The Ethics of Making Better Decisions

image courtesy of

My intention with each of these posts is that you’re challenged to interrupt the noise and routine in your life, just for a moment, to think more deeply about what really matters in life… your relationship with yourself and with others in your professional and personal life.

Action Summary

  1. Get clear about what morals and principles you want to live your professional and personal life by
  2. Apply the Light of Day Test to the important decisions you need to make in your life.

The WHY:

The Royal Commission into Banking and Finance, another announced for the Aged Care Sector and this week, and a call for another Royal Commission into the Supermarket and Petrol Station sectors, continue to send loud and clear messages about the level of distrust we have in some major institutions and industry sectors.

It’s become very clear from the ongoing investigation into the banking and finance sector that while compliance is required, it is far from the answer.

When you strip everything back, the reality is, misplaced goals, values and how stakeholder interests are prioritised, are at the heart of what’s creating ethically poor (and sometimes illegal) decisions and actions.

It Really Oughtn’t Be That Difficult

I know at times I might sound like a broken record, but in this post I again want to remind you of the importance of personal responsibility, moral character and an ethical decision making tool that, had it been used on a regular (daily) basis by those being hauled across the coals in these Royal Commissions, our faith and trust in major institutions to do the right thing by their customers wouldn’t be in such a bad state.

Aristotle’s philosophy on the ethics of human character teaches that the decisions you make and the actions you take are your morals shown in conduct. Repeated decisions and actions also form the basis of your habits of success, and once again, Aristotle’s philosophy teaches us that we are the sum of our actions and that our habits make all the difference.

What are the habits in your personal and professional life that you’re proud of and are helping you to earn and build more intentional trust relationships? What are the habits in your professional and personal life that you’re maybe not so proud of and are hindering your capacity to earn and build more intentional trust relationships?

Making better decisions about your habits can be positively influenced by applying the Light of Day test.

The ‘light of day test’ is an intentional and ethical decision-making process that can help you be the person you need to be to live a more meaningful and flourishing personal and professional life.

To apply the light of day test, all you need do is to stop every now and then and ask yourself this:

With this decision you’re about to make or this action you’re about to take, would you make the decision or take the action if it was held up in the ‘light of day’ for all to see?

In other words, if your decision or action was posted on the internet, read out on the evening news, made known to your loved ones, would you be proud of your decision or action?

Ethical Leadership on Team Meeting Agendas

Can you image, and it really oughtn’t be that difficult, if at every team meeting within every organisation, leaders would reflect on and address as an ongoing agenda item, any proposed (or made) decision or action, by using the Light of Day Test? What would our customers think if we made this decision or took this action? What would the Australian public think? What would our families think?

Anthony Robbins’ book ‘Awaken the Giant Within’ is a best-selling book on living a more self-determined life. Let me leave you with a quote from Anthony Robbins to conclude this post:

“You must know that in any moment a decision you make can change the course of your life forever.”

My best to you for now, and remember when you intentionally improve the life of others in your professional and personal relationships, you set up the power of reciprocity … what you give out, you get back.

Share this article

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More Articles & Research from David Penglase