Better Business by Dale Dixon: Bureau launches new ethics center and award program

DALE DIXON, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Southwest Idaho and eastern OregonSeptember 4, 2013 

Dale Dixon

The kids are back in school, fall is around the corner, and change is in the air at Better Business Bureau. BBB has radically transformed the Integrity Counts award, basically hitting the reset button and starting fresh with the Center For Character Ethics.

We believe businesses that set the bar for operating with ethics and integrity deserve to be recognized. But as a 101-year-old organization, we wanted to provide a more holistic approach to fostering an ethical marketplace, hence the Center for Character Ethics. It’s created to assess a company’s character ethic, provide training and recognize those businesses that see doing the right thing as their primary goal. Let’s break down the impact of the three areas CCE will be using to help improve the ethical business climate for Idaho:


If you’ve ever taken an online assessment, the CCE assessment will be a familiar process. Employees in participating businesses are provided a unique Web link that takes them to a series of questions about the ethical climate within the business. Employees remain anonymous through the process, answering questions about the organization and its approach to ethics, integrity and doing the right thing. The assessment phase requires courage from owners and managers. It puts leaders under the microscope.

We ran the assessment within BBB because I’m a firm believer in taking the medicine before prescribing it to others. It was a powerful, eye-opening experience as a leader. It’s not for the faint of heart.


After the assessment, we know those areas where the business excels at creating a culture of great behavior. The results also reveal those areas that need improvement. BBB provides training to enhance the strengths and improve on the weakness. We offer courses on ethical decision-making at the local level and have access to nationally known trainers, speakers and authors who provide great resources to leaders serious about making ethics and integrity a core competency.


This is the fun part. We call it The Torch Award. To apply, businesses must have been in operation at least three years, have an A or better rating with BBB and have a good reputation in the marketplace (if your vendors say you don’t pay your bills, you don’t qualify). Other than those stipulations, any company is eligible to apply.

The business does not need to be BBB accredited. The application is rigorous, but the potential of receiving the prestigious award is more than worth the time involved. What I hear most often from the applicants is what a positive experience it turns out to be. They start hesitant to invest the time, but once it’s complete, they say it’s incredible to closely investigate the ethical operating nuances of the business that may not have been considered in the past.

Bottom line: The Torch Award application will result in your business providing a three-ring binder to BBB that details how you operate day-in and day-out with a focus on ethics and integrity. If you have what it takes, I encourage you to apply today. Go to and click on the Entries tab.



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