Dealing with opposing values in business

I briefly considered working with a business adviser who impresses me as brilliant. Yet business brilliance and social leadership do not necessarily go hand-in-hand. I realized that his values are exactly opposite mine as expressed in this social media post.

Separately, I’ve also taken steps recently to distance my business from customers and vendors  who do not share the same basic world view and core values embedded in the Golden Rule.

A few years ago I rocked the boat on small business leadership by rejecting customers in our New Jersey business based on outspoken racist comments. (Some people still publicly talk about “hating niggers” in some parts of rural New Jersey. Racism seems particularly common at some rural marinas). I cite this extreme situation as a clear example where strong business leadership was needed to correct a social problem. It cost us some business but was the only acceptable management action.

Today’s business leadership challenges are far more subtle than the example I cited. The president’s mantra of “Put America first” leads many to consider that a profit agenda at the expense of others and without accepting responsibility for the welfare of others  is an acceptable approach. It is not. Business and community leaders need to say so.


Yesterday I read a hotly debated article on LinkedIn on this topic of the interaction of core human values in the workplace. The debate is likely to heat up further in coming months. As for me, it’s always been clear: I’ll simply continue to put others before myself as I was taught and instilled as a core value in childhood.

I cheer leaders who step forward to be counted at this critical point in determining the fundamental direction in the evolution of humanity.


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