Ethics in Business by Leigh MacCready
My favorite children’s book is “Go, Dog. Go!” by P.D. Eastman. There is a part in the book where a dog, wearing a hat, walks up to another dog and asks “Do you like my hat?” The other dog answers, “I do not.” (I love how blunt the dog is!) This exchange continues a few times throughout the book until the first dog finally finds a hat, the other dog likes.
I am wearing a new hat of a professional organizer and I want my clients to like my hat. Part of my organizing business specializes in downsizing, where I help a client sort through years of memories and assist them with getting rid of items they no longer need. Some of these items are antiques or vintage pieces, which brings me to the other hat I wear, the hat of an antiques dealer.
You might automatically consider this a conflict of interest. I too, was concerned about how clients would perceive my intentions. I asked Geralin Thomas, CPO-CD, a course instructor for NAPO’s (National Association of Professional Organizers) “Starting an Organizing Business,” about this and she suggested I consider consulting with an ethics professor. Geralin invited me to post the knowledge I acquired on her blog.
So I set out to pursue if and how I can wear these two hats without it being a conflict of interest. I read Debbie Stanley’s book, “Ethical Pitfalls for Professional Organizers,” consulted with professionals whose careers have ethical guidelines and reviewed NAPO’s Code of Ethics.
Professionals who know me saw no issue with me wearing both hats as long as I am being transparent to clients. So I decided to write a policy that informs the clients of the options available for getting rid of items and how I can assist them in each. I hired a local professor, Dr. James G. Coe, who teaches ethics in business at Spring Arbor University, to review and revise my policy. Below is an example of what is included in the direct purchase portion of my policy:
- I will remain neutral when someone is deciding whether to sell something or not.
- I will guide clients how to best determine a price, but I will not suggest a price, make an offer or counter offer.
- I will advise my clients to notify their family and friends what they intend to sell so they have the first right of purchase.
- I will not purchase antique items during an organizing appointment.
These policies took into consideration the different ethical scenarios that I may face as an organizer. They will be revised and refined, as I continue my organizing education through real life experience, books, NAPO, and consulting with other organizers. I want my clients to like my hat, and hope that setting my business up in a way that makes them aware of my intentions will help them do just that.
Today’s Guest Blogger: Leigh MacCready owner of Re-Nest LLC
In Business Since: 2012 and Specializing In: Residential Downsizing, Space Planning and Organizing Website: renestleigh.com Email: email@example.com