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Am I Preaching to the Choir?

Posted By David T. Norman CMC, Thursday, May 26, 2011
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 (May 22). 

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.

Stay tuned,

My best,

David

Tags:  Consultant-News.com  Ethics  IMC USA  Mick James 

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Permalink | Comments (4)
 

Comments on this post...

Chris N. Lambrecht CMC says...
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011
First of all, I'd like to comment on Blogging in general. The philosophy of blogging is that you are NOT broadcasting a message. One has the ability to subscribe or unsubscribe at any time. So, David, those people, and I am one of them, that want to hear what you have to say about IMC will continue to follow you as long as we think what you are writing is relevant to our own self interest.
Secondly, I'd like to comment on those consultants that believe they are beyond needing a written code of ethics to adhere to. For those who have not studied ethics, it is easy for them to say "I don't need a written code of ethics to do what is right." But yet, at all level of government and commerce, we have seen so many people that have astray that no doubt had this same thought. I personally believe that the IMC Code of Ethics alone is worth the price of membership, and I challenge those that have not studied the code to take the online test. Those of us that have been around the block understand that things are not always as clear as they seem.
Permalink to this Comment }

George Moskoff CMC says...
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011
keep blogging David.
Permalink to this Comment }

Thomas F. Samson says...
Posted Thursday, May 26, 2011
Keep the blogs coming David. It is a great tool to drive discussions that stimulate the professional growth each of us needs as we struggle to continue providing meaningful services to our clients in these changing times. I grew up in the accounting profession and served clients for over 25 years as a member of and later a partner in one of the “Big Four” accounting firms. After serving as a senior executive in several companies and participating in industry-wide associations I returned to the world I enjoy . . . serving clients as a consultant and trusted advisor. My only comment for improvement in your blog is the use of the word “industry” to describe what we, as consultants, do. “It’s a good story to tell, particularly in today’s business environment when ethics lapses in our industry make the mainstream press.” If we are to be considered professionals in the eyes of the public we must view what we do as a profession which implies that we are driven to deliver personal services to our clients within a framework of professional standards and ethics. Keep up the good work David.
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Loraine M. Kasprzak CMC says...
Posted Friday, May 27, 2011
Definitely keep blogging David. I link to your posts from my Code of Ethics page on my blog.
Permalink to this Comment }

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Message from the Chair
Don Matheson CMCChair and CEO, IMC USA
Gregory BrooksExecutive Director, IMC USA