By Dick Stark
Several months ago, I received a call from one of our consultants on-site at a government agency. We were a subcontractor to a systems integrator. The consultant explained that the systems integrator was having trouble with its Remedy SLAs making it appear that their SLA responses were more favorable than they actually were. What should we do? Do we have an obligation to do anything?
The answer is that we must do what is right and that is to inform the integrator of the apparent mistake. We took action and sent an email with an offer to fix the formula so the correct data was accurately reported. This was the right call and I was proud we recognized a potential business ethics issue and took action early on.
The two-year anniversary of our National Capital Business Ethics Award (NCBEA) is this month and it’s important that we don’t let the aura of the award wear off. Ethics, honesty, integrity, and doing what is right have become the foundation of RightStar and our success. Customers want to do business with other ethical companies. Additionally, employees want to work for ethical companies that they can trust to do the right thing. We now see ethics as a business driver that adds value to our customers, employees, partners, and to our bottom line.
What is at the heart of ethics at RightStar? I tell others that it is the Golden Rule: whatever you want others to do to you, do also to them. In other words, ask the question, “how would I like to be treated in this situation?” I agree with management consultant, Jim Blanchard, “If we had only one rule in this company, it would be the Golden Rule. If we’ve got that one right, no other rules are necessary.”
The thinking behind business ethics is this: do the right thing and it will maximize profit. Really? Don’t we also have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profit at any cost? And how can we “give back” if we aren’t making any money?
We do have a recent feel good ethics success story. Several months ago, we worked hard on a sales opportunity with an Atlanta based non-profit, ToolBank, that rents hammers, gloves, ladders, power drills, wheelbarrows, shovels and dozens of other types of tools for charitable organizations. ToolBanks across the U.S. loaned over $1.66 million worth of tools in 2012, equipping nearly 73,000 volunteers to build playgrounds, paint murals, remove graffiti, reclaim abandoned lots, and beautify parks.
It turns out that ToolBank’s reservation system is based on the Remedy AR platform and in need of an upgrade. After an extensive selection process which included several reference checks, RightStar was selected for the job. One of the reasons ToolBank picked us was due to our similar cultures. As you all know, we sponsor a company-wide volunteer day, give everyone several volunteer-time off days per year, allow conversions of paid time off to charity, and support a Personal Progression Plan (PPP) for every employee.
ToolBank has yet to raise the money needed to fund our project, but it shouldn’t take long. I even introduced them to an old friend of mine at Cisco, responsible for the Cisco foundation. This should be the start of a beautiful partnership!