Ethics should be part of our everyday reality. Still, purposefully considering them once a year is a wonderful opportunity to ‘check in’ with our internal guideposts and acknowledge the way ethics steer our decisions and actions.
If you think about it, good character is the first trait you look for in others, especially those you do business with. John C. Maxwell, an author, speaker and pastor who has written many books focusing on leadership – notes that if a person’s character is flawed, their leadership will be as well.
Maxwell notes that integrity – the dedication to meeting deadlines, fulfilling promises, meeting obligations and taking responsibility for success and failure – is the mark of a true professional. All other characteristics, while critical, won’t mean much if an individual is unreliable.
PR pros need an annual refresher course in PRSA’s Code of Ethics. We apply these principles every day, yet ongoing reflection about the importance of ethics benefits ourselves and our profession.
That said, ethical individuals will exhibit these values:
People who don’t stop working toward their goals despite discouragement and setbacks possess a good attitude and will find a way to succeed even when things get tough. Maxwell says “people with positive attitudes do things others can’t, see things others won’t, and go places others don’t.”
Getting things done on deadline and exceeding expectations depends on the individual’s ability to focus on what really matters. “Self-disciplined people don’t allow the urgency or distractions of the moment to command their attention,” Maxwell writes.
The best PR pros possess the ability to understand others. They communicate effectively while taking the time and effort to listen well. Their awareness and appreciation of others’ skills makes them great team players and effective leaders.
Thoughtful, critical assessment is the hallmark of a seasoned professional who will pass up clients and new business if she suspects hazy standards or underhanded values. The best PR pros communicate directly yet tactfully and make expectations clear.
Curiosity and Creativity
Clients look for professionals who have clear vision. They want people who are willing to be different, to take risks, who are willing to change and grow. They want us to push others to do the same. They crave the company of other professionals who strive to break new ground, ask probing questions and always wonder “what if…”
It’s always a good idea to do the right thing in life and in business. PR pros with a reputation for integrity will be rewarded with long-term clients, repeat business and referrals.