What Business Are You In?

While “Using Moral Imagination for Irreplicable Strategic Advantage”, a white paper published this spring by David Lapin, CEO of Strategic Business Ethics Inc., doesn’t really hone in on the strategic benefits of ethical business, it does contain some interesting ideas.

If organizations are able to use their “moral imaginations” to determine how their business activities can satisfy customers’ deepest human needs, business can secure a strong competitive advantage. Lapin suggests that the success of such efforts is dependent on a company’s values and ethics — and whether the organization meets its employees’ needs, as well.

One case study the white paper addresses involves Truworths International, a 300-store clothing retailer. When Truworths began to lose market share, executives took a look at what business they were really in. They decided that, instead of merely selling clothes, their fashions could help satisfy young women’s desire for self-confidence. That realization led to changes in how they hired staff, how stores were designed, even what music clerks played. Everything concentrated on and communicated confidence.

What business is your company in? What basic human needs do your products or services meet?