Project Management Central

Please login or join to subscribe to this thread

Topics: Communications Management, Ethics, Organizational Culture
The truth and nothing but the truth...
Network:679



A quote about bravery states “Many people believe being brave means being fearless. But the truth is, being brave means being scared of something but doing it anyway”. Is Ethics for brave people only? If you have a bad message to deliver, an unsuccessful result to convey, would you as a Project Manager tell the truth loud and clear? Or will you fear the consequences (including getting fired) and resort to “window dressing”?
Note: "window dressing" refers to manipulate the message to show a more favorable situation.
Sort By:
Page: 1 2 3 4 next>
Network:457



I totally agree - in my opinion ethics comes first: even if you might get fired just saying the truth about project scores, risks or results at the end you should be in peace with yourself by doing the right thing in a brave way.
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 7:31 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
Thank you for your comment, Joao, I agree with telling the truth. Being the first who is expressing the bad things, you can also influence the first impression about it (without "window dressing"), not to mention the fact that you come also with the possible solutions to solve the situation. And it will allow you to be in peace with yourself as well.
Network:16568



Hi Simona,

There is such a thing as a “healthy fear,” and that is bidirectionally true in difficult messaging situations, wherein [A] you fear the consequences of telling the truth (as you stated), and [B] you fear the consequence of redacting the truth, as it always promises unforeseen circumstances; in likewise manner, we should fear “window dressing” as it clothes us in compromise and promises the same.

At the same time (as stated in the Code of Ethics), being truthful in our communications requires us to take appropriate steps to ensure that the information we are providing is accurate and reliable. Although suggestive, this guidance (in my opinion) asks us to be “mindful” of our delivery; otherwise the message (although truthful) may suffer some degree of information loss.

Bottom Line: Adopting principles (e.g., the Code of Ethics) coupled with having a healthy fear of consequences, will provide one a path when faced with ethical dilemma situations.
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 7:39 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
Thank you, George, I like very much the concept of the "healthy fear" and "mindful delivery". And I fully agree that both the message and the way of delivery are equally important for a project manager. We tend to focus (sometimes) very much on our technical competences but the soft skills are those who can guide us through many of the project management grey areas.
Network:2054



Thank you Simona for posting this very pertinent question. In one of my earlier organization, the term 'bad news first' was very popular which means that earlier we share the bad news, better it is to digest and mitigate risks associated. And I have seen benefits for this like client increased trust, long term profits. But this happened with the support of leadership. So in my opinion, Ethics is for the brave people who not only know what will happen but also ready to face it because they know that they are right.
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 9:46 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
Thank you, Alankar, a great perspective: choosing the hard right (with long term benefits) over the easy wrong.
Network:1961



Dear Simona
Very interesting your question
Thank you for formulating it
- "What you say" is key (message content)
- "How to say" (paralanguage) is as important (there are researchers who say it is more important) as "what you say"
On the other hand the sender is responsible for the communication.
That is, the message receiver must be taken into account.
Today we live in a global world, it is very important to take into account the cultural reality of the recipient
Finally, over time I learned that there are no truths, there are only perspectives, ie points of view.
Having said these considerations, it is essential that we express our point of view clearly and that we are open to hearing and understanding other points of view (perspectives).

If the project has not achieved its objectives (as long as they are clearly and previously defined) it should be stated clearly, and as project manager:
1. Take responsibility
2. Analyze the reasons why the projects did not achieve the objectives
3. Contribute to the organization's knowledge by creating and sharing a document with lessons learned.
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 9:28 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
Dear Luis, thank you for your reply. Interesting that you have brought up the cultural perspective. I also think that this is extremely relevant not only for the way the message is formulated but also for the way the message is conveyed. As always, when ethics involved, things can be more complicated than we could think at first sight.
Network:1196



If I have a really bad news, as a Project Manager I would say the truth but I would also immediatly come with some solutions to the problem.
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 9:33 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
Thank you for your answer, Tarik, indeed this is what is expected from a good PM: if you have issues, communicate clearly, and propose measures to solve those issues.
Network:435



The problem with not being transparent is that the truth is eventually going to come out specially if things are not going as they should on a project. I think it is critical to tell the stakeholders what the issue is and get everyone on board to to tackle the issue.
Network:679



Oct 27, 2019 7:00 PM
Replying to Joao Marcelo da Silva Huguenin
...
I totally agree - in my opinion ethics comes first: even if you might get fired just saying the truth about project scores, risks or results at the end you should be in peace with yourself by doing the right thing in a brave way.
Thank you for your comment, Joao, I agree with telling the truth. Being the first who is expressing the bad things, you can also influence the first impression about it (without "window dressing"), not to mention the fact that you come also with the possible solutions to solve the situation. And it will allow you to be in peace with yourself as well.
Network:679



Oct 27, 2019 10:51 PM
Replying to George Freeman
...
Hi Simona,

There is such a thing as a “healthy fear,” and that is bidirectionally true in difficult messaging situations, wherein [A] you fear the consequences of telling the truth (as you stated), and [B] you fear the consequence of redacting the truth, as it always promises unforeseen circumstances; in likewise manner, we should fear “window dressing” as it clothes us in compromise and promises the same.

At the same time (as stated in the Code of Ethics), being truthful in our communications requires us to take appropriate steps to ensure that the information we are providing is accurate and reliable. Although suggestive, this guidance (in my opinion) asks us to be “mindful” of our delivery; otherwise the message (although truthful) may suffer some degree of information loss.

Bottom Line: Adopting principles (e.g., the Code of Ethics) coupled with having a healthy fear of consequences, will provide one a path when faced with ethical dilemma situations.
Thank you, George, I like very much the concept of the "healthy fear" and "mindful delivery". And I fully agree that both the message and the way of delivery are equally important for a project manager. We tend to focus (sometimes) very much on our technical competences but the soft skills are those who can guide us through many of the project management grey areas.
Network:1665



Simona -

This goes back to the prevailing culture of the organization, department & team. If there is an appropriate level of psychological safety within the system where the message needs to be delivered and if radical candor is appreciated then the level of fear/risk is low.

Otherwise, it comes back to which is more important to the individual: being true to a set of values (including the Code of Ethics) or playing it safe. Over my career, I have had no concerns with speaking truth to power even if it means talking myself out of a job as I'd rather be able to look at myself in the mirror!

Kiron
...
1 reply by Simona Bonghez
Oct 28, 2019 9:39 AM
Simona Bonghez
...
That's so true, Kiron. For some of us, being able to look at ourselves in the mirror is more important than playing safe. On the other hand I can understand that this is easier when you have a certain level of experience and confidence.
Network:679



Oct 28, 2019 4:11 AM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Simona
Very interesting your question
Thank you for formulating it
- "What you say" is key (message content)
- "How to say" (paralanguage) is as important (there are researchers who say it is more important) as "what you say"
On the other hand the sender is responsible for the communication.
That is, the message receiver must be taken into account.
Today we live in a global world, it is very important to take into account the cultural reality of the recipient
Finally, over time I learned that there are no truths, there are only perspectives, ie points of view.
Having said these considerations, it is essential that we express our point of view clearly and that we are open to hearing and understanding other points of view (perspectives).

If the project has not achieved its objectives (as long as they are clearly and previously defined) it should be stated clearly, and as project manager:
1. Take responsibility
2. Analyze the reasons why the projects did not achieve the objectives
3. Contribute to the organization's knowledge by creating and sharing a document with lessons learned.
Dear Luis, thank you for your reply. Interesting that you have brought up the cultural perspective. I also think that this is extremely relevant not only for the way the message is formulated but also for the way the message is conveyed. As always, when ethics involved, things can be more complicated than we could think at first sight.
Page: 1 2 3 4 next>  

Please login or join to reply

Content ID:
ADVERTISEMENTS

"Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard of no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

- William Shakespeare

ADVERTISEMENT

Sponsors