The Spirit of Ethics

A friend once told me that even if you hear the same message every week at church, you still feel different when you leave. He also pointed out that it matters less how those words resonate in church as much as after.

In my last post we broke down the topic of ethics to very real, very specific incidents. We reported the results of our latest Quick Poll and how you rated those incidents in terms of their ethical challenge to business. We also posted videos from members sharing their views on the subject. If you missed it, check out that post, IREM Members Respond: Ethical Challenges.

Now, in the wake of Ethics Awareness Month, let’s go back and hear the overarching message we all think we know: What does the concept of ethics mean? Here’s one take, from The Practice of Real Estate Management, written by William Walters Jr., CPM, and published by IREM in in 1979:

The final proof of a manager and the final demand on management is integrity, a moral soundness in business dealings that tests steadfastness to truth, purpose, responsibility and trust. Managers cannot compromise when it comes to demanding integrity from their superiors, their subordinates or themselves. No matter how knowledgeable or experienced the manager may be, if he lacks integrity he destroys himself, other people and in the long run his organization. He corrupts the purpose of the organization and destroys its spirit. Integrity cannot be taught or demanded, but is an absolute requisite for a professional property manager and one quality he must carry with him to the organization.

Two questions arise. The first is how much do those words from nearly 40 years ago resonate with you, with me, today? Ethics Awareness Month lasted only 30 days. The second question is: What happens now?

For a wealth of information on the subject of ethics, including IREM’s Code of Ethics and where to go for additional questions on the topic, go to

John Salustri is one of the nation’s most respected writers in the field of Commercial Real Estate. A multiple award winner for excellence in journalism, John is the founding editor of, the nation’s premier news and information site for the commercial real estate industry. Today John is a freelance writer and editor, focusing on helping companies boost their industry presence through enhanced web and print content.

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