Google quickly became one of my favorite businesses when I found out about their Don’t Be Evil policy. Even amongst the controversy Google has faced, it’s inspiring to see a billion-dollar business making an intentional effort to retain a policy that puts people first. Every business needs to incorporate this policy into everything it does.
The policy is straightforward, and will no doubt fuel your business with healthy energy and create a culture that’s high-performing. Here it is: Do be evil. That’s it. Don’t do anything evil, ever. This applies to anything a business does that impacts employees, consumers, the environment, and communities of any kind. If the action is harmful in any way to anyone or anything, it’s evil. Don’t do it.
The Don’t Be Evil policy applies across the business as a filter for any and all decisions, at any and all levels of the business. And it’s particularly important when it comes to diversity. If people in your business are treating other people poorly, and limiting others’ opportunity because of their gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, belief system, or any other individual right, that’s Evil. I get that in today’s world we have legal HR practices that try to limit discrimination in the workplace, but discrimination is still everywhere, and it needs to be stopped. The Don’t Be Evilpolicy is a message to everyone in the business that treating people poorly and making judgments on other human beings because they don’t fit into the box you’ve created for your own life is evil, wrong, and uncalled-for—period. And in a business that thrives on healthy energy there is absolutely no room for evil behavior. That includes evil behavior from part-time Joe all the way up to the CEO.
Bottom line? Evil is not acceptable—ever—and if evil decisions are made the consequence is easy: The person who made the decision, the people who agreed to the decision, and anyone who took part in putting the evil decision into action needs to experience severe consequence that should include termination from the business. Again, this goes far beyond the handbook policies, because the handbook is just a book of policy that usually no one reads. The Don’t Be Evil policy needs to permeate the entire business so people see it, feel it, and live it. Thank you, Google, for paving the way, and proving that a billion-dollar business can still keep humanity at the core of its operation. Gone are the days that size can be used as a justifier for harmful business practices. Keep up the good work, my friends.
Gina Soleil, is a speaker and acclaimed author of Fuel Your Business: How to energize people, ignite action and drive profit. She blogs and speaks about how to create a business where people are energized, feel good and are happy. Visit Gina Soleil and follow her on Twitter.