But because entrepreneurship is now under the intense spotlight of society's gaze, this puts a certain duty on entrepreneurs and business leaders in general. More than ever, today's entrepreneurs have a duty to exercise social consciousness. As arbiters of innovation, entrepreneurs -- true entrepreneurs, and not the star-struck wannabes who lack the true entrepreneurial spirit -- are in a prime position to shape the course of culture and society.
An organization cannot change behaviour; only individuals can. And it is true that sometimes individuals will change their behaviour when they are introduced to new incentives or information, such as new sales incentives or better ways to do my work.
Our growing love of healthy and sustainable food doesn't necessarily translate into a growing love of cooking. Many people who want to eat healthy and interesting meals don't have the time, nor the inclination to cook. Enter the meal-kit service business, estimated to grow to $3 billion in the coming years.
We shouldn't encourage that thinking. We need to create a revolution of people who reward others for "doing the right thing". We need Canadian companies to be ethical, to be honest, and to want to do the right thing, because it is the right thing to do.
Many business crises -- whether it is the BP oil spill or the GM ignition switch -- escalate into ethics crises. What turns a business crisis into an ethics crisis is often an initial unwillingness to accept responsibility for the wrong actions. The public will judge this unwillingness to accept responsibility as a sign of poor ethics.
One of the most important ethical decisions most of us make is who to work for. You may think that your choice of employer will not affect your ethics, but this is unrealistic. When you work for a company that engages in unethical conduct, it is hard to survive without participating in or at least condoning that conduct.
Western industry will mistakenly argue that integrity laws will disadvantage them or cost their industry jobs, but the reality is the opposite. Tough integrity laws will prevent substandard competitors from offering bribes, will disincentivize recipients from receiving bribes, and will strengthen Western companies who compete on the basis of price, quality and service.
Discounting the school reputation because of the lower wages earned by its alumni makes no sense because wages usually reflect the local cost of living, which again is higher in large urban centers. Those who choose to work in small towns are unlikely to earn the high salaries that will make their schools shine in the MBA rankings.
Your brand has an audience you've worked hard to cultivate, but part of that includes those who are the most connected to your company: your employees. They're already working together to achieve your businesses goals and are passionate about the company succeeding. You should look to find ways to give your team a chance to become involved in something bigger.
Mark Pastin is an award-winning ethics thought leader, ethics consultant, and keynote speaker. The CEO of the Council of Ethical Organizations, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting ethics in business and government, he is author of a new book, Make an Ethical Difference: Tools for Better Action.