By Dave Fourie
Practice what you preach
Don’t get me wrong – I also firmly believe Project Managers, as all people in life, should always be brutally honest!
But do we practice what we preach? Is it still possible and wise to act with integrity in today’s world?
Can you honestly say as a project manager that you always and under all circumstances conduct yourself with honesty and integrity? To me it seems that taking responsibility, respecting others, fairness, and honesty have become virtues that we only subscribe to when it suits us.
Sometimes one wonders if even the people that are seen as beacons of honesty and integrity are always that honest. It is so easy to tell a white lie, of course only to save somebody else’s feelings – and most of the time that “somebody else” being ourselves.
Big sins and little sins
It is also so easy to state a half-truth or “forget” to mention the bad news while bluffing ourselves that it is for the best in the greater scheme of things. And what about our duty to understand the truth – when we realise that we acted honestly and in good faith, but that we were mistaken? Does the old saying: ”When an honest man discovers he is mistaken, he will either cease being mistaken, or cease being honest” then also apply to us?
No good deed goes unpunished
Then we also need to consider the practicality of being honest. What will happen to me if I do act with honesty and integrity? Will I be praised and possibly be rewarded by the powers to be in my company? Or will nothing be said publicly while my future prospects dwindle away? As Napoleon Bonaparte once said: “The surest way to remain poor is to be an honest man.”
PMI Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct
How are we supposed to conduct ourselves as Project Management Professionals? Of course we all know that we should abide by our code of ethics. But do we really take it serious? Do we live by it every day or do we only take it out and brush it off when we need to prove to others how just and honest we are?
Let’s take a short quiz to see how earnest we are about integrity:
|No.||Have you (or will you) ALWAYS and under ALL circumstances:||Yes||No|
|1||When you discovered errors or omissions caused by others, communicate them to the appropriate body as soon they were discovered?||1||0|
|2||Confront others who engage in gossip and make negative remarks to undermine another person’s reputation?||1||0|
|3||Respect the property rights of others, including not making a photocopy (or any other means of reproduction) of any part of the PMBOK® Guide or any other copyrighted work (including songs and movies) without prior written permission of the publisher?||1||0
3 Marks – You are extremely honest and display high levels of integrity / You were not honest with yourself when you completed this quiz*
* delete whichever is not applicable
Less than 3 Marks – At least you were honest when taking this quiz, and that’s a good start!
According to Oprah Winfrey: “real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody’s going to know whether you did it or not”. Should this not be our guiding compass?
How do you feel about this? Should we follow the world or let the world follow us?
About the Author: Dave Fourie is a dedicated, innovative and people oriented project management trainer with 25 years plus project management experience. For more information about his services, visit his blog, Project Management Training Africa.