Staying on Level Ground. The Importance of Value-Based Decision Making
By Roger Ewing
On any given day, we might hear about a neighbor, colleague, or business acquaintance that stumbled off the path to success and prosperity. It may have even happened to someone we care deeply for. I’ve been saddened to learn of people in my circle who’ve had their stability uprooted by a series of poor ethical decisions. Typically, their problems stem from poor decisions made several steps back, before the roof actually caved in.
I keep a visual reminder in my office that ethics isn’t just an academic subject to be discussed in intellectual terms. My grandfather’s construction level, complete with broken glass, dried concrete and his own pencil marks sits atop my bookcase. It serves as a constant reminder to me to do the right thing and to stay on level ground. Each time I see his level, I think of my grandfather and ask myself if he would be respect my decisions and the way I live my life.
In truth, the subject of ethics has its essence in the discipline of practical every day decision-making. Its chief concern is with values and establishing guidelines that prescribe how we as individuals interact with each other, or at least how we ought to interact with each other.
The ways we interact with our fellow human beings determines the level of trust, honor and integrity by which we live. Each of these virtues, of course, links directly to our ability to lead prosperous, happy and fulfilling lives. When we forget about ethics, or disregard the relevance of ethical behavior, we lessen our ability to reach our highest potential. To paraphrase Gandhi, “we reach our highest human potential, or achieve happiness, when we keep in harmony everything we say, everything we think, and everything we do”.
As the owner of a real estate company catering to Southern California communities, I’ve found a useful process to keep everything I say, think and do in harmony: I make value-based decisions. That may sound like a trite expression, but truly, it’s a system I go through to ensure all my decisions stay on the high road.
First, when making decisions I evaluate whether they show personal honesty and integrity, consistent with what I represent to our clients and my colleagues at Sotheby’s International Realty.
Second, I consider whether my decisions show respect to others, treating them, with dignity and demonstrating my efforts to create win-win solutions.
Third, I encourage my real estate agents to contemplate whether their decisions are responsive to client needs, are consistent with client expectations, and deliver on their commitments. While at the same time utilizing using all resources at their disposal to facilitate a successful transaction.
As the managing partner at Ewing and Associated Sotheby’s International Realty, I welcome the opportunity to ensure all our agents; management and staff follow an ethical code, which is consistent with the obligations we owe our clients, our profession, our community, our family and ourselves. This approach in business keeps us grounded, focused, and on a clear and direct path to success. Concepts that I know would make my grandfather proud.
Thank you to my good friend Justin Paperny for his assistance in this post.