The Time Is Always Right To Do What Is Right

Ethical business
Ethical business
Image by Unseen Histories on Unsplash.

I’m a first generation immigrant born in the U.K to Polish parents who, by various means and actions and tragic events, found themselves in a small town called Hucknall, just outside of Nottingham in 1943, repairing Spitfire engines for the British Royal Air Force.

They did their best to assimilate themselves into the culture of their new home, grateful for the opportunities they were afforded and the prospects of starting a new life with a new family in a new country. They learned how to speak English, made friends, found themselves work and became skilled at a trade. Sure they spoke with heavy sugary doughnut accents and amusing grammatical inconsistencies but they tried. They tried real hard. And no one knocked them down for trying.

Quite the opposite.

That rubbed off on me. I was taught that nothing’s for free and if you really want something, like really want something, you’ve got to work at it because nobody’s gonna feel sorry for the ‘poor me’ types and just hand out blank cheques because you’re holding your breath till they do.

You’ve got to work hard and you’ve got to work smart. Real hard. Real smart. Sure there’ll be mistakes along the way but if you have the right mindset you learn from those mistakes and they actually help you get better and grow.

I’ve been remembering the significance of this recently, especially because I’ve been reading a lot, especially on Linkedin, and especially from people I’m inspired by or connected with. I’m seeing connections between then and now. And now I’m passionate about the customer experience and how to connect with like-minded souls on a heartfelt, genuine and emotional level.

I understand this doesn’t sit well with everyone. For some this isn’t how they see a business being successful at all. For these folk it’s a simple formula: business = money and money = business

There’s no half-way house here. No room for negotiation brother.

Money is the culture. Money is everything. Time is money. Money makes the world go round. Money CAN buy you love (and anything else you heart desires.) The more money you make, the more successful you become. Simple. So make money! At whatever cost! Doesn’t matter if you can’t sleep well at night in full knowledge your product or service is flawed and someone else suffers for it. Get over it! It is what it is!

I’m not so naive to be living in a land of unicorn smiles and pot head pixies drinking from fountains of rainbow love. I know a business has to make money, of course I do, but I see making money as a result of having done the right thing. And in that sense it’s all about how you do your business. That’s the ethical business culture I want to grow.

It’s about the story you tell, the values you share, the integrity you display (yes, even when no one’s looking) and the people you can help. You do that right you’ll make money AND sleep well at night.

It’s not an easy journey but it’s not an idealistic utopian dream either. My Dad’s voice echoes through my head “Nothing’s for free son. You gotta work at it whatever it is. Work at it hard as you can and don’t make the excuses why things don’t be working out how you think they’re gonna be working out when they don’t be working out.” I smile because I know his grammar’s wrong but he’s right on point.

But how do you do that? How do you stay motivated when things don’t go how you planned? How do you stay on track with what you believe to be righteous and true?

There’s a lot of advice out there; 7 ways to stay motivated; 11 sure-fire steps to success; do these 8 things and stay in the game. Most of it I can relate to but some of it sounds like pixie shit to me, so I’ve narrowed it down to these points that resonate most with me:

  • Don’t be distracted by things you can’t control. Focus on what you can.
  • Be consistent and stay true to your beliefs.
  • Make the effort to learn and learn from mistakes.
  • Surround yourself with people who help you grow. They’ll help you stay creative. They’ll be the ones who inspire you.
  • Adopt an attitude of gratitude. Always!

Maybe I’m right. Maybe I’m wrong. All I know is that I have to be true to my belief that business can (and should) be conducted ethically and if more people did the same then the world might just be a better place for our children to enjoy.

How do you stay motivated? I’d be interested to know.


The title of this blog “The time is always right to do what is right” is from a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Oberlin College in 1964. It’s such an inspirational sound bite that helps me remember it’s never too late to make a difference. We just need to remind ourselves we can.




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Andrzej Barski

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Andrzej is Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia. He was born in the UK to Polish parents and has been living in Indonesia for more than 33-years. He is a skilled writer, trainer and marketer with a deep understanding of Indonesia and its many cultures after spending many years travelling across the archipelago from North Sumatra to Irian Jaya.

His experience covers Marketing, Branding, Advertising, Publishing, Real Estate and Training for 5-Star Hotels and Resorts in Bali and Jakarta, which has given him a passion for the customer experience. He’s a published author and a regular contributor to local and regional publications. His interests include conservation, eco-conscious initiatives, spirituality and motorcycles. Andrzej speaks English and Indonesian.

Terje H. Nilsen

Director of Seven Stones Indonesia

Terje is from Norway and has been living in Indonesia for over 20-years. He first came to Indonesia as a child and after earning his degree in Business Administration from the University of Agder in Norway, he moved to Indonesia in 1993, where he has worked in leading positions in education and the fitness/ wellness industries all over Indonesia including Jakarta, Banjarmasin, Medan and Bali.

He was Co-owner and CEO of the Paradise Property Group for 10-years and led the company to great success. He is now Co-owner/ Founder and Director of Seven Stones Indonesia offering market entry services for foreign investors, legal advice, sourcing of investments and in particular real estate investments. He has a soft spot for eco-friendly and socially sustainable projects and investments, while his personal business strengths are in property law, tourism trends, macroeconomics, Indonesian government and regulations. His personal interests are in sport, adventure, history and spiritual experiences.

Terje’s leadership, drive and knowledge are recognised across many industries and his unrivalled network of high level contacts in government and business spans the globe. He believes you do good and do well but always in that order. Terje speaks English, Indonesian and Norwegian.

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Ridwan Jasin Zachrie

CFO of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Ridwan is one of Indonesia’s top executives with a long and illustrious career in the financial world. He holds several professional certifications including being a Certified Business Valuer (CBV) issued by the Australian Academy of Finance and Management; Broker-Dealer Representative (WPPE); and The Directorship Certification for Directors and Commissioners, issued by the Indonesian Institute of Commissioners and Directors.

His experience includes being the Managing Director at one of the top investment banking groups in the region, the Recapital Group, the CFO at State-owned enterprises in fishery industry and the CEO at Tanri Abeng & Son Holding. He’s also been an Independent Commissioner in several Financial Service companies and on the Audit and Risk Committee at Bank BTPN Tbk, Berau Coal Energy Tbk, Aetra Air Jakarta as well as working for Citibank, Bank Mandiri and HSBC. His last position was as CFO at PT Citra Putra Mandiri – OSO Group.

Ridwan has won a number of prestigious awards including the Best CFO Awards 2019 (Institute of Certified Management Accountant Australia-Indonesia); Asia Pacific Young Business Leader awarded by Asia 21 Network New York USA (Tokyo 2008); UK Alumni Business Awards 2008 awarded by the British Council; and The Most Inspiring Human Resources Practitioners’ version of Human Capital Magazine 2010.

He’s a member of the Board of Trustees of the Alumni Association of the Faculty of Law, Trisakti University, Co-Founder of the Paramadina Public Policy Institute and actively writes books, publications and articles in the mass media. He co-authored “Korupsi Mengorupsi Indonesia” in 2009, which helps those with an interest in understanding governance in Indonesia and the critical issue of corruption. Ridwan speaks Indonesian and English.

Per Fredrik Ecker

Managing Director of Seven Stones Indonesia, Jakarta

Per is the Managing Director of the Seven Stones Indonesia (SSI) Jakarta office and has more than 25-years’ experience in Indonesia, China, and Western Europe. He previously worked in senior management positions with Q-Free ASA, Siemens AG, and other companies in the telecom sector. Over the last six years, he has been the Chairman of the Indonesia-Norway Business Council (INBC) and recently become elected to be on the board of EuroCham Indonesia.

His most recent experience is within Intelligent Transport Solutions (ITS), Telecom, and other sectors within the Indonesian market. He is today through his position in SSI and by representing Norway Connect, promoting Nordic and European companies that would like to explore business opportunities in the Indonesian market. He’s also playing an active role to help create the Nordic House concept in Jakarta that will provide an excellent platform for Nordic companies entering Indonesia, where they’ll find a community that can offer support with trusted information and affordable services to enter this market.