Note also that this framework does not mean that you will make any money with your idea. It does not question the financial integrity of your plan, or the overall wisdom of it. It is simply an ethical framework.
You will notice that the framework is quite logical. But what if you are primarily a person who makes decisions on emotion? Sometimes you might be faced with a decision that has significant consequences for your life and your emotions are pulling you to do it.
It is helpful to keep in mind at least one or two key questions in your head that you can turn to at any moment. For me, the questions are, “What would God think of my action if he were with me?” (as He is) and “Would I like my action to be reported on the front page of the newspaper?”
Section 1: The Power of the Idea
Ex 8: Evaluate Ideas (Cont.)
Now we must understand the role of ethics as we evaluate decisions. Perhaps you have heard of the term “Baker’s Dozen”. It dates back to the 13th Century in England and was the result of the actions of a group of bakers who followed a code of ethics associated with the Worshipful Company of Bakers in London. Bakers who were caught cheating their customers could be punished by having their hand cut off with an axe. To avoid this, bakers began to give 13 pieces (or small loaves) of bread to a customer instead of the usual 12 in a dozen to avoid any possibility of being known as a cheat. As we evaluate our idea, we want to know if it serves the customer well, and if it is legal, moral and ethical. But what framework can we use to determine this?
Making an Ethical Decision
Sometimes you face a decision and you’re not sure if it’s ethical or not. Here is a framework you can easily follow.
Even though all lights say “Go”, the Holy Spirit may still say “Wait” or “Stop”. I’m so thankful that He’s on our side. He’s our counsellor. He loves to help us walk the right way, if we only stop to ask Him and listen.
Allow me to tell you a story of how this works for me. I told one of my students at the college that I was filming these high school business courses. He said, “You know, you can buy these great clothes, wear them for a day, then bring them back a week later and you get your money back. That way you can get a whole wardrobe of cool clothes for your filming. Here’s what happened. There was a warning bell in my spirit – that’s my intuition, telling me to hold up. Then I thought right away, “if word got out and this story was told on the front page of the paper, would I be pleased?” That’s all I needed. It wasn’t an option. Besides, I have a nice blue shirt and sport jacket and that’s all I need.
Maybe you need a partner who will hold you accountable for your decisions. You can call that person and say, “I’m faced with this decision. What should my response be in light of my ethical framework that I gave you?” Then your partner walks you through it and helps you to see clearly your best course of action.
It’s through frameworks like this that we learn to live out our ethics in the challenging environment of business.