The world is full of dangers and risks; this is a given. Much of life is devoted to managing risk and fending off danger, be it by buckling your safety belt religiously or by contributing faithfully to your company’s 401k plan (Footnote# 1). We seek safety in other ways as well, often by joining with groups of like-minded individuals where shared values create the reasonable expectation we will be treated fairly.
Wise leaders create cultures that give a sense of safety, a belief that the organization will treat people fairly and with respect. And by people, I mean ALL people: customers, team members, vendors, investors indeed the community at large (Footnote #2). “By creating a Circle of Safety, leaders reduce the threats people feel which frees them up to focus time and energy to protect the organization and seize the big opportunities” (paraphrased from “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek, also author of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action”).
While there is often opportunity for the short sighted to go for a quick buck at the expense of ethics, in the long term there is no doubt that treating people fairly and with respect is good business. But beyond being good business, to act any other way is to deny our basic humanity. Fairness and respect are ethical and moral imperatives that are fundamental to living happy, contented lives. For what doeth it profit a man if he gain the whole world but lose his own soul?
“My philosophy of life is simple. When I do good; I feel good. When I do badly; I feel bad. I prefer to feel good.” – Nathan S. Collier
Hopefully your 401k plan has a generous match; I’m proud to say The Collier Companies is unusually high at 75%.
Foot note #2:
Since balance is key, being fair does not mean you roll over and give away the store to a customer or anyone; that is not not treating others, your investors or creditors fairly. Nor is it fair to give to one customer what one cannot give to all and still stay in business.