If you are like me, a human being, you can answer yes to all of these questions. So, what is the real question? It is this: what is the basis of our decision-making? What have we established as a foundation we can rely upon consistently to use as the filter for making the right choice?
Foundation for Decision Making
We continue our exploration of ethics and developing a framework of decision-making by heading down the path of motivations for making the right choice. We have agreed, up to this point, that our desire is to share the truth (honesty), and that truth is that which is true. [We are establishing some common ground of understanding before diving into defining truth. Thanks for hanging in with me.]
Perhaps the simplest approach to this conversation on our motivation for making the right choice is laying out opposites to explore. Fear or Love? At first glance, you probably do not think of fear being the opposite of love.
Fear is focused toward self: self-preserving, self-serving, self-justifying, or self-protecting in some way. Fear is built into us, and helps keeps us alive. I am not going to jump into the middle of highway traffic for fear of being hit by an oncoming vehicle. These physical-survival decisions are not choices we are most concerned with in our conversation of ethics and decision-making. We are looking at our interactions with others both in the marketplace and at home. Our fear is self-serving in the context of protecting our perceived worth in comparison to others. If I can establish that I am better than someone else in some facet of life, then I am worth something. I am protecting my survival in non-physical ways.
Love focuses our attention outward to others. Love is giving, kind, serving, just, compassionate, patient, humble, courteous, trusting, and more. It is not self-serving or self-seeking. When making business decisions, are we taking into consideration others first? Which others should be first? the competition? the faceless regulatory institutions? How can we bring love into the discussion of business decisions? How often should we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of (or is this really approaching decisions with love)?
Remember we are exploring what motivates us to make the right decision, to be honest in our business dealings, and to walk with integrity. What is our mindset as decisions are made? Some business leaders suggest there is a balance, that it depends on the situation, and that you cannot define an absolute approach to decision-making. Love as a consistent approach in business appears to fly in the face of fundamental business principles.
We can take just about any situation and reverse-engineer [rationalize] the decision to be motivated by love or fear. The rear-view mirror perspective of decisions is not our focus. We must look through the windshield as we are moving forward in our business (and our lives) and make decisions with less than perfect information. Our attention is on the motivation behind our decision-making, not making things appear “correct” in hindsight.
It is possible to consistently approach the decision-making process with a perspective of love? How this is applied in the variety of situations faced every day is something that is worked out daily? The commitment to taking this approach comes from a conviction in believing that it works all the time. Since love never fails, how could it not work in business and all aspects of life?
What is at the core of your decision-making? What is at the heart of the choices you make?