An Ethical Business Workshop at the West Chester, Ohio Rotary Club Meeting. (Melinda Zemper/ Oak Tree Communications)

Our local Ethical Business Committee, of which I chair, recently developed a pocket-sized Ethical Business Guide that our staff and others attach their business card to and hand (or mail) to new staff, clients, prospective clients and casual contacts we meet along the way. The objective is to promote ethical business practices locally, nationally, and ultimately world-wide.

What I am learning however is that the practice of putting a business card on the back of the guide and handing it to others puts the world on notice that we are ethical in all kinds of business practices.

After recently purchasing a used vehicle and being handed a blank title signed and notarized by the seller, I headed to the title division for the new title. So far, every state I have lived in requires sales tax be paid on the purchase price of the vehicle when the new document is made. The purchase price is noted as a part of the title. The document was blank and there was an opportunity to save a couple of hundred bucks by “lowballing” the purchase price on the form. Now, it is easy to rationalize how much better off the funds are in my pocket rather than the state or, “everybody does it”. However, that booklet with my card attached was handed to a couple of hundred people. Now if I were to cheat on that, could I ever hand that booklet out again with integrity? This example is a small one but since the “hand-out” process began for me, that question occurs all too frequently.

Truth comes with a price.

Jim Mullaney

READ MORE: If you like this article you will want to read “Teaching Your Staff to Become Liars?

Jim Mullaney is President and CEO of Edoc Service, Inc. a “Fast 55” virtual company based in Cincinnati, Ohio.