We’ve all read about the tragedy of the Zimbabwe lion, Cecil, who was killed by Minnesota dentist, Dr. Walter Palmer. The sad story touched people around the globe and is a glaring example of how someone’s personal life can dramatically impact their professional life. Besides the obvious lessons the incident offers, here are some other takeaways for business owners.
In Business 101, we learn about the importance of morals and ethics in running a successful business. Ethical business decisions are rooted in good personal values. You’ll have a hard time gaining a customer’s trust if they know that you make questionable decisions when you’re off the clock. The lesson here is that the values that guide you should be the same in all arenas of your life.
Small business owners are looked at as leaders in their communities. They often volunteer for non-profit events, sponsor local sports teams and mentor other individuals. As J. Hector Fezandie said, “with great power goes great responsibility.” When you’re a leader it’s important to act responsibly and conduct yourself in a way that your supporters would be proud of. Of course, you’re entitled to your privacy; but if there are things you’re doing behind closed doors that you wouldn’t want the general public to find out about, you should probably reevaluate your actions.
Trust is the cornerstone of success in a business of any size and is what causes people to become loyal customers. And, as we all know, trust can be lost much more quickly than it was gained. Poor choices can cause irreversible damage. When making decisions (either personal or professional) think about the value of the trust you’ve built and consider the repercussions of your actions.
Hopefully Cecil didn’t die in vain and there will be some major changes made as a result of his death. The event is a reminder for us all about the importance of ethics, transparency and trust in our businesses. As entrepreneurs and leaders, we must hold ourselves to high standards, when we’re in the spotlight and when we’re behind the scenes.