If you’ve ever wondered if ethics were important – which I know you haven’t because we’re all upstanding, highly ethical people in business – just read the sports page.

On Monday, Major League Baseball suspended 13 players who were found guilty of illegal steroid use. The most notable suspension was Alex Rodriguez who will be benched for 211 games. According to the MLB, Rodriguez’s penalty is heftier because of his attempts to cover-up and obstruct the investigation. This latest incident echoes the lifetime ban of Lance Armstrong from professional cycling.

More and more, it’s becoming apparent that ethics are not something discussed exclusively in boardrooms amongst the executive team. Personal and corporate accountability are essential to building a business and career that has longevity.

As we read the newspaper and internet accounts of A-Rod’s historic suspension, what are some of the lessons we can take away to help us as we move through our careers?

  1. Be Transparent. The best way to build trust with a co-worker, superior, or as a corporation is to be open. Even the appearance of misconduct can strain a relationship that causes friction. Saying you made a mistake goes a long way to let people know you’re aware of where things went wrong and how you’re going to fix the problem.
  2. Everything leaves a digital footprint. In today’s online age, there’s no way to hide information. Whether it’s an email, tweet, or text, information can be saved and traced back to you. Politics an