In January of 2015, Cedars received a letter from the Samaritan Counseling Center in Lancaster, PA. This letter stated that Cedars Woodworking and its owner, Steven Schmucker, had been selected as a final candidate for the 2015 Ethics In Business Award. This award is given yearly by the Samaritan’s Counseling Center in Lancaster, PA. Samaritan’s Counseling Center describes this award as follows: “At an annual Ethics in Business event, for-profit businesses and non-profit organizations that stand apart in their dedication to corporate social responsibility in their employment practices, civic activities, environmental concern and ethical conduct are recognized.” Cedars Woodworking was one of 23 nominees, one of 8 finalists.
The Samaritan Counseling Center’s website goes on to say that “Businesses and nonprofit organizations will be evaluated based on how they demonstrate the five principles in their conduct with staff, customers, vendors, donors and the community. Individual nominees should be models and mentors for others as well as leaders in their business field.”
The five principals of conduct are:
-Fairness & Justice
In order to be considered for this award, Cedars Woodworking submitted a mission statement, vision statement, ethics statements, and core values statement. Cedars was interviewed by the Ethics Award committee at our shop and offices. As an additional requirement, Cedars demonstrated and documented internal communication and strategic planning tools as well.
This process enabled us to receive two opportunities:
– The opportunity to better ourselves, our processes, and more
– The opportunity to impact the business community around us
On November 5, 2015, Steven Schmucker attended the Ethics In Business Award Ceremony. He was able to participate in a panel with the other nominees. Given two unique questions, and one group question, Steve shared his own story of growth and success with the event’s attendees. Steve was later told that he provided valuable take-aways to the audience, so we’ve decided to share the questions and Steve’s insights in this post.
Question 1: What are your organization’s core ethical principles and values? Where did those values come from, and why are they so important to your organization today?
Steve’s Answer: The name Cedars was inspired by Psalm 92:12: Where it spoke of the righteous flourishing like a palm tree, and growing like the Tall Cedars of Lebanon. I read a commentary about the tall Cedars of Lebanon. The commentary spoke about the cedar tree and its integrity, strength, longevity and resistance to insects and decay. As a Christian man, it is important to me to operate my business on these strong principles of Integrity, Honesty, Passion, Inspiration and Relationships.
Question 2: Have ethical decisions ever cost your organization money, and if so, in the long run, what has the ROI been on your investment in being an ethical organization?
Steve’s Answer: Oh my, yes. Ranging from a highly unethical employee who was very costly to terminate, to potential customers who don’t want me to pull building permits to being offered cash in hand to do business under the table. The ROI has been two-fold: 1- These situations handled properly speak very loudly to the other party about who I am, the games I won’t play, and often
eliminates me as a candidate to enter into agreements that condone questionable behavior. 2, and most importantly, running my business this way (ethically) gives me the best night’s sleep! It eliminates the worry that comes with participating in questionable behavior and questionable business transactions.
Question 3: Could you share some closing thoughts or advice about the importance of being an ethical organization?
Steve’s Answer: Stand firm on your ethical values; never waver. As Abraham Lincoln so wisely stated: “Your reputation is like fine china – once broken it’s very hard to repair”. This principle never changes.
While Cedars Woodworking was not 2015’s Ethics In Business Award winner, as a team, we’re honored to have been nominated by one of our long-time customers, as well as having the opportunity to receive the following feedback from the Ethics in Business Selection Committee:
“We feel that the nominee (Cedars Woodworking) exceeds qualifications in all of the criteria categories. If any categories were chosen as substantially exceeding requirements though, it would be integrity and fairness/justice…
“The overall impression of the nominee is that this is a business that operates with an exceptional level of ethics. Each interaction that we had was a confirmation that Cedars greatly surpasses the principles of conduct for this award. The well-being of all stakeholders is taken into account through the daily functions of the business. The recipients of this goodwill include but are not limited to direct employees, clientele, community partners, non-profit organizations, and personal networks…
“In the field with customers, the employees are committed to presenting themselves in a courteous manner and to doing quality work…
“The organization’s greatest documentation of ethical business practices are the customers and community… [Cedars Woodworking] was described as “not cutting corners”. Their customers aren’t just projects or transactions. Cedars views them as forever relationships.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Congratulations to all of the 2015 Ethics In Business Award Nominees!
Cedars Woodworking & Interior Painting
Community First Fund
Ephrata National Bank
Gibbel, Kraybill & Hess
H.L. Wiker, Inc.
MODO Design Group
Congratulations to Bomberger’s Store, 2015 Ethics In Business Award Winner!
For more information on the Ethics In Business Award, or to nominate a business owner you know, visit http://scclanc.org/ethics-in-business/