The Better Business Bureau Serving Northern Colorado and Wyoming's Institute for Marketplace Trust will officially roll out its BBB Center for Character Ethics at the 16th annual BBB Torch Awards for Ethics on April 30 at the Lincoln Center in Fort Collins.

Doing so on the same evening that businesses from Northern Colorado and Wyoming will be honored for exemplary ethics is the perfect pairing.
You might be asking yourself, "Why the need for a center focusing on ethics? Don't we all do the right thing? Don't we follow the Golden Rule?"
Unfortunately, not all companies make ethics a priority and not all companies walk the talk.

Additionally, the Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth by the Josephson Institute reveals that 59 percent of students surveyed admitted cheating on a test during the last year and 34 percent doing it more than two times. The result? The potential for a business culture now and in the future where ethics is not a priority. The fallout? A lack of trust, honesty and integrity between businesses and their customers, vendors and stakeholders.
This is why the BBB Center for Character Ethics came up with the UncommonSense Framework and the six TRUST! principles in the EthicalEnterprises Framework that our local BBB has adopted as well.

Let's take a closer look.

The UncommonSense Framework includes 20 character ethics divided into four self-explanatory leadership descriptors: Principled and genuine, values others, seeks results and displays growth.

EthicalEnterprising includes six descriptors that spell "TRUST!" and is the basis for judging BBB Torch Award nominees. These six elements are:
Transformation at the top: Leaders know that positive character traits are an essential guide to life and work. They strive to live and lead accordingly, and they intentionally seek feedback in order to make personal improvements.

Reinforce and build: Leaders intentionally behave and communicate with one another and stakeholders in ways that are consistent with their beliefs. Their actions follow their words, which intentionally reinforces the character culture of their organization and builds a high performance business model.
Unite the team: Leaders work to ensure clarity of purpose and an adherence to clear convictions that motivate and unite stakeholders. By doing so, they establish and emphasize the "whys" of an organization: Why work here? Why be a customer? Why be a supplier? Why be who we are?

Steer performance: Leaders guide organizational performance by implementing high competency management practices. The leader and leadership team continually manage performance by establishing goals, measuring achievement and allocating rewards.

Treasure people: Leaders prize the intrinsic value of people. The leader and the leadership team adopt and implement human-resource practices that prepare, continually support/recognize and provide opportunities for growth for all staff members.

Enthusiastically reinvest: Leaders support the community that supports them.

How does your company stack up when you look at both the UncommonSense and EthicalEnterprising frameworks? On behalf of BBB, I invite you to more closely examine your own company culture by taking the EthicalEnterprising Trust Assessment at go.bbb.org/1iFRQc7. To learn more about BBB Torch Awards, please visit bbb.org/wyoming-and-northern-colorado.

Steve Laine, owner of MKO Financial in Fort Collins, is chairman of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust Board of Advisers.