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Business Plan Resources - The Four Keys to Building the Ethical Business
by Peter McLean

Success in business comes as a result of getting the right things done, in the right way, by the right people, all the time. If our business structure supports this kind of effort, then we will be the proud owner of a business that very quickly achieves outstanding and lasting results.

All good business relationships are based in trust. The higher the trust levels are within a business, and between the business and its customers and partners, the more rapidly the results will be achieved.

When people trust us, business deals are done very quickly and often on the basis of a handshake. High trust and high ethical standards produce high performance. Trust is one of the highest valued attributes and qualities of good leadership.

The organizational architecture of the value-based business shapes the creation of meaning and purpose, in the first instance, and informs all actions.

Clarity about our Mission, Vision and Values and living by these elements creates trust in our business. It does this because our espoused belief system gives us a benchmark against which all of our behavior can be measured. Strategy and leadership are then grounded in and informed by always doing that which is right.

A clearly articulated Mission, Vision, Values, and a list of the expected behaviors that flow from these elements, form the basis of our employment contract with all of the people involved in our business.

By consistently carrying out our small business plan in light of these elements, we build exponential value into our business.

These elements inform all the activities of our business, from policy development, planning, leadership skill development, information and communication flow, through to our systems and processes that ensure compliance with standards, measures and benchmarks.

Being clear in the first instance about the meaning and purpose of the business delivers excellence as a natural outcome of putting the right principles in play.

In the value-based business, standards and compliance are never seen as an imposition. They simply represent that which the business is already and naturally pursuing. This approach leads in turn to even higher levels of performance and excellence.

The high trust, value-based business is integrated and aligned by these critically important foundational elements.

The four keys to getting this right are:

* Know what you are in business for
* Align your thinking to this value base
* Integrate and align all activities
* Create a never-ending cycle of reinforcement.

We Must Know What We Are in Business For
Our Mission embodies and spells out for everyone the reason we exist as a business. To this end, we must think it through at a very deep level and align all our business activities with the sense of meaning that we have created for our business.

It naturally follows that all the people we deal with, at whatever level, are watching and testing us against this stated meaning. We must be "centered" in this meaning and hold ourselves accountable to a high standard of personal behavior, responsibility and accountability. We must examine ourselves daily to ensure that we are adhering faithfully to the Mission and Vision that we have articulated.

To have an ethical business, we must be straight forward in all of our dealings with others, within our business, within our industry and within our community. When we make a mistake, we must admit it, learn from it and move on. To build trust, we must trust ourselves and trust the people around us.

All of Our Thinking Must Be Aligned to Our Value Base
All effective decision making is bounded by the belief system we have established for ourselves in our business by way of Mission and Vision.

Our list of Values creates a code of expected behavior that we hold ourselves and each other accountable to on a daily basis.

When we do this, we create clarity, coherence and consistency. The result is a high-trust culture, where everyone is on the same page.

All of Our Activities Are Aligned and Integrated
The power of having the foundational elements right in our business means that we can consistently align all of our business activities with our value base.

By having our proper foundation in place, we create the high-trust, ethical environment, where the expected behaviors are clearly spelled out and understood by everyone involved in the business.

This environment becomes trustworthy because there is a clearly understood business philosophy, mindset, common shared frameworks, and tools and processes that build competency and capability that are used uniformly throughout the business.

Create a Never-Ending Cycle of Reinforcement
These elements must be consistently reinforced at every level of the business and within all business activities. Everyone must know his or her particular role and how to carry it out. This understanding must be reviewed on a regular basis as part of the performance management process.

Alignment, integration and continuous improvement are parts of a never-ending cycle that drives the whole business to even higher levels of performance and speed in achieving its objectives.

Peter McLean is a highly experienced Coach, Senior Manager, Consultant, Business Owner and Company Director. He successfully coaches top Executives in some of Australia’s leading multi-national companies. One such Senior Executive recently won an International Award for Excellence within his particular field. In addition, Peter works extensively in the Public, Private, Commercial and Not-for-Profit sectors, delivering outstanding results for his clients. To learn more of how you can benefit from Peter’s experience, visit the Essential Business Coach web site!


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