By Linda Fisher Thornton
We need money to exchange goods and services, pay bills and grow our businesses. So what’s the problem with it? The problem is that profitability cannot become our defining business goal, and it cannot replace values as the central beacon of our decision-making.
Money has no inherent moral grounding.
Since it has no inherent moral grounding, we can’t ever let money be the deciding factor in our decision-making. We have to balance the quest for dollars with strong ethical values. It is this moral grounding that ensures that we will consider how our decisions benefit or harm others. Making profitability a singular goal leaves an organization stuck in self-serving mode.
In self-serving mode, anything that brings in dollars looks good.
A focus on money alone causes leaders to plod on, as if wearing blinders, ignoring unintended consequences and harm.
We can’t put money where morality should be.
Have you ever lived in a house constructed by a builder who saved fifty cents by using a cheaper part, and that “savings” interfered with your enjoyment of your home or cost you major repair problems? How do you feel about food companies that choose the cheapest ingredients without regard to the health impact of the products they sell? The self-serving pursuit of profit doesn’t work in today’s world. People expect much more.
Ethical leaders care for constituents (not just profits).
Money lacks inherent meaning and ethical values. It is just a token of exchange. It is our responsibility to add the ethical values.
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