Over the last three days I received a number of missives regarding my past Message From the Chair
, Amorality or Ethics – The Choice is Yours
Two in particular stand out; both are from people I trust. One said, paraphrasing, "stop wasting time on blogging,” yet the other said, ".. keep blogging and telling the story.” Ah, what to do?
The answer seems easy – in deference to the first trusted individual, part of leadership’s role is to be a spokesperson for the organization, and, accordingly, I’ll keep telling IMC USA’s story. It’s a good story to tell, particularly in today’s business environment when ethics lapses in our industry make the mainstream press.
On May 25, Mick James wrote an article (http://www.consultant-news.com/article_display.aspx?p=adp&id=7876
) for Consultant-News.com
entitled, "Can We Trust Our Consultants?
” in which he also used McKinsey & Co.’s Gupta situation to raise the question of "outside validation” in a very well worded article. Quoting excerpts from Mick James:
"I believe this sort of exercise [DTN Note: using IMC (Britain) Code of Ethics to discuss ethics dilemmas], and particularly the reference to some sort of external structure, is vital. You don’t really need a very sophisticated moral compass to tell you what’s going on when someone stuffs a brown paper envelope full of cash in your pocket and you hand over an illicitly copied file. But you do need to be able to tell your clients and the world at large in very explicit terms that you run an organisation where not only is unethical behaviour not tolerated, but that the sort of self-questioning and education that underpins good practice is actively encouraged."
"Just like statements of corporate social responsibility and environmental concern, this sort of claim increasingly requires outside validation. Many consultancy firms have values statements that go far beyond anything any professional body could require of an industry as a whole. But on their own they are frankly as useful as a note from your mum saying you’re the handsomest boy in the school. …
"Subjecting yourself to external rules and constraints goes against the grain for consultants: they like to do their own thing, because they always believe they can do it better. But now that a cloud hangs over the industry, more needs to be done. Consultancy doesn’t need to be leaned up, but it needs to be seen to be clean: ironically, we can only assure others that we will respect their confidentiality if we are more transparent ourselves.”
Our tagline is Setting the Standard in Excellence and Ethics in Consulting
and its impact is not to be underestimated. I strongly believe that the greater business environment, unconsciously and perhaps unknowingly, is in great need of a front-runner in consulting excellence and ethics
– the external validation (with external adjudication) that James wrote about. Your association is uniquely positioned -- no one other than IMC USA owns this space, in fact, we are an association of professional, competent and ethical consultants; we all subscribe to the same code of ethics -- something to be proud of, I think. In addition, we are the sole certifying body of management consultants in the U.S. and are an ISO/IEC accrediting body.
Am I preaching to the choir? And, is Mick James doing the same? I can’t speak for him, but I can say that, first, we have moved this Message from the Chair
in front of the members-only firewall, and, second, that so far there are some 4,300 RSS feeds. I don’t feel I am speaking only to IMC USA members; rather, there’s a larger audience perhaps listening in. And, pass it on to others who may want to have Jame's "outside validation" of adherence to a Code of Ethics.