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#466: Quick Ethics Checkup

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Monday, December 27, 2010
Updated: Monday, December 27, 2010
I have been offered an assignment by my former client to assist him in the planning and implementation of an upcoming acquisition of one of his competitors. I really do not have any M&A experience, but I am a very quick learner and I know the client's business very well. That knowledge alone makes me probably the most valuable consultant immediately available with a short learning curve. Should I accept the assignment and then use the "on the job" training I receive to help me complete the work successfully?

Paragraph 3.0 of the IMC USA Code of Ethics reads: "I will only accept assignments for which I possess the requisite experience and competence to perform and will only assign staff or engage colleagues with the knowledge and expertise needed to serve my clients effectively."

Tip: Be upfront with your client about the level of experience and expertise you (and your firm) possess in a particular area. Clearly communicate these limitations and your concerns to your client. Be careful if the client expresses no concern with your lack of qualifications. In some cases, it is fully appropriate to "walk away" from an assignment for which you do not possess the requisite expertise, even if the client insists that your involvement is appropriate (your client might be underestimating the skill and experience required in order for the engagement to be successful). Remember, you must always place the best interests and welfare of your client's organization (and the public) first.

© 2010 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  ethics  reputation 

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Michael E. Cohen CMC MBA says...
Posted Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Well, you have to determine if you can do the work successfully. After all in a new area for you, somebody has to be the first client. You may be able to supplement your team with a consultant. It's not always a easy call, but occasionally you have to take some risks. It's a question of how big the risk is.

You've raised a good issue.
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