Should I separate my personal and professional values?
If a business or organization asked me for web and reputation services should I deny to work with them if I do not personally agree with what they do? Example: I don't believe in their business practices or the credibility of their product. On the other hand, I am running a business and need work to keep growing my business.
If you believe that this business or organization is the only show in town - then I see your dilemma. But we both know that it's not.
On the other hand - we want to make sure you are discounting them for the right reasons and in the right way. One way is to clearly articulate your company vision and mission statement; as well as stating the kind of company that you want to work with. Try clearly itemizing the attributes of your target client. For example: I work with high-quality, high-integrity based corporations that focus on customer satisfaction. My clients succeed because they are ready for success.
If you clearly articulate your company mission statement - then you will attract clients of that caliber.
Once you make your goals and expectations known -- and (for example) this same company that you say have credibility issues - still want to work with you, you now have a foundation or baseline to work from. You can now comfortably and diplomatically point out any discrepancy between what they are currently doing and what they actually want to be doing (because they have told you their company mission is the same as your company mission). You can help them achieve both your goals.
On the other hand - if this same company doesn't want to work with you because of your mission statement and goals - then they are the ones refusing to work with you and not the other way around.
Interesting question. Money has no discrimination, it simply goes to whoever earns it. However if you believe working with a company/someone will give you sleepless nights, politely say no . Then in the spirit of paying it forward refer them to someone who can do the job for them. You stay true to yourself and the person you recommended may do the same for you in the future..
It doesn't sound like the company is unethical but that you don't necessarily believe in their product/practices. So the big question is - how do you want to brand or promote yourself and your work? You will be most successful with companies that you believe in. There is nothing wrong with marketing or providing services for a company that you don't necessarily believe everything they promote or do (as long as it is not illegal or unethical) but why spend your valuable resources and personal anxiety on something you don't believe in? It won't be your most successful venture. I think you already have your own answer.
Every professional person must be discipline so I can agree on that you should work on your own discipline, sometimes it is difficult but after a short struggle you got the highway of success,...
You don't seem comfortable being a hypocrite. Maybe that's harsh, but do you think you will give your all to something you disagree with? Is that fair to the client? Either you completely detach what you do from what you believe because money is most important and you can rationalize that you respect their point of view even if you don't agree. One of the entrepreneurs I have the most respect for started a printing company and when he couldn't get any clients early on he printed "skin" magazines that no one else did. He didn't like their business, but years later when he was a multimillion $ company he wouldn't "fire" them as requested in order to get a much bigger Bible account that he did "believe" in You are what you do and you only have one set of values, it's up to you how you apply them.
No, do not separate your values. You are not a robot, and lowering your ethical standards at work will lower them at home, too. Do what you need to when times are hard, but otherwise don't erode your ethics. The personal/professional divide is a convenient excuse that some people exploit to the great harm of everyone else.
Dana is so correct!! Ethical and non-ethical do not mix. are your values worth giving up for money or can you hold out for the correct and ethical thing that will not only build the longevity of your business, it will build your spirit knowing you are doing the right thing.
Best of success, Gil
As Dana said, you are your business. I will take it a step further. You are your brand.
Ask yourself what your reputation is worth. Go look in the mirror. Decide.
(That you even asked this question is telling. Good for you!)
I don't work with clients I would have such issues with. It would keep me up at night and bother me during the day. Remember that your business is comprised in part on the core values you bring to it. Honor those values and yourself and you honor your business and your client. Remember as well that your integrity is part of what will make people decide to do business with you. Stick to your values...don't comprise yourself for money.
Do not work with them you will loose sleep. Never compromise your values. If you and others you know also know of your values and you do this work those who you know will loose respect for you (if not they should). I don't care how much you need the money the slippery slop is when you compromise your values. Your company values, assuming it is your company are in fact your personal values. You CANNOT and should not separate them. Take the high road and say to the company that you are not able to accept their work. You appreciate the offer but unable to take it. If they ask why just say there is a conflict (don't say what conflict) and move on. Otherwise you might cut yourself shaving one morning.
I once had a great assignment with a client. Did not know them from the employee perspective. Once inside and learned how the employees were actually treated and that was diametrically opposed to our own view of life, we returned the retainer and suggested a few other consulting firms that could do the work. If I had not I would have been frustrated for the six months of working with them and my staff would have rebelled.
In short don't take the work and never ever separate that which can not be - your values. If you wish I have some post on LinkedIn on values you can read or if you want an in depth explanation of why you can not work with this firm read my book Inside The Box. I hope this helps you.
Hired on with a company: I was the sluttiest person about sales and conversions. As a freelance: I've got a vetting process for clients and have no problem firing or not hiring one.
Sorry I didn't actually give you an answer, but hopefully that helps.
In my opinion, personal and professional values may (read often) overlap, however they are separate value systems. That being said, it is important for you as a business owner to clearly establish your company core values-and to feel confident in standing by them. Your core values should resonate with what your business beliefs and practices are. For example, how you handle scenarios and what you hold to be important in conducting business (this is where personal values cross over, however stated in relation to your business model).
The next step is to evaluate whether or not taking on a particular client 'validates' or 'violates' your core values. If you are able to answer this honestly, you should feel confident in your decision either way. You should also feel confident in stating that fact to potential clients! Putting it in these terms, you are removing the personal judgement and can even state that it is not personal it is business; you've decided to pass on the opportunity as it is not in line with your core values. This goes both ways. If you feel a need to justify having taken on a particular client, stating that it was a business decision which was in line with your core values is a professional stance.
In a word: NO!
If you rationalize now, it will never get better.
Note: spend the time, introspect and detail your values so you can understand your own consistancies - or lack thereof.
How can you work for a company whose business practices and credibility you don't believe in? It's almost tantamount to a conflict of interest. I can see working for a company whose products you wouldn't necessarily choose to use, but if you think the business itself is unethical, why would you want to align your business with them? This reflects poorly on your business.
In terms of what to tell them, I'd simply say, "I don't feel my company is the best fit for your needs. Thank you for considering me!"
No you shouldn't separate them, you are your business driver and it is practically impossible to be ethical by associating with products/brands just because you need to grow your business now. The question you should ask yourself is for how long before it backfire and soil your reputation, if long term growth is what you seek, then you can't separate the two. You are your brand, as Steve Jobs is everything Apple.
Great expert asking a question, in my opinion yes you must separate personal and professional values. Personal values are different than professional values and by combining them you could end up disrupting your family life.
IMO - no shouldn't separate them - you are your business. You can't be an ethical person who runs an unethical business.
It's entirely up to you, however, keep your eye on the big picture. Do you just want a payday or do you want to build a reputable business? What kind of clients do you want to attract? Do you want to be a "trusted advisor" to your clients and build a relationship with them or do you want to go in, do the job, and get out? I've turned down quite a few clients over the years, but my integrity remained in tact and my reputation as a trustworthy business has only grown - this brings me clients with the same values that I possess and allows me to build a stronger, long-lasting business.
You know that saying, "You don't attract what you want, you attract who you are"