How Do You Spell Success? E-T-H-I-C-S

by Frank Bucaro

I am tired of people blaming the recession for their lack of business, stagnation or loss of motivation. The reality is that companies have cash reserves, 90% of the workforce is still employed and the market is recovering. So what and where is your success? It lies within you. Let me share with you a few ideas that might help.

Reputational Compliance

Reputational Compliance

How do you spell success? E-T-H-I-C-S! Don’t think so? Read on.

E = Experience

Experience is not what happens to you, but what you make of what happens to you. Learn from the lessons of life and use that wisdom.

Values are caught not taught. Think back, who modeled those life values to you, that wisdom that stands the test of time? Identify those values and integrate them in every decision you make in life. The result is a person of true character that people admire, respect and with whom they want to do business.

T = Training

Train yourself to keep asking the question: “Am I doing the right thing at the right time for the right reason?” This question will help keep you more ethically focused.

If companies don’t train their people to focus on this question consistently, they leave themselves open to a greater chance of an ethical lapse or legal trouble. The more we train people to consider things from an ethical viewpoint, the better equipped we are for getting and keeping our business relationships.


Hindsight gives us that opportunity to, hopefully, look more objectively into the past in order to analyze, discern and, when necessary, make appropriate changes. Hindsight makes the wisdom of past experiences available to us to discern whether we have lived our values, acted ethically and were “other-centered” in our business dealings. Our obligation is to learn, assess, and adapt to be more value-based and principle-driven in our business dealings.

I= Intuition

What does your ”gut” tell you is the right thing to do? Be attentive to it as it affects all areas of your life. View intuition as your personal moral code, because deep down, you know what’s right and wrong. Tap this “gift” of self-reflection for it will lead to better decisions, which lead to better results.

C= Customer

Ask yourself: “Are you making a sale or making a customer?” Whatever your answer is, that is where your values lie. Here’s where people go astray. Your best advertising is word of mouth. Your worst advertising is word of mouth. What’s the difference? How you consistently treat customers and whether the treatment is based on your values, your ethics and the focus of building relationships.

This is what builds or destroys your reputation. Each time you interact with a customer, ask the question: “Am I making a sale or making a customer?” Your answer shows everybody what your values are.

The bottom line in business today is NOT money but how well you build quality customer relationships. If you focus on relationships, the money will take care itself.

S= Self-Esteem

Good self-esteem, as opposed to ego, simply is this. Self-esteem is my perception of myself in relation to the world, not the world’s perception of me. The more positive one’s self-esteem is the more ethical one becomes.

The best decisions are self-esteem “makers,” not self-esteem “breakers.” Self-esteem is the basis of everything we are, believe and become. Remember that no one can make you feel anything without your permission. Don’t give it to them! Own it and keep that power.

We are daily challenged to respond to the world around us. How and what we decide and the effect of those decisions will dictate in many ways the return we can expect from those decisions. Go slow, choose well and, above all, enjoy the journey—for this too shall pass.


Frank C. Bucaro is an ethics expert, a leading crusader– speaking, training and writing– on the benefits of ethics. Coming from a background in teaching with a master’s degree in religious studies, Frank’s career in business spans two decades with the message: not only is good ethics good business, it is also good for business.


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