SCORE Small Business Blog

Ethics: A Hidden Value – Part 1

The Key to Your Success: Your Ethics

 Ethics:  A Hidden Value – Part 1

As a business person we will always be faced with several challenges.  How these challenges are handled will show our ethical character.  Our ethical behavior expands into our businesses, as well as, our personal lives.  Below is something I saw earlier this month (author unknown) that made me realize that ethics are always important, whether others see what we do or not.  How we handle our ethical business practices create a trend that can either strengthen or weaken our businesses.

First Important Lesson: Cleaning Lady
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions until I read the last one:  “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”  Surely this was some kind of joke.  I had seen the Cleaning Lady several times… She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50′s, but how would I know her name?  I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank… Just before class ended; one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.  “Absolutely,” said the professor.”  In your careers, you will meet many people.

All are significant… They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her Name was Dorothy.

Naylor says:  Our world appears to be very small because paths do cross. This college student may not directly cross paths with Dorothy (The Cleaning Lady) again but may run across somone in her family; her children or siblings, who may become either a co-worker or boss causing the possibility of paths to be crossed indirectly with Dorothy.  Be aware of how you treat those that cross your path.

Second Important Lesson: Pick Up in the Rain
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American Woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.  Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.   A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960′s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.  She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him.   Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a Giant console color TV was delivered to his home A Special note was attached.  It read:  “Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night.   The rain drenched not only my Clothes, but also my spirits.

Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s’ bedside just before he passed away… God Bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.”  Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

Naylor says:  Interesting how everyday life conditions establish our values and how disasters seem to transform them.

Third Important Lesson: Always Remeber Those Who Serve
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a  10-year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him.  “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “Fifty cents,” replied the waitress.  The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired.  By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient.  “Thirty-five cents,” she brusquely replied.  The little boy again counted his coins.  “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said.  The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away.  The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table.  There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies.  You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

Naylor says: Patience is a virtue. It speaks volumes for you.

Stay tuned for part two to learn more about being a person of great ethics and moral character in today’s world.

Vernita Naylor, Ft. Worth SCORE
View posts by Vernita Naylor

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