To say that times are changing would be a gross understatement. The new reality is that the pace of life, and the pace of change, is occurring at an ever-increasing rate. Each of us now has the ability to communicate via the internet, cell, or satellite, which gives all of us the ability to reach out to people far beyond what we were capable of even just a couple of decades ago. Unfortunately, thanks to social media, those things that we used to say and do in private, now become fodder for public consumption, and the growth of reality television makes decent people look like fools, in the misdirected hope for a few minutes of minor fame.
The way we conduct business is also changing. Long-term employment is rapidly fading and being replaced by contract work, side-hustles, and new gigs. A new generation of young entrepreneurs is looking to make a living under his/her own terms, working. Working from home, a coffee shop, library, or coworking space, without the oversight of a owner or manager that may not share the passion or enthusiasm for the work. These newest members of the You Economy are also bringing new ideas, creativity, and innovation to otherwise old and stale markets.
Unfortunately, all of these positive changes have come along with the breakdown of traditional business models. This in turn, has resulted in a breakdown of business ethics, morals, and codes of conduct. While moving directly into self-employment is exciting, one false move, one mis-quoted statement, or one off-hand comment, can take your Personal Brand from shining star, to broken and tarnished with just a few clicks of a mouse. Now, more than ever, your personal reputation, Your Brand, is all that separates you from that next great opportunity, or a dismal failure of your new venture.
What is missing from all this excitement and energy, is a personal statement, a code of ethics, a Creed by which these young entrepreneurs adopt as his/her own, then revised as necessary so that each of these professionals feels confident that they are conducting themselves in a manner that will protect the Brand and increase the likelihood of future engagements. Once adopted, the Personal Creed should be posted and read frequently. The Creed serves as a reminder of what you believe, and how to conduct yourself in both business and personal settings.
According to Merriam-Webster:
- Any system or codification of moral doctrine, belief, opinion, or formula of religious belief.
- an authoritative, formulated statement of the articles of Christian belief, such as the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, or the Athanasian Creed.
Synonyms for Creed: belief, doctrine, faith, persuasion, principles, profession, religion,
In Part 2 of this Essay, I will explore the Code of the West, and why I believe that the American Cowboy provides a great example of Honor, Integrity, Manners, Ethics, and Leadership that is worthy of updating and emulating by today’s new brand of entrepreneur.