Each spring I guest lecture students at a business school on the topic of business ethics.
Ethics is a wide-ranging concept without a single agreed-upon definition. In this context, we’re using it to mean “a decision making framework you can use to help you make complex decisions.” So, uh, relevant right now?
Many months ago, I had scheduled a Q&A with a group of students for…last Thursday, just days after we temporarily closed our coworking space due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Though I had already cancelled most of my non-essential appintments, I decided to keep my appointment with these students and record it. It seemed timely, relevant, and mutually beneficial to capture my thoughts while they were raw and fresh. In some cases, I was still processing while on the call.
So my answers are likely as imperfect as yours might be, but they’re in line with the ethical frameworks that I live and work by.
With the permission of the students, I’m sharing the full 40 minute discussion with you.
As I’m writing this post during the COVID-19 outbreak, every one of us is making complex decisions.
Decisions that will affect people in real ways, big and small. Decisions that we’ll live with for weeks, months, maybe even years to come.
These decisions are hard. Nothing will make them easy, but having a sense of awareness what my ethics are is making the hard decisions a little bit easier.
For me, it’s valuable to have a sense of who and what I need to care about even when the actions to care for them may have very painful consequences.
So while you’re thinking about your very difficult decisions, I’d encourage you to think about how some consequences may be unavoidable and how your actions now can ensure you’re taking care of whoever and whatever you’ve decided is most important.
This probably won’t feel good. That’s okay.
We’ll get through it.