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Question: What Is Essential In Building An Ethical And Sustainable Business? @ Telegram.


Leaving aside the philosophical discussion on ethics, and letting everyone have their definition of it, let us talk about it in the context of running a business.

Here, we also have to be very honest, and perhaps say something that many would not want to say out loud. The reality is that building a successful company is much easier when you exploit people and break all possible ethical codes. It’s simple economics.

Many societies have created cultures where working ten or more hours a day is considered normal, which could very well be less than what slaves used to work in ancient Egypt. Companies, in search of profit, also find ways to err on the shadow side of ethics. Many companies do it, “sub-consciously” as society gives us its view on what is ethical, and what is not.

Take, for example, a hypothetical case of an under-performing employee. Firing such workers, in most countries, is entirely “ethical.” Yet, what if that person is suffering from depression, or perhaps you did not onboard them properly? Maybe they have a serious family issue? Most of the time, the CEO’s don’t care, and this is considered  normal and perhaps even “ethical”.

So if one is to build an ethical company, the first thing one must realize is that to do so means playing the game of “business” on “hardcore-mode,” while every other player will not only be playing the easy game but will also be cheating while at it.

That said, I believe that we absolutely must take that path, for it leads towards humanity’s salvation.

So how do we do it? First, instead of playing a challenging game with cheaters – play a different game altogether. For example:

– Select other metrics for your measure of success – not just profit.
– Remove ego from your work. Do not chase unicorns.
– Select ethical goals and your own set of principles.
– Do not compete, and be okay with others doing better than you.
– Chase impact.

Second, and most important – only hire people who are entirely on board with the above. Those who are self-aware enough to also feel similarly about their own life, who care about impact and not next months paycheck. Those who take full responsibility for their life. Those who are willing to take a monetary risk for the cause.

Third – organize yourselves differently from a regular business. Remove hierarchy, give everyone full responsibility, create a unique decision-making process, find a way to make sure you check if you are still doing the ethical thing once your business is slightly bigger. Many inspiring companies do this (not sure about ethics): Valve, Buurtzorg, Patagonia. For example, you could check out TEAL Management, that talks about the future of management.

So in the end, to build a sustainable and ethical business, you need the right mindset from the start, the team that is onboard and processes that are unique. That is but the starting ingredients, what you make of it is up to you.