There are a number of things to consider with this statement in the process of thinking ethically.
1. Is the word “right” subjective or objective? Is it based on the situation, a personage or values?
2. Is it easier to find the right time than it is to choose the right thing or the right reason? If so, why?
3. Assuming that this is a workable definition of ethics, what would a different order of the “rights” and why, i.e. might it be right reason, then right thing and then the right time?
The purpose for this type of discernment is to come to an understanding that to truly embrace the process of thinking ethically is one that needs a greater commitment, ongoing training and organization wide implementation.
To know the right thing to do at the right time for the right reason is a challenging and sometime daunting task. But for those who embrace the value of ethical thinking and behaving ethically, it is a non negotiable. It is the process of this type of thinking we need to embrace with resources and budgets.
But let’s be clear on the purpose. The purpose of instilling the process of thinking ethically is to decrease the odds of something unethically going wrong. It cannot guarantee there will be zero incidents, any more than compliance training can guarantee no compliance lapses. The more ethical thinking is the focus of training, the more is doesn’t make a difference on the order of the three “rights”.