Ethics. The word is everywhere. On every TV show, on every newscast, on billboards everywhere, in magazines… Everywhere. Yes, Ethics is top of mind… It is taking Center Stage. Finally. But maybe not for the right reasons.
Once upon a time I was told to “lose the word Ethics” because it was unpopular and had a negative connotation. I refused. To me, creating and following strong ethical values is one of the most important actions each of us has the choice to make, and I teach people how to solve ethical dilemmas by understanding the underlying values embedded in the concept of ethics.
The word Ethics still has a negative connotation to some, but now it’s being used to explain behaviors and attitudes, actions and decisions. So now, suddenly, ethics is “ok”. I no longer see people back away from me in fear when I tell them I teach ethics…. now people are begging me to take my programs to Washington. As if I could really make an impact there….! But really, people are simply using the term ethics to try and explain what is happening in our country today – to justify the lack of collaboration in Washington, to explain laws being created or dismantled, to understand apparent or perceived injustices and collusion.
Are we using the term “ethics” appropriately? Or are we just hiding behind the word because we are desperate to find answers to the biggest dilemmas and concerns our country has faced in a long time? Should we take the time to go back to our roots and define what it means to be ethical? Or should it just be a matter of convenience that we claim ethical standards are being used appropriately or violated, depending on our point of view?
I am happy that ethics is being discussed – it is about time in my opinion that we discuss ethics and ethical standards. I just wish we were all on the same page regarding what ethics means to us.