By Kim Commins-Tzoumakas | November 1, 2018
“Do the right thing. It will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”
– Mark Twain
“Sometimes it is better to lose and do the right thing than to win and do the wrong thing.”
– Tony Blair
“The time is always right to do the right thing.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
There are two hurdles you must overcome to do the right thing. First hurdle: Identify what IS the right thing to do. In every instance, there is a right course and a wrong course. Actually, sometimes there are several right and wrong courses. Figuring out what the right thing is will often be the struggle and is so important. Second hurdle: Do it. Sometimes you know what the right thing to do is, but making yourself do it is another story. You need to follow through, do the right thing, regardless of the consequences.
When I first considered becoming the CEO for 21st Century, I realized I would be faced with these types of choices every day. It’s not always an easy thing to discern – the right thing, the wrong thing. But I have worked to always do what I feel is the right thing, even when it wasn’t the easiest or most popular thing to do.
A non-profit I read about on Forbes.com, JUST Capital, is working to transform the way we in America do business. The article said JUST Capital ranks companies based on issues, like “worker pay and worker treatment, to leadership and ethics, job creation, customer treatment, supply chains and environmental performance.” And they “recently released studies that demonstrate how the Just 100,” their term for the hundred most ethical and enlightened companies in the nation, “consistently outperform their industry competitors continuously, by one to four percentage points.” So, doing the right thing ends up being the right thing for companies as well.
Just ask Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS shoes. If you don’t know about TOMS, you should. They donate a pair of shoes to a needy child for every pair purchased. Former Amazing Race contestant Mycoskie started the company after a trip to Argentina where not only did he notice the cool shoes everyone seemed to wear, (They’re called alpargatas.)he toured many poverty-stricken areas where children had to go barefoot, inviting injury and disease. Only getting paid for every other pair of shoes you ship may seem like an equation for failure, but it has been just the opposite. The goodwill TOMS demonstrates by being philanthropic in nature, has made the company a big success. They’ve experienced issues of late but it’s a great one-for-one model that other companies are emulating now. The model started with Mycoskie’s desire to give back. To do the right thing.
The very nature of business makes doing the right thing essential for survival. Another Forbes.com article made the point that only 1 out of 10 Fortune 500 firms from 1955 are still around today. That’s a ninety percent failure rate. And researchers from Washington University estimate that “in 10 years, 40% of today’s Fortune 500 firms on the S&P 500 will become extinct.” Many are products that with time, society has outgrown. Think Blockbuster. But add into that a bad decision or not doing the right thing and a business can certainly hasten its own demise.
There’s a great thought. I don’t know who had it. “Discipline is just choosing between what you want now and what you want most.” It reminds me that doing the right thing is often not easy. But, with discipline, you do it anyway, to get to what you want most. What I want most for 21st Century is for the world to see us as I have seen us. And I’m ready to do all of the right things it takes for that to happen.
The Hug Every Day blog will offer periodic insights and guidance from the 21st Century CEO, Kim Commins-Tzoumakas. Kim is no-nonsense, but also very caring. And she is excited to have this opportunity to share her vision for 21C with you.