The ethical conduct of a company is critical to its public image and self-perception. Additionally, definitive evidence reveals that an ethical culture has a significant positive impact1 "Does business ethics pay," Ethics and Financial
Webley, S., & More, E. (2003). on an organization’s Economic Value Added 2Economic value added (EVA) is an internal management performance measure that compares net operating profit to total cost of capital., Market Value Added 3Market Value Added (MVA) is the difference between the current market value and investor capital contributions
(+MVA = added value; –MVA = destroyed value)., Return on Capital Employed 4 Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) measures a company's profitability and the efficiency with which its capital is employed.
(Similar to ROA but takes into account sources of financing)., the P/E ratio volatility 5 P/E ratio volatility is the instability of the P/E ratio
(P/E Ratio is the company's current share price divided by its earning per share), and the Net profit ratio 6 Net profit ratio is a profitability measure of net profit (after income tax and operating expenses) by net sales (turnover).
All non-operating revenues and expenses are not included because the purpose is to evaluate the profitability of the business from primary operations. .
While many considered appropriate business ethics 7In business ethics, if an established firearms manufacturer decided to reorganize all its resources to produce bicycles without shareholder approval and at a huge cost, it would be unethical even though the general public may consider the move ethical. subjective, there are universal ethical principles regardless of the type of business or industry.
In the end, an ethical relationship is based more on conscious self-governance (by individuals and businesses) than what's legally or contractually permitted.
DefinitionsValues, Morals, Ethics, Law
DifferencesConfused? Let’s clarify
PartnershipThe EP3.dk ethical Partnership
Core ValuesPractice and partnership values
Seek SafelyA NPO that promoting ethical standards and safe practices
The CodeEP3.dk Code of Practice
The ethical standards of an organization should be the same or better than the ethical standards of the individual and its conduct should be governed by an explicit, easily available, and fully implemented Code of Ethics that is seen in every employee, every relationship, and every action.
To fully understand EP3.dk’s ethical commitment, clear definitions need to be established.
Morals (morality – DEF.) refers to a set of deeply held, widely shared, and relatively stable values for an individual or within a community. Morality governs the individual and defines character. It’s what makes you a good wife/husband, dad/mother, daughter/son, good friend, or even a good employee/employer.
Ethics (DEF.) involves the study of values and the justification for right and good actions, as represented by the classic works of Aristotle (virtue ethics), Kant (duty-based ethics), and Bentham and Mill (utilitarian and consequentialist ethics).
Applied ethics (ethicality – DEF.) is the practical expression of Ethics (DEF.); the expression of philosophical principles (e.g., respect for autonomy, beneficence vs. nonmaleficence, justice, etc.) in actual situations like professional environments or personal life. Ethics stress a social system in which Morality (character) is applied (e.g. national ethics, social ethics, company ethics, professional ethics, or even family ethics). Ethics governs the relationship. It’s what makes you a good politician, statesman, or a good, humane CEO.
Law (legality – DEF.) is comprised of concrete duties established by governments that are necessary for maintaining social order and resolving disputes, as well as for distributing social resources according to what people need or deserve. Law governs the society of all relationships.
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The difference between ethics and morals can seem somewhat arbitrary to many, but there is a basic, subtle difference.
Morals are how you treat people you know. Ethics are how you treat people you don’t know. In other words, someone’s moral code is relatively unchanging but the ethics she practices can change depending on the relationship or situation.
A criminal defense lawyer
A functional society – Morality dictates that you take care of your family, friends and even acquaintances first. However, when you hear a politician say “I put my family first,” do you think “then you shouldn’t be in public office.”
For a large society to work effectively, a society where you can’t know everyone, ethics must come before morality. To put the needs of the few before the needs of the many, in public life, is to be a monster. Even on an individual level, if we all acted selfishly, we would destroy our communities (family, friendships, companies, countries). If we all put only ourselves and those we love first, and damn the cost to everyone else, our societies cannot and will not be prosperous, safe, or kind.
Societal values and the law - The values of a society cannot be separated from the law. The law usually comes as a reflection of these values, but the moment of it becomes legal, the law is the main point of reference for society, sometimes even in opposition of evolving societal ethics and values (moral compass).
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The EP3.dk Partnership employs a coaching model and is a relationship in which all partners (whether individuals or groups), value both their own and the other’s well-being. It is a relationship of essential equality based on our humaneness, even when there are different roles, skills or other resources and degrees of power in a given situation. It also implies we have mutual responsibilities toward each other.
Partnership implies a relationship in which each partner contributes their resources and power for the good of both or for a common purpose.
Visiting the doctor
If I'm sick, I’ll visit a physician (doctor, GP) who has knowledge and skills that I don’t have. I enter into a partnership in which each of us brings ourselves and our resources. In this context, I bring my money (or health insurance) in exchange for medical advice or services. But it also means that I bring my intelligence, my observations of symptoms and/or other conditions related to my illness, my willingness to take part in my healthcare, the examination, and follow her prescription (e.g. medicine, changing habits, diet, etc.). I have partnered with the doctor with the mutual goal of improving my health and well-being.
Care and value for the well-being of all, equally
The essential and enduring tenets of EP3.dk is its Core Values (a set of timeless, guiding principles that do not require external justification). These core values hold great intrinsic value and importance to not only EP3.dk, but my clients, partners, and advisors as well.
However, a core value is only a TRUE core value if it is an active, controlling influence and even though many people or companies publically express their core values, I believe that the best way to identify these values is to observe their expression through feelings, thoughts, words, actions, and behaviors.
I too have listed the core values that define EP3.dk. But I've done this as a challenge to the observer. I ask that you hold me to them. If you don't see it, then question me. I see no distinction between perception (both internal and external) and reality.
Question EP3.dk’s core values
- What do you think the core values of EP3.dk are?
(Then ask the following questions relating to each of the core values)
- Is (core value) a core value that you hold to be fundamental regardless of whether I hire you or not, whether the company is successful or not, and especially if large potential clients require you to change them to win their contracts?
- If you woke up tomorrow morning with enough money to retire, would you continue to live by (core value)?
- Can you envision (core value) as valid 100 years from now as it is today?
- Would you want EP3.dk to continue to operate with (core value), even if at some point, (core value) causes a competitive disadvantage or the focus of the company significantly changes?
- If you were to start a new organization tomorrow in a different industry, would you still incorporate (core value) into the new organization regardless of its activities?
EP3.dk Core ValuesFor your convenience, I've divided them into functional areas.
Practice – Core values that govern EP3.dk's operations
EP3.dk acknowledges and assumes responsibility for its actions, products, decisions, and policies. This is applicable to both employees acting individually and the company as a whole.
EP3.dk takes a proactive stand to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance for all our employees and whenever possible and/or appropriate our clients, advisors and partners.
EP3.dk is committed to continually designing, developing, delivering the best products, services, and other initiatives that impact lives within and outside our organization.
EP3.dk is committed to an active, tangible contribution to society and demonstrates internal and external corporate social responsibility in all actions, products, decisions, and policies.
EP3.dk embraces visible and invisible differences (diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives) and values the richness and variety of ideas and approaches that result from these differences. We actively encourage diversity both internally and as advice to our clients through directed talent selection, purposeful training, and nurturing an inclusive environment. We actively endorse and participate in community efforts towards diversity.
EP3.dk encourages employees and clients to always be proactive, be the first to take the initiative, and give only the best in every circumstance. We foster that an error-embracing environment empowers employees to lead and independently make decisions, thereby contributing to the health and long-term growth of our company.
EP3.dk ruthlessly pursues and encourages new creative ideas that have the potential to change the world. When presented, they must be research-supported, practically-focused, and results-driven.
EP3.dk will always act with the highest level of honesty and honor and will never compromise the truth.
EP3.dk expects our employees to care for the company and their customers as if they were a functional, supportive, nurturing family.
EP3.dk will work diligently to ensure the health and safety of employees and clients and commits to going beyond all legal workplace requirements.
Partnership – Core values that govern our relationships
A good partnership, like a good relationship, requires a genuine connection. When you find the right partner, it will just “feel” right. EP3.dk stresses “using your intuition” and “trust your gut,” and that there must be “chemistry.” We believe a client needs to walk away from the initial meeting with a good feeling.
- Trust and Comfortableness
EP3.dk believes that clients need to feel safe enough to let their guard down and just be their normal, natural selves. That way, they can speak about any of the core issues that need to be addressed and EP3.dk can provide the real support and guidance they need to move forward.
The client and other stakeholders must be able to open up and share information with EP3.dk without fear that that information will be shared inappropriately or without their approval. Because each partnership is unique, it is vital for all partners to develop a formal, written confidentiality agreement, with mutually-agreed terms before the partnership begins. This agreement specifies how information is shared, in which circumstances, with whom, and by what means. The agreement helps all partners remain sensitive to confidentiality issues from each other’s perspectives.
Because of our extreme commitment to client confidentiality, we will never have publically-available client lists, recommendations, and testimonies.
We view both individuals and institutions as living beings and we approach our partnerships with an absolute commitment to their health and overall well-being. We will never work with companies or individuals who suffer to the point of dysfunctionality. Additionally, we play an active role in supporting our clients’ efforts to improve their health and well-being, be it financial, organizational, physical, or social.
EP3.dk believes that communication is an essential part of a healthy partnership. Openness, clarity, stability, respect, and listening are some important characteristics of effective communication. Additionally, our communication will always be action-oriented, growth-oriented, planned (intentional), well-prepared, client-focused, structured, optimistic and positive. When we work with our clients we are 100% present and 100% focused on their needs.
- Integrity and reliability
Reliability (DEF.) is the ability of a person or system to perform and maintain its functions in routine circumstances, as well as hostile or unexpected circumstances. Integrity (DEF.) is consistency between actions, values, methods, measures and principles. EP3.dk will endeavor to always operate with both reliability and integrity.
- Duty of care
“The possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility” ~ William Lamb (1817)
In law, duty of care is a legal obligation imposed on an individual requiring adherence to a standard of reasonable care while performing any acts that could foreseeably harm others. EP3.dk maintains a duty of care approach in conduct because coaching, training, and strategy consulting can be extraordinarily powerful tools when paired with other development programs.
EP3.dk has implemented the following multi-factor test as a standard that governs our relationships.
EP3.dk will not engage in any activity or any partnership where
- There is foreseeable harm or injury to individuals or institutions
- The importance or social value of the activity engaged in is adversely changed or influenced by the conduct
- The usefulness of the conduct is questionable or unethical (regardless of legal status)
- A feasible alternative conduct is more appropriate or ethical (regardless of legal status)
- The costs and burdens associated with the conduct are unreasonable (as determined by all stakeholders prior to conduct engagement)
- The relative usefulness of an alternative conduct is reasonably and readily available, and
- The relative safety of an alternative conduct is measurably higher.
As part of my extreme perspective on ethics, EP3.dk is committed to holding ourselves to The SEEK Safely Promise and encourage all our current and potential clients to read and ask us how we are implementing the Promise and the Empowerment Guide.
Seek Safely, Inc.
“We are trying to turn our devastating loss into something powerful.”
At the website (link), there are resources such as the empowerment guide that is designed to help potential clients ask the right questions before attending a self-help event. There is also information about the self-help industry, more on who SEEK Safely is and why they are interested in protecting seekers and strengthening safeguards within the self-help industry. They are always open to comments and questions.
In order to bring some consumer protection to this $13 billion unregulated self-help industry, we have created The SEEK Safely Promise. We are encouraging motivational speakers, leaders, and authors in the self-help industry to sign the promise. By signing the SEEK Safely Promise they will be making a public statement of intent to practice in an ethical and safe manner.
“All seekers deserve to be able to make an informed decision about their journey.”
Kirby Brown’s Story
Here is the How– Kirby lost her life because she believed in a fraudulent leader. Her thirst for self-improvement and growth was exploited. She invested energy, money and trust, expecting a professionally-run and enlightening experience.
Instead, her leader lied about his knowledge and credentials, and he ultimately had little concern for his students. His behavior during the retreat and following the events of October 8, 2009, which took the life of Kirby and two others, revealed a reckless, arrogant, irresponsible, careless, heartless, self-absorbed, and basically “harmonically bankrupt” person – a FRAUD, unable to live what he taught. While there is value in the self-help industry, there is also great potential for so-called leaders to abuse the platform they have assumed for their own gains. In seeking their own ends, they exploit their customers and even put these customers in danger, using psychological techniques they are not certified in, therapeutic treatments they are not trained in, and orchestrating dangerous physical challenges without proper safeguards in place.
As for the Why, perhaps there is no why. But our task now, to be able to live with this horrible loss, is to figure out what’s next. We have to create some meaning out of this otherwise meaningless tragedy.
Kirby’s search to find the deeper meaning in life and a deeper purpose for herself was an inextricable aspect of her character. On her vision quest at the Spiritual Warrior retreat in Sedona, a revelation of “Keep It Simple” became Kirby’s mantra. We want to be Kirby’s VOICE to help others keep their search for meaning SIMPLE and SAFE.
If Kirby was alive today, we know that she would be speaking up – yelling, more likely – about the abuses she experienced. Now, we are Kirby’s Voice.
The Seek Safely Promise
As an organization/program, we/I are committed to providing an environment and experiences that are:
- Truthful – Consumers will receive accurate information about the author’s, leader’s or speaker’s professional degrees, credentials and experience.
- Accurate – It will be clearly delineated what is personal opinion, belief or speculation as opposed to information that is supported by third party scientific research.
- Respectful – Participants will be able to freely express opinions, without fear of public humiliation, ridicule, shame or physical abuse.
- Protective – The leader will protect the emotional safety of participants by keeping confidentiality and implementing appropriate boundaries. If needed, they will also advise seekers to enlist the aid of licensed professionals for services that may be beyond the scope of the event, seminar or retreat.
- Integrity – The leader will provide personal witness by living the program being taught.
- Safe – If engaging participants in a physical activity, there will be appropriate medical support available in case of injury. The leader will have a comprehensive risk management plan to minimize any risk taken by participants and clearly explain any potential risks that are part of the event.
The Event Empowerment Guide
Unfortunately, I cannot assume that all providers are ethical and concerned for my safety, therefore, as a participant, I must actively assume responsibility for my own limitations and vulnerability when seeking self-improvement.
- Be aware of a highly packed schedule that does not allow participants to manage basic needs for sleep, elimination, food, water, medical needs or safety.
- Be aware if asked to sign a waiver absolving the leader of any responsibility for injury if I have not been given information about how the leader will minimize risk and protect me if there is an accident.
- Be aware if embarrassed or uncomfortable at the treatment of participants by the leader. Being publicly shamed or ridiculed inhibits safe psychological growth.
- Be aware of tactics that make a person vulnerable to the leader’s suggestions. Sensory deprivation (lack of sleep, light, proper nutrition, isolation), constant repetition of certain words, or breathing techniques that create confusion and disorientation are tactics that cause lack of mental control, NOT better mental focus.
- Be aware of approaches that may reveal the character of the leader:
- A Credible Leader will live the values being taught.
- A Responsible Leader will distinguish between theory, opinion, speculation and scientific research and will not belittle or dismiss professional credentials or rely solely on testimonials.
- A Reasonable Leader will not subject the participants to the high pressured sales pitch involving scarcity or poor refund policies.
The EP3.dk Code of Practice has been written:
- To establish our Code of Ethics as an expression of our Core Values,
- To establish our Code of Conduct as an expression of our Code of Ethics and a reflection of our understanding of established best practices in business consulting, coaching, and training,
- To assure, as best as is possible, that the services to and the relationships with our clients have been, are, and will be, guided by the highest measure of ethical and professional standards,
- To identify our professional and ethical obligations that serve to protect the public and profession in general, and the client, partners, advisors, and company in particular,
- To identify the expectations of all partners in The EP3.dk Partnership with respect to the other partners and the public at large.
The EP3.dk Code of Practice (DOWNLOAD)