Summary of The Right Way to Win

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The Right Way to Win book summary

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Ethical business practices are vital to protecting your company’s reputation and, thus, its success. In this practical guide, attorney and former McKinsey consultant Robert Zafft applies business ethics to real-world circumstances. He explores what it means to learn and implement ethical behavior in business, explains how organizational leaders can foster honorable practices with sound management methods, and demonstrates why acting ethically bolsters your bottom line.

About the Author

Attorney and former McKinsey Company consultant Robert Zafft advises businesses on cross-border trade and investment, governance and dispute resolution. He lectures at Washington University in St. Louis’s Olin Business School.


Practicing ethical behavior in business goes beyond nixing corporate greed.

When Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf appeared before the US Senate to account for the 5,300 employees of his bank who opened fake accounts in customers’ names, his blindness to negative public reaction – along with his nonplussed attitude toward it – was astonishing.

Excess focus on a CEO’s purported greed can lead people to ignore more important truths, including realities of human nature and the fact that people’s actions always happen in a context. Human beings justify their actions, however immoral – and no one works in a vacuum. People operate inside of companies, procedural routines and internal cultures, and they respond to incentives in those contexts.

Four main ethical frameworks guide global business practices today.

Ethics are a code of conduct by which a group of people interact. Four ethical frameworks tend to guide global business practices: “Cost/Benefit,” “The Golden Rule,” “Blind Bargaining” and “Virtue.” 

“The Lifeboat Game” can clarify these frameworks. Suppose 10 shipwreck...

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