and our country. Decisions that businesses make affect the global environment. This isn’t a new development; this has always been the case. What is new is that consumers and clients are now aware of it. Their thought process is changing and with that also the way that businesses need to behave. In the business global environment, industries are rewarded and punished in regards to the degree that they grasp their corporate social responsibilities. There are many numbers and studies and examples that show that being a lucrative saint is possible.
Put your time where your mouth is: People are not blind, deaf and dumb. Consumers are no longer impressed by an oversized check being handed to a charity (attached to the big tax write-off). The more active and involved that a company is in a charity or in a cause the more impressive, dedicated and responsible they will seem. So put your time, your money and your actions where your mouth is; if you can get your heart involved as well that would be a huge plus with many benefits that numbers cannot equal.
Responsibility reaps rewards: The online Wall Street Journal wrote an article entitled, Does Being Ethical Pay? and they wrote:
Efforts to move toward ethical production, and promote that behavior, appear to be a wise investment. In other words, if you act in a socially responsible manner, and advertise that fact, you may be able to charge slightly more for your products. On the other hand, it appears to be even more important to stay away from goods that are unethically produced. Consumers may still purchase your products, but only at a substantial discount.
So in short, there is a good chance that good behavior will be rewarded, but bad behavior is surely going to be punished and its aftermath appear in business’ bottom lines.
Technically, we are building a case for doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Doing good to obtain personal gain, I don’t think makes the gods smile. But the more money a business makes the more they have to put into worthy causes and the more good that they do; so maybe we can work with motives that need a little filtration. So anyways, there was an egg and a chicken… no wait, there was a chicken and then there was an egg….
Sources: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121018735490274425.html, Image Source: http://cornerstonetechnology.com/blog/2010/03/chicken-and-egg-bootstrap-style/, http://socialmediamagic.com/blog/blogging-ethics/, http://blog.itriagehealth.com/chicken-egg-sick/