How To Teach Business Ethics


By Jack Yoest

basketball ref

Your Business Professor was teaching our 5-year-old boy some basketball moves in our backyard court.

Grab a jersey here. Push there. Lean. Scream.

Charmaine looked out the window from her home office. As a Kentucky Wildcats fan, she understands basketball’s contact nature, but she had never heard the narrative, the coaching.

“What are you doing?” she asked me.

“Teaching him how to cheat,” I said as I deftly showed my boy my favorite defensive move: How to gently touch the shooter’s arm without getting caught by the referee.

And I have another motivation. Knowing how to “bend” the rules would be a valuable skill if — more like, when! — he decides to run his own business. I am a forward-thinking father.

“I don’t think I like that.” She was worried about our boy. “Isn’t that how all those Tyco guys got started?”

I stopped to give her argument some consideration…

Read the story here.

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2 Responses

  1. Gabe Haddad says:

    The main point that I got out of this article is that in order to run a successful small business, one must be honest from the beginning since the entrepreneur is thinking about the long run, rather than the short. In terms of relating opening a business to playing a sport, there are some aspects that are similar, such as strategizing (whether it be how to play defense, or where the location of the small business should be). In order to be a successful entrepreneur, the business owner needs to find a competitive advantage against his opponent rather than to cheat his way around. For example, in the game of basketball, one team can find their competitive advantage by simply being the taller team rather than cheating by pulling on jerseys. In terms of opening a business, a competitive advantage can be the prime location, rather than finding an illegal way to save money. The difference between a sports game and owning a business is that in the long run, the business owner is going to get caught since there is always going to be more than one person watching. In terms of a sports game, it is much easier to get away with cheating because it is a short-term process.

  2. Lucius Mapp says:

    Good Afternoon,

    After taking the time to read this post, I now have a bit of a different perspective. As a former D-1 football athlete, we were taught all of the above, however, we were also taught when was the time to step up to be a leader and when to take that cheap shot. I’d admit, I’m not particularly proud of some of the things I’ve done on the football field, however, I believe it was because I’ve experienced those traits early on that I was able to develop a character that I would be proud of.

    Today as a Human Resource Specialist, I observe some of these traits going on in the workplace. I see how some of the employees brush up to the managers to get an extra edge by perhaps bringing them coffee or lunch. I’ve even seen employees tell their managers about what their colleagues are doing in hopes to get a promotion, or step into their place. I would consider this cheating in the workplace because I look at it as “crabs in the barrel”. People will try to get the edge on you the first chance they get and at any cost sometimes. In my profession as HR, I’ve learned to hold my personal integrity and morals intact versus playing the yes man. If you play the cheating game long enough, you will eventually get caught.

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