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Transparency and Ethics... How To Achieve the Balance?
As project managers/change makers, our organizations and clients expect transparency; honest, accurate and complete reporting that complies with financial standards and adheres to regulatory requirements. Transparency also includes communicating messages that aren't open to misinterpretation and that clearly represent the intentions of the project and its messages.

If you a project manager working for a large corporation, comment on transparency when the senior executive pressures to meet low probability targets? How transparent are you with the client when your executive manager wants to have everyone believe things are OK?

If you are a consultant working for an outsourcing organization, how transparent and consistent is your reporting to your hiring organization versus your client? Are they the same? Or are they different? And why?
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All of you, nice conversations. I like it!
Sep 28, 2018 11:15 AM
Replying to Akis Sklavounakis
...
Thank you Valerie, indeed GVV is useful. An interesting work on the subject of ethics is The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli, written almost 500 years ago. The most famous quote is: “How we live is so different from how we ought to live that he who studies what ought to be done rather than what is done will learn the way to his downfall rather than to his preservation.”
Wonderful quote! Isn't it amazing that something from 500 years ago is still so relevant?
I understand that the Program Manager might be worry about his position "today" but lies don't pay

As a PM, sharing the bad news as early as possible so that damage can be minimized.
To me, transparency requires candor.

Candor In The Project Management Workplace: Good News, Bad News

Are you being silenced and silencing others? A project manager's dilemma?speaking truth to power in your organisation.

Transparency and candor in the project management workplace are absolutely good and important. The tangible and intangible costs of lack of engagement and collaboration within an organization are substantial. Unfortunately, candor and honest feedback can be destructive when perceived as, weapons.
...
1 reply by Valerie Denney
Jul 06, 2019 8:45 AM
Valerie Denney
...
I agree that transparency and candor go hand in hand. But the appropriate use is important as well.
Transparency and Ethics... How To Achieve the Balance?

I believe that group-think can cloud transparency in an organization.

Adapting to group-think is a sound survival skill, but allowing yourself to slavishly follow the prevailing norm is most often a form of intellectual and moral suicide.

"Every culture (workplace included), wittingly or not, pressures each of us to forswear independent, critical thinking, and in so doing, join the herd. Our job is to think our way through this pressure."— Mitchell Frangadakis
...
1 reply by Valerie Denney
Jul 06, 2019 8:47 AM
Valerie Denney
...
Group think can be a downfall, no doubt. But, I like look at the positive of this. Although group think has a negative connotation, the concept of everyone working cohesively together for a solution can be a benefit. It is only when individual ideas are disallowed that this becomes an issue.
Valerie,

The balance is easier in some cases. Has an independant consultant my standard need be high. When a client ask for an evaluation of project progress and possible delivery date I ask to tell an unbiased view.

When within a company many shade of gray may exist. But at some point it is your ethic. I have been confronted with VPs requesting I change my evaluation. My answer, on what new basis?
...
1 reply by Valerie Denney
Jul 06, 2019 8:51 AM
Valerie Denney
...
I completely agree with you sir! Balance is the goal, but that doesn't always make it easy. I have found that training people to speak up and question (in a respectful way) helps minimize ethical conflict.

For me, when someone asks me to reconsider or change my evaluation, as you put it, I will relook at my conclusions... after all, no one is perfect and perhaps I made a mistake. But, I will use a disciplined methodical approach to arrive at an answer. If I was wrong... I will state it as such. But if my original conclusions stand, I will state that too.
Jul 06, 2019 6:14 AM
Replying to Mark Geres
...
To me, transparency requires candor.

Candor In The Project Management Workplace: Good News, Bad News

Are you being silenced and silencing others? A project manager's dilemma?speaking truth to power in your organisation.

Transparency and candor in the project management workplace are absolutely good and important. The tangible and intangible costs of lack of engagement and collaboration within an organization are substantial. Unfortunately, candor and honest feedback can be destructive when perceived as, weapons.
I agree that transparency and candor go hand in hand. But the appropriate use is important as well.
...
1 reply by Mark Geres
Jul 06, 2019 6:19 PM
Mark Geres
...
I agree with Jack Welch, Former CEO of General Electric. People—too often—instinctively don’t express themselves with frankness.

Mr. Welch wrote, "I have always been a huge proponent of candor. In fact, I talked it up to GE audiences for more than twenty years. But since retiring from GE, I have come to realize that I underestimated its rarity. In fact, I would call lack of candor the biggest dirty little secret in business.

What a huge problem it is. Lack of candor basically blocks smart ideas, fast action, and good people contributing all the stuff they’ve got. It’s a killer.

When you’ve got candor—and you’ll never completely get it, mind you—everything just operates faster and better.

Now, when I say “lack of candor” here, I’m not talking about malevolent dishonesty. I am talking about how too many people—too often—instinctively don’t express themselves with frankness.

They don’t communicate straightforwardly or put forth ideas looking to stimulate real debate. They just don’t open up. Instead they withhold comments or criticism.

They keep their mouths shut in order to make people feel better or to avoid conflict, and they sugarcoat bad news in order to maintain appearances. They keep things to themselves, hoarding information.

That’s all lack of candor, and it’s absolutely damaging.

And yet, lack of candor permeates almost every aspect of business."
Jul 06, 2019 6:20 AM
Replying to Mark Geres
...
Transparency and Ethics... How To Achieve the Balance?

I believe that group-think can cloud transparency in an organization.

Adapting to group-think is a sound survival skill, but allowing yourself to slavishly follow the prevailing norm is most often a form of intellectual and moral suicide.

"Every culture (workplace included), wittingly or not, pressures each of us to forswear independent, critical thinking, and in so doing, join the herd. Our job is to think our way through this pressure."— Mitchell Frangadakis
Group think can be a downfall, no doubt. But, I like look at the positive of this. Although group think has a negative connotation, the concept of everyone working cohesively together for a solution can be a benefit. It is only when individual ideas are disallowed that this becomes an issue.
...
1 reply by Mark Geres
Jul 06, 2019 6:09 PM
Mark Geres
...
You wrote, " It is only when individual ideas are disallowed that this becomes an issue."

I'm really happy that you raised this point, it resonated with me.. I realized that I mistakenly referred to group-think in my original reply. Sorry.

I keep forgetting that group-think is not the same as "Abilene Paradox". Abilene Paradox is, in my opinion, more befitting to what I was alluding to.

A term, "Abilene Paradox" was introduced by management expert Jerry B. Harvey in his 1974 article "The Abilene Paradox: The Management of Agreement"

In the Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group's and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire not to "rock the boat". This differs from group-think in that the Abilene paradox is characterized by an inability to manage agreement.
Jul 06, 2019 8:36 AM
Replying to Vincent Guerard
...
Valerie,

The balance is easier in some cases. Has an independant consultant my standard need be high. When a client ask for an evaluation of project progress and possible delivery date I ask to tell an unbiased view.

When within a company many shade of gray may exist. But at some point it is your ethic. I have been confronted with VPs requesting I change my evaluation. My answer, on what new basis?
I completely agree with you sir! Balance is the goal, but that doesn't always make it easy. I have found that training people to speak up and question (in a respectful way) helps minimize ethical conflict.

For me, when someone asks me to reconsider or change my evaluation, as you put it, I will relook at my conclusions... after all, no one is perfect and perhaps I made a mistake. But, I will use a disciplined methodical approach to arrive at an answer. If I was wrong... I will state it as such. But if my original conclusions stand, I will state that too.
Jul 06, 2019 8:47 AM
Replying to Valerie Denney
...
Group think can be a downfall, no doubt. But, I like look at the positive of this. Although group think has a negative connotation, the concept of everyone working cohesively together for a solution can be a benefit. It is only when individual ideas are disallowed that this becomes an issue.
You wrote, " It is only when individual ideas are disallowed that this becomes an issue."

I'm really happy that you raised this point, it resonated with me.. I realized that I mistakenly referred to group-think in my original reply. Sorry.

I keep forgetting that group-think is not the same as "Abilene Paradox". Abilene Paradox is, in my opinion, more befitting to what I was alluding to.

A term, "Abilene Paradox" was introduced by management expert Jerry B. Harvey in his 1974 article "The Abilene Paradox: The Management of Agreement"

In the Abilene paradox, a group of people collectively decide on a course of action that is counter to the preferences of many or all of the individuals in the group. It involves a common breakdown of group communication in which each member mistakenly believes that their own preferences are counter to the group's and, therefore, does not raise objections. A common phrase relating to the Abilene paradox is a desire not to "rock the boat". This differs from group-think in that the Abilene paradox is characterized by an inability to manage agreement.
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