It is a rather depressing thing when you look around, everywhere, and realize how few people there are who do right by others simply because it is the right thing to do. This isn't to say that there are not plenty of good, honest people out there who innately understand that if you treat other people with respect they will be more likely to respond in kind. You trap more flies with honey ... Even if, the prevailing wisdom seems to be that it helps to pull off their wings too.
We attribute the precipitous decline in ethics and common courtesy in the business world in large part to the failures of capitalism and an over emphasis on the conservative theory of "self-reliance" (which has been bastardized to the extent that it should read, "self-interest").
If you take a moment to read the paper or an article online or watch the television, you are innundated with a neverending barage of stories about people who use illegal tactics to garner votes, raise the price of gasoline to enrich themselves, lie to protect a political career, cut jobs to maintain absurd growth margins, run Ponzi investment schemes, use bailout money to bolster golden parachutes, and on and on.
Selfish interests are a cancer in the business world and have contributed in ways difficult to fathom towards making the act of running a business a daily assault of poor ettiquette and manners. This is why good people will need to pick up the standard and start showing colleagues and business associates that doing right by others actually helps your bottom line.
Simply making an effort to return phone calls and emails within a reasonable amount of time is a good starting point. Potential clients need to show a little appreciation and respect for vendors who take the time to prepare an estimate or a detailed proposal for their project, even if they don't use the vendor's services. Say "thank you" more often. The little things do matter.
Even in the face of retarded political polarization, a pervasive ignorance that threatens to drown out any sort of reason, and a general lack of ethics and consideration in all aspects of our lives, we need to keep our heads held high and realize that good things do happen to good people.
No one said it would be easy. We will continue to do our part and hope that other's will find solice in the notion that there are a few people out there who implicitly understand that we will sink or swim as a businesscommunity. In this economic climate, every man needs to be looking out for more than just himself.