… is to disregard or let your employees disregard the basics of business ethics.  Promise a client to call but don’t bother, don’t return calls from your business partner and certainly do not respond to emails from you vendor – that should do it, more swiftly now than before the economy went into the tailspin.

I respond to all emails and phone calls (less the obvious spam), despite my busy schedule, because I am running a consulting business.  I am not sure why others find it to be a problem.

Earlier today, I was driving to a lunch appointment, already once rescheduled. It is 120km drive for me one way, which I was gladly taking. About 75km in and just 1hr from the time I should be in the restaurant studying the menu, my Blackberry reports an email message. It is my counterparty’s assistant asking to reschedule. They both know I am coming out of town.

I’ll give it a benefit of a doubt and say, ok, there may have been an emergency, in which case a phone call would be appropriate. Sending an email which I may or may not receive is just  plain disrespect. The outcome is simple – it is unlikely, at this stage, that this company will be benefiting from my smarts.

Showing common courtesy and adhering to some basic rules of business ethics is not rocket science. It is good for business, it is good business.

Why not do it?