Club Insider

Balancing What You Have the Right to Do With What is Right to Do

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Stephen TharrettStephen Tharrett


Achieving and sustaining business success in the fitness or private club business has never been more daunting. Today's competition is intense, with consumers and members having more choices than ever before. In this ocean of hyper-competition, it is understandable that owners and operators might misconstrue good business ethics in an effort to sustain membership sales, maximize share of member wallet and reduce the risk of member defection and resignation. While misconstruing good business ethics may not seem damaging, especially when the short-term outcomes of such behavior may generate temporary success, the long-term consequences could be devastating. The following quote frames it best, "Doing the right thing doesn't always bring success, but compromising ethics almost always leads to failure."

Mark WilliamsonMark Williamson

In this article, we will explore the often-hazy domain of ethics with particular emphasis on what we feel may be some club industry-based cultural practices that blur the line between doing the RIGHT thing from an ethical perspective and doing the RIGHT thing to ensure business viability.

What Are Business Ethics?

The ethics of a business or an industry are a reflection of its culture, or as Michael Conner of Business Ethics said, "A code of ethics is about corporate culture." Most industry leaders would say that the ethical principles of its industry and organization represent the moral compass that guides decision making, as well as the manner in which they act on those decisions. The ethics of a business or industry are the ground rules they adhere to when interacting with employees, customers, suppliers and the marketplace. Some would say that the ethics of a business or industry are reflective of how an organization's people act when they don't think anyone is really paying attention, a form of mirror test for the soul of the company.

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