Ethical Businesses Make More Money, "Period"

By: W.T. "Bill" McKibben                                                   August 8, 2007

Article Summary: Greed is so “yesterday.” The Ethical Business Model is the most effective route to profitability. Yes you have to  work hard and you have to be lucky. But    all things being equal you will make more money taking    the high road.                                                                          And it’s a lot more fun.


Most people and most businesses are devoted to doing the right thing. They are trying to deal with their customers, their vendors, their community, the environment, their investors and lenders all in a fair and ethical manner. If that’s true how come all we ever hear about are the Enrons and Adelphias? And how come TV shows, movies and literature always depict business as a dog-eat-dog world?

With many years as a journalist and marketing communications practitioner behind me, I see a simple answer to this paradox. Good news is not news. Drama about good guys is not as interesting as the scoundrels. Occasionally there’s someone like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life who comes out on top. But even that took divine intervention.

The truth is most folks are out there doing what they can to do the right thing even though they are not at all sure they are in the majority. Make no mistake; there are those who cut corners everywhere. And we have all been tempted to cover up our mistakes for one reason or another. But the vast majority are trying to take the high road.

Take heart. There is a new movement afoot to spread the news that following the highest ethical standards is the best route to higher profits. The evidence is mounting that those companies that follow an Ethical Business Model make more money that those that choose less savory alternatives.

Think about it, it makes sense. As my daddy used to say, “Wouldn’t you rather do business with an honest business?” Wouldn’t you rather do business where the employees look forward to coming to work every day? Wouldn’t you rather do business with a company that helps out in the local community? That treats the environment like a fine watch. Of course you would. Sure you have to make money, but that comes naturally when you do the right thing.

It can pay off big time. The companies that follow this path stand to make many times the profits enjoyed by those who don’t. Does doing the right thing insure success? Of course not. You still have to work hard, and you have to be lucky. But all things being equal on those counts, you will make a lot more money by doing the right thing.

In my new book, Play Nice, Make Money, I trace the history of companies built on this principle from the 1700s right up to this year. I use history and current case studies on both good guys and bad guys. And I show solid research to back up my position.

Join the revolution, recognize that we are a majority. Stand up for what you know to be right and what you believe in. Living the ethical life is a lot more fun and everyone needs to understand that, especially young people entering the business world. The rewards are many, and one of them may be financial.


W.T. "Bill" McKibben is the author of Play Nice, Make Money                                                   He is the Senior Partner, Ethics Practice, of the Great Lakes Group.                                        Article Source: