Be the Conscience your Organization Needs

Be the Conscience your Organization Needs

Most businesses are only concerned with the bottom line. It’s especially tough when CEOs have to answer to investors. Many would call corporations greedy and evil. However, greed isn’t the monopoly of large companies. It also exists in SMEs. You’ve encountered businesses that cut corners, misrepresent and make wild claims or vague promises. All of these are meant to cut costs and increase profits. Yet you might be surprised to learn that many big corporations develop a conscience. And sometimes, it only takes one person to make that change happen. Dr. Tadataka Yamada When Dr. Yamada was hired to become the head of Glaxo SmithKline’s R&D, he learned that his company was part of a lawsuit against South Africa’s access to HIV drugs. Dr. Yamada thought that as a pharmaceutical company, GSK had the moral responsibility to cure disease and not prevent people from accessing life-saving drugs. Unlike other employees who shared his belief but chose to be silent, Dr. Yamada voiced his thoughts to the company’s board members. Without going into case details, he convinced GSK to drop its lawsuit and lower its drug prices for HIV. Dr. Yamada might have outside help in changing the actions of a giant corporation. But he proved that one person can still make a difference. Conscience in the Workplace Traditionally, a company doesn’t have a conscience. It has no obligations except those stated by law. For example, a business can increase prices when manufacturing costs go up. Exceptions occur when for instance, a government sets ceilings, especially for essential items like food. When greed is the force behind price increases, no law can stop it. But, when this leads to acts like false advertising, it can become a criminal offense. Your sense of right and wrong matter If you’re part of a business, you know that you should provide excellent products or services to get ahead. Imagine you’re a supervisor at an auto-repair shop. A few mechanics take advantage of unsuspecting owners to charge more for repairs. Will you keep silent or end such dishonesty? The second should always be your option. Sure, offending employees might be angry with you.But, when you tolerate dishonesty, you only encourage more of the same. Honesty and integrity always pay off in the long run. Speak out when you don’t agree with an act or practice in the office. Making decisions by choosing what’s right is always good for any organization.