According to the 2007 white paper “What’s Next?” published by the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) in Colorado Springs, CO, only 8% of responding professionals believed “Ethical Decision Making” was an essential leadership skill of the future. And yet, several visionaries, from Radiohead to restaurant entrepreneurs, are making headlines by betting on personal ethics, creating systems in which consumers determine the value of the good or service purchased.
For specific examples, check out the following websites:
Is such a social experiment profitable? To see the results of one such endeavor, read the following excerpt from the 2005 book Freakonomics, profiled in the New York Times: Bagel Man\’s Honor System
1. Are such seemingly extreme examples utopian and easily dismissible? Allow yourself to imagine a world that operated on the Honor System. What would it look like? What would be your role? The role of your company?
2. At their core, all human interactions–business, social, or personal–revolve around relationships. As social creatures, human beings form friendships, select partners, and do businesses with individuals whom we trust. What is your business doing to inspire trust in its consumer base? What more can you do?
3. Do most businesses treat customers as cohorts or culprits? What effect does this have on consumer psyche? On profit margins? How does your business treat customers?
ACTION: Consider the reciprocal implications of businesses actively demonstrating trust in their consumer base.