Order Out of Chaos: Business Ethics and Priorities

Business Ethics and Priorities: a lesson in humanistic management.

In a previous post I discussed how business ethics and human ethics. http://humanisthappiness.blogspot.com/2015/10/business-ethics-are-human-ethics.html  I want to expand on this concept here.

It isn’t enough to have a set of ethics and values. You have to live by those ethics and make decisions consistent with those ethics to be an ethical person. How you choose to act matters.

Deciding how to act and what to work on is where things get complicated. This is especially true in business.

I’m an entrepreneur. I have a lot of demands on my time. In order to be effective, I have to choose what I work on and what I don’t work on. The ONLY way I can make such decisions and have those decisions help me and my business and my customers is if I have my priorities straight. And the only way I can have my priorities straight is if I have my ethics straight.

I can’t create order out of chaos unless I have a firm grasp of my ethics. My ethics dictate my priorities.  In my case, my family comes first, then helping others through my business. What I am looking for is balance.

I think the thing people have trouble with is that they think of ethics in black and white terms. Either something is good or something is bad. Those questions are easy to decide. Where morality requires extra thinking is when we are forced to choose between the greater of two goods or the lesser of two evils.

What causes problems in our personal and professional lives is when we are confronted with a variety of tasks, all of which are good. How do we choose?  Of what do we do when all of our options are bad?

The chaos in our lives almost always occurs when we are confronted by these greater of two goods or lesser of two evil situations and we chose not to choose.  Some people just can’t say no to a good request. So they become overwhelmed by the demands placed on them. They aren’t capable of saying no or prioritizing between the greater of goods. They have chosen not to prioritize their lives. And they live with the chaos that results.

We also get stuck in chaos limbo overload when all our options are bad. So we choose to do nothing. And instead of working our way out of the bad situation we find ourselves in – we live with a status quo that sucks.

Not choosing is a choice. Not prioritizing is a choice. If you want to create order in your life, you have to step up to the plate and start making decisions, even when the decisions are hard. Do your best. Set your priorities as best you can based on your ethics and see what happens.  It’s very rare that a decision can’t be undone if you change your mind later.

What I can tell you is that based on my personal practice, making choices helps me stay sane. I rarely know if the decisions I made are the right ones. It’s more that they are right for me in that moment. What I do know is that despite the chaos around me, I feel centered. Most of the time. And that’s at least something.

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