The Ethics Strategy #2

As part of a long-term research project, I have identified five competitive strategies common to organizations that are successful and ethical on a sustained basis. None of these strategies considered alone guarantees ethical success. I will be sharing these strategies at markpastin.com and through a series of posts. Here is the second strategy.

Choose business partners carefully.

A wise adage says, “Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas.” If you want to do business ethically, choose business partners that do business ethically. Even though your business partners are independent businesses, you assume responsibility for their actions when you choose to work with them. It did BP no good to point out that the accident that led to Gulf oil spill was due to a contractor; you cannot outsource responsibility. It is widely recognized that managing relationships with business partners is a key to competitive success today. An ethics strategy and a good business strategy converge with both requiring a careful look at business partners, although through somewhat different lenses.