Perusing newspapers this morning, I came across an article in Globe and Mail from one of my favourite Canadian journalists, Christie Blatchford. It is on sponsorship for police events, ineptness of boards and people good enough to stick to their principles.

Why does it consistently remain so difficult for people and organizations to make ethical decisions? Why is it so obviously easy to spot the conflict of interest, the inappropriateness or the nepotism looking at the situation from the outside, but not from the inside?

Here are the three  questions I always ask myself and advise my clients to, to make ethical decisions?

  1. Is the considered course of action legal? (there is no point in talking ethics before this point is cleared)
  2. Does it pass the newspaper test? (would you be comfortable reading about it on the front paper of a national daily?)
  3. Is it right for us? (is it congruent with our image, image of our partners, suppliers, customers, etc?)

Why is it so difficult?