2B — August 29 - September 11, 2014 — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic

Real Estate Journal


O wners , D evelopers & M anagers By Glenn Ebersole, Hollenbach Construction, Inc. Just say no - loudly & clearly - to unethical clients!


ave you ever been asked to do some- thing unethical by

there are daily instances of unethical behavior occurring all around us. What a sad commentary on business and society today. Over the more than 40 years in my own pro- fessional career, there have been instances where I have been approached by unethical prospects and clients. The good news is that I have been fortu- nate to have had strong ethical mentors and supervisors, man- agers & owners that supported my actions to turn away from the unethical requests and unethical clients and to report them to my superiors.

First-hand experience was gained especially while own- ing my own business. I made decisions to forego doing busi- ness with unethical prospects and clients that meant turning away some very significant as- signments. One must always ask - what price do I put on my ethics? How can one justify a compromise of their personal and professional ethics? It is essential to have some good advice on how to reduce the chance of an improper request from a client or prospect and how to respond when actually approached by an unethical prospect or client. Here are some tips that will help guide you. • Always present and proj- ect a professional image that reflects your integrity and your personal and company core values. This does mean ALWAYS, not SOME of the time or MOST of the time. • Respond directly, clearly and confidently by saying “NO” to unethical requests and un- ethical prospects and clients. • Continuously reinforce company and personal core values to everyone in your organization. This is a criti- cal responsibility of owners, managers, supervisors and employees. • Continuously reinforce the code of ethics of your company to all employees. This require leadership from the top of the organization. The leader must “walk the talk” when it comes to ethical behavior. • Never compromise your ethical standards in response to an unethical request. This truly means NEVER, not just when it is beneficial or conve- nient. • Remember, it is impossible to “waive” your ethics, in spite of what the Enron corporate board did when they “waived” the company’s own ethics re- quirements. • Be proactive and report the unethical behavior, prospect and/or client to your supervi- sor, manager, business owner or other appropriate people. • Use the “lessons learned” from previous experiences of responding to unethical prospects and clients to help reinforce your ethical stan- dards and as a mentoring and training opportunity. • Provide positive reinforce- ment to those who say NO to unethical prospects and continued on page 3B

one of your prospects or clients? Have you ever been pressured by a supe r v i - sor, manager or owner at your bus i - ness to do

Glenn Ebersole

something unethical? Have you ever observed unethical behavior by a prospect or cli- ent? In today’s business world,

MARIAN KORNILOWICZ mkornilowicz@cohenseglias.com

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