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Why Doing the Right Thing is Always the Right Thing to Do

“Stay focused on your mission, remain steadfast in your pursuit of excellence, and always do the right thing.” - Mark Esper

Bernard Madoff, once chairman of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, formerly a penny stock brokerage firm, grew his business until it was among the top market brokerage firms on Wall Street.

Madoff respected and liked by many was riding high until pleading guilty to 11 federal felonies in 2009, authorities discovered that his firm was a massive financial fraud, the largest in U.S. history. Madoff was operating the biggest Ponzi scheme the world had ever seen. In the end, nearly 5,000 clients lost investments in excess of fifty billion dollars.

Fraudulent practices land Bernie in prison with a sentence of 150 years. Madoff, knowledgeable enough to be wealthy and help others do the same, would have had it all had he only done the right thing; he’s now paying the price for doing the wrong thing.

Strategic thought leader Prachi Juneja says, “Most of us would agree that it is ethics in practice that makes sense; just having it carefully drafted and redrafted in books may not serve the purpose. Of course, all of us want businesses to be fair, clean and beneficial to the society. For that to happen, organizations need to abide by ethics or rule of law, engage themselves in fair practices and competition; all of which will benefit the consumer, the “society and organization." (1)

Doing the Right Thing Benefits Everyone

“The name Ritz-Carlton oozes sophistication, and the staff makes sure the service matches the brand’s reputation. Ritz-Carlton is known for putting guests first and for creating incredibly personalized experiences. The company’s main focus is to build an emotional connection between guests and employees for the best hotel stay possible.”

Take note of Ritz-Carlton’s catchphrase: “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen,” that phrase not only adds value to customers it validates them as well, which is the right thing to do.

Ritz-Carlton is unsurpassed when it comes to customer service. They’ve created a culture that empowers and releases employees to make the guest experience the best it can be. This sense of empowerment making employees feel like they’re in control, and their guests feel like royalty, is also the right thing to do.

Develop a Culture of Doing the Right Thing

“If you want the people in the stores to take care of the customers, you have to make sure you’re taking care of the people in the stores.” – Sam Walton

1. Validation Fuels Appreciation

It’s a long-established fact that most resignations can be traced to a lack of validation. A culture that adds value to employees leads to a lower rate of turnover, and valuing the consumer is repaid by a higher rate of repeat business because it’s the right thing to do.

2. Show Yourself to Be Trustworthy

No one does repeat business with people who cannot be trusted. To be trusted is an affirmation of good character. Long-term agreements are possible when trust is high. Successful marriages, businesses, and lifelong friendships rest on trust.

Stephen M.R. Covey says, “The process of building trust is an interesting one, but it begins with yourself, with what I call self-trust, and with your own credibility, your own trustworthiness. If you think about it, it's hard to establish trust with others if you can't trust yourself.”

Keep your word, place others first, and willingly go the extra mile for the people around you, not to make a sale or impress a client but because it’s the right thing to do.

3. Watch Your Heart and Use Your Head

I learned a long time ago not to allow my good intentions to be badly spoken of, I only need to ask myself if what I’m planning to do might be interpreted as having an ulterior motive, its enough to make me rethink and put myself in the other person’s place, if they’re comfortable I’m very comfortable.

The golden rule; “treat others as you wish to be treated yourself” adds value to everyone since it places such a high value on them because this too is the right thing to do.

“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” - Mark Twain


(1) “Importance of Ethics” by Prachi Juneja,

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.****

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