Business Ethics, A Thing of the Past?
As a Sales Director for Dovetail Software, I work daily with many different companies looking for HR Help Desk Software. Often these are organization conducting an RFP for their HR Shared Service organization. They are generally comparing vendors in order to find the solution that best meets the needs of their organizations. What I keep seeing are situations where our competitors grossly exaggerate their number of clients and most often the functionality of their product/software. So I wonder, is the term “Business Ethics” an oxymoron? Is it now the norm to lie and thus the sole responsibility of the company to properly vet out the vendors that are being dishonest?
Being honest and forthright is something we believe in as an organization and my personal brand is important to me so I steer away from that practice. However, I’m often conflicted on the back end, when I know a company has been misled, from the desire to walk away clean and hinting that “the buyer NEEDS to beware”. Because it would seem self-serving on my part, I have avoided the later but my moral compass does tug at me on occasion.
I’ve only lost two deals to a competitor since joining Dovetail last July so I tend to think my strategy of being transparent and honest in the process is working. For instance, during the selection process, I’ve NEVER “bashed a competitor” even in a politically correct manner. In fact, I’ve been asked directly in several situations “What sets you apart from a competitor?” and I’ve always answered from the point/position of our products strength which admittedly is often directly related to what I know to be a weakness of one or more of my competitors. Am I a fool? Am I one step back from my competitors due to my strong “moral compass”? I don’t know, but what I do know is that most nights, I sleep peacefully.
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts or opinions on the subject as well as any personal situations you’ve encountered either on the customer side or as a vendor partner.