When are you a risk?

While professions tend to see ethics as an individual responsibility much of the writing on ethics, at least that not of a philosophical kind, concentrates on situations and the ordinary failures of human thinking. Very few if any of us are bad people. But we are all prone to do bad things, on occasion.

My good friend, Paul Gilbert, writes as only he can about in-house leadership. He posted this list over the weekend on what can lead to that occasion. Applicable well beyond law, I’d surmise, it’s worth a few minutes of time from us all.

“My advice to you today may sound harsh and seem to lack understanding of what you are trying to achieve, but it is heartfelt and shared with respect and appreciation.

  • If you work with less resource than you need, then you are a risk.
  • If you work when you are exhausted, intimidated or angry, then you are a risk.
  • If you are unsure if your client or employer understands the limits of what you can do within your professional duties, then you are a risk.
  • If you are not familiar with your own ethical rules and how they are currently interpreted, then you are a risk.
  • If you assume your colleagues are doing the right thing without knowing that they are, then you are a risk.
  • If you celebrate only victories, and do not celebrate doing the right thing, whether you win or lose, then you are a risk.
  • If the financial incentives you have accepted alter the way you behave, then you are a risk.
  • If your reputation is dependent on a result, then you are a risk.
  • If you do not know or care how your advice or recommendations are being used by your client or your employer, then you are a risk.”

His full reflection is here…

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