September 28 & 29, 2020 | Virtual
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Great question! If there is a disconnect between the behaviors of your leadership and your principles, then it comes down to how strong you hold your values over your continued employment... There is a fine line between positioning some news in a favorable light and out right deceiving the client.
Great question Valerie, I have seen people focusing on making the customer org happy and hiding bad news from them which they share with hiring org, which in my opinion is not right and been transparent. As a PM, my view is to share the bad news as early as possible so that damage can be minimized.
Valerie - I believe that all Project manager have to walk this thin line (ethics vs. transparency) while communicating to stakeholders.
While ethics is paramount, the transparency is directly related to how a stakeholder will process the informatation. A negative/unfavorable news may need some groundwork ahead of time to dampen the blow.
In my experience, a clear honest opinion/answer with 'appropriate context' is always helpful to manage situation compared to tainted/incomplete answers.
A balance is difficult. Quite often they are swapping top spot on the ladder.
I have seen the same thing that you refer to. People want to make the customer happy, but at what cost? Maybe a customer is happy in the short run, but certainly won't be when the truth is revealed.
You bring up a really key point. Communication is presenting the information in an appropriate manner. The words we choose and the actions we take says it all. Just because it is bad news doesn't mean that the customer will over-react. Stating the problem, stating the root cause, and describing the action plan in a professional manner are key. Sometimes the customer will react negatively, but acting in a professional manner is always appropriate
Thank you for responding. I'd love to hear more about your experiences with the difficult balance.
I personally know of a program manager who chose to hide information from a customer because the team didn't have a solution yet. The customer CONFRONTED the program manager and asked "is there anything else you are lying about?" Certainly that is a situation that could have been avoided.
There is nothing wrong with saying that you don't have a solution yet, but will have one by xxxx. Follow-up is key.
Thanks for responding again,
I'm not really sure that everyone has a common understanding of transparency--- or at least not to the same degree. One might that keeping some information private is a form of information hiding (and lack of transparency), while others all information should be made available to everyone all the time.
Your point on ethics is well taken as well. I'm afraid that "for the good of the many" has become a buzz phrase. Some question what the greatest good really means--- “to whom?” This question focused on underlying ethical theory: utilitarianism (maximize utility; maximum well being). But there are so many other foundational ethics theories.
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