Business + Ethics = ?

About half way through the second course in my MBA program I realized something was seriously lacking in the discourse, ethics. It is not for lack of discussion, ethical problems are proposed regularly by the professors – the blame rests solely on the backs of the students. These people seem more concerned with creating the appearance of being above-board while making a buck then they are with actually doing so.

One of the most difficult things I struggle with as a businessman is navigating this world of half truths while still delivering value to my customers and share holders as well as being able to look myself in the mirror each morning. It was this mind set that drew me seven years ago to join a company that was known for it’s “left coast” thinking. Unfortunately firms like this are few and far between.

While there are many movements out there making an attempt to groom more enlightened business leaders (look no further than Ken Wilber’s Integral Institute), it was a pleasant surprise to read the following piece by The Nation editor Katrina vanden Heuvel entitled Needed: Enlightened Business Leaders. In this piece she uses the passing of Veryfine Products Inc. chairman James Rowse to slam the “anything-goes” business atmosphere fostered by the Bush administration while calling upon America to reclaim “the ideals of hard work and fair play” that his life embodied.

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