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Business and Honor: A Pledge

While rereading the remarkable Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute, an odd phrase popped into my mind: business with honor. Sounds kind of mafioso, doesn’t it? I tried to flick it away, another random bit of brain static, but something about it stuck. Honor and business. What’s the connection?

As a B2C marketer, it’s in my bones to honor consumers. Armed with data and history, insight and instinct, I have always sought ways to improve their lives. I take their experiences and comments seriously.

But I’ve done a far less adequate job honoring the many others in my business ecosystem. Retailers? Obstacles between me and consumers. People I reported to? Obstacles or irrelevancies. Coworkers? Vehicles for fulfilling my mission.

I have failed often and failed badly when judged against the standard of doing business with honor. Have I lied or cheated. No. Never. I don’t do that. But have I treated every other human I did business with as fully human? No. They’ve usually been objects to manipulate.

I am shaken by this insight, and inspired. By seeing how I have acted, I feel empowered to choose to act differently.

Business is my discipline in life. I will do it with honor. I write this not in my private journal, but rather in my public blog. Please: when you see me fall short of this bar, let me know.

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