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Reasons Michael values his
membership in the Institute of Management Consultants
believe that if we don’t watch our behavior, someone will
eventually push to enforce our behavior by social or
professional rejection of the person, or preemptively by
legislation. How many times have we heard someone in the
spotlight say, “I didn’t do anything illegal,” when he or she
was clearly unethical? And how many times did politicians then
rush to legislate, sometimes not entirely wisely?
Ethics don’t keep the unethical from their abominations, but
well-written codes do school the ethically-minded in what is
acceptable behavior or not. The key phrase is “well-written.”
Such codes must be clear, simple and specific. They can’t just
be filled with “make nice” statements. I love the statement Jim
Robison wrote when he was CEO of Indian Head Mills. In part he
said “We will not welsh, weasel, chisel or cheat. We will not be
a party to any untruths, half truths, or unfair distortions.”
Got it? How could anyone not get it.
In 1924 The
Atlantic Monthly printed an article by Lord Moulton in which
Moulton said there are three great domains of human action.
Positive law is at one end. Free choice is at the other. In
between these ends is obedience to the unenforceable, the
“obedience of a man to that which he cannot be forced to obey
but where he is the enforcer of the law upon himself.” It is in
this middle area of unenforcement where clear, specific codes of
ethics can protect us from falling down in our own and our
next several months, we will explore ethical and professional
standards as they apply to management consulting.
for the full article]
The Focus Leader
For the profile of E Michael
Shays, click on the photo above.