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PARENTS CORNER • Last updated September 29, 2017

Ethics

There is no such thing as business ethics- there’s only ethics. If you desire to be ethical, you live it by one standard across the board.”

John C Maxwell

“Ethics is about how we meet the challenge of doing the right think when that will cost more than we want to pay”

Michael Josephson- The Josephson Institute of Ethics

“Men are alike in their promises. It is only in their deeds that they differ.”

Moliere

“Living an ethical life may not always be easy, but it need not be complicated.”

John C Maxwell

“Ethics has a price and sometimes people must choose between what they want and what they want to be.”

Michael Josephson

“Integrity can be described as making your beliefs and your actions line up.”

John C Maxwell

These quotes led off a workshop I recently attended. While I believe I live ethically, I was open to new ideas and learning more. I was both impressed and challenged by the presenter, Anita Bock (anitabock@earthlink.net, 415-461-4298, Anita Bock consulting). The following are some of the thought provoking concepts and ideas presented that I believe are worthy of further reflection, by us all.

The morning began with a ‘review’ of alternative resolution techniques and ideas. Primary in this methodology is to change the way we view conflict. Conflict is an opportunity to open dialog, work with others through empathy rather than something to avoid. It accepts people as they are and where they are. It allows for each party to state their needs and self interests and to look for ways to problem solve the dispute fairly.

Each conflict has an ‘issue’ which comprises about 10% of the situation. The other 90% is made up of personalities, emotions, personal interests, self perception, needs, desires, and unresolved issues from the past. It is therefore imperative to fully resolve each dispute and then forgive! Key paths towards resolution are to listen to the needs and emotions at the heart of the conflict. Display respect for all parties, and request clarity to ambiguity. Use empathy and honesty to acknowledge the emotions intertwined in the conflict. Address solutions to the problem creatively, dialoging over the interests, and accepting paradoxes. Establish a means on how to disagree, following the golden rule of confidentiality and do no harm.

Anita then lead into discussing the newly adopted Code of Ethics (included in its entirety). She expressed the fact that we each choose each day, at each situation how ethical to behave. It is our choice and our responsibility. She presented the concept of ‘dialing up’ our ethics each morning. Similar to the radio dial, if we want more ethics we can choose to turn up the dial. This was an easy, visual concept, I believe many of us will have for many years to come.

She further discussed the concept of ‘situational ethics”. These are common rationalizations that lead to a ‘double standard’; including self interest, self protection, self deception and self righteousness. Some examples include:

  • I did it for you- out of love/ friendship- common for ‘white lies”
  • I’m fighting fire with fire- I must do what other’s do to win
  • It doesn’t hurt anyone- meaning you can’t see the harm at this exact second.
  • No one will know
  • Favoritism- the subtle ways friendship influences judgement and decision
  • I’ve/ You’ve got it coming- earned it, deserve it, etc.
  • It’s for a good cause in the ‘end’.

Five Primary Threats to Ethical Conduct:

  • Pressure
  • Pleasure
  • Power
  • Pride
  • Priorities

The Josephson Institute of Ethics identifies five steps to making an ethical decision

  1. Clarify- Identify the issues - Eliminate illegal, impractical, improper alternatives, avoid rationalizations
  2. Evaluate- Distinguish fact from belief, check credibility of sources, eliminate bias and self interest, evaluate the pros and cons.
  3. Decide- make a decision by applying ethics rules (Golden Rule, etc)
  4. Implement- Develop a plan for implementation to maximize benefits and minimize costs and risks
  5. Monitor and modify- Monitor the effects of decision and e willing and prepared to revise your plan/ decision, or to take a different course based on the new information.

TRI-COUNTIES REGIONAL CENTER CODE OF ETHICS

Tri-Counties Regional Center pledges to set the standard for professional conduct by acting ethically and with integrity in all matters. We know that acting ethically builds credibility, both within our organization and throughout the community within which we operate. The Board of Directors and all employees are committed to making TCRC an organization that delivers the highest possible value for the people we serve and our community. We will accomplish this with integrity by:

  • Saying what we mean and meaning and doing what we say in a manner consistent with the values below
  • Applying this standard to make a positive difference in the lives of the people we serve, and thereby in the lives of their families, our staff and our community partners
  • Living by the values in our Code Of Ethics:

1. Values

TCRC aims to be a leader in setting the standard for ethical conduct by fully subscribing to the established codes of ethics for the relevant professions in our field, and by adhering to and applying the following core ethical values:

Trustworthiness
We will be truthful, honest and forthright in all our dealings with one another and with the people we serve, their families, and our community partners. We will be sincere and candid and have integrity in all our dealings. We will be reliable and avoid unclear and unwise commitments and bad faith excuses

Respect
We will treat one another with dignity and fairness, appreciating our diversity and the uniqueness of the people we serve, our employees, and our community partners. We will be civil, courteous, and decent, and we will exercise authority in a responsible way. We will tolerate differences of opinion and belief. We will honor the time of others as much as our own, and we will acknowledge the inherent worth and dignity of all people.

Responsibility
We will be accountable, and we will support people in having the highest quality of life possible by promoting choice, freedom and independence with consideration for their health and safety. We will be committed to organizational excellence by providing and exhibiting leadership in our field, by ensuring that we act with diligence in all we do, by seeking ways to improve our work, by modeling collaboration and teamwork, and by producing and delivering consumer-driven services with expected outcomes in a timely manner at a fair cost. We will be current in our professional knowledge and thorough in our work. We will honor our commitments, and show self-restraint when necessary.

Fairness
We will respect and protect individual rights, and treat all people equally. We will follow all laws and regulations. We will have an open, impartial and prompt dispute resolution process. We will be fair and impartial in our dealings with the people we serve, our employees, and our community partners. We will report concerns, including violations of laws, regulations, ethical values and organizational policies, and we will seek clarification and guidance when in doubt.

Caring
We will show care, compassion and empathy towards the people we serve and their families, and have a genuine concern about the welfare of our co-workers and community partners. We will show gratitude, appreciation and support for each other. We will admit our mistakes and resolve to avoid similar mistakes in the future. We will return gestures of reconciliation

Civic Responsibility
We will work in partnership with our partners in service to our community. We will make family and community paramount, and we will act with pride and confidence in our community as representatives of TCRC

Further, we will:

2. Uphold the Law

By conducting our business dealings in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations, recognizing that compliance with the law does not comprise our entire ethical responsibility, rather, it is a minimum, absolutely essential condition for the performance of our duties.

3. Promote a Positive Work Environment

By doing our best, with the help of all our staff, to create a workplace where employees feel respected, satisfied and appreciated. Harassment or discrimination of any kind and especially involving race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, size, age, national origin, disability, political affiliation, and veteran or marital status is unacceptable in our workplace environment. Providing an environment that supports the values articulated above makes the achievement of excellence possible. While everyone who works for TCRC will contribute to the creation and maintenance of such an environment, our executives, managers and our Board assume responsibility for fostering a context for work that will bring out the best in all of us.

4. Promote a Safe Work Environment

By being committed to providing a drug-free, safe and healthy working environment. Each of us is responsible for compliance with environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and for reporting violations of such laws and regulations.

5. Avoid Conflicts of Interest

By avoiding in practice or appearance favoritism, influence, or activity that might impair or appear to impair our ability to make fair and objective decisions and judgments while performing our work. By disclosing personal or professional relationships that may present a conflict of interest.

6. Maintain Confidentiality

By maintaining accurate and complete records, by making entries into case and other records that reflect the desires and preferences of the people we serve or are in partnership with. By avoiding in practice or appearance any misrepresentation of facts or any falsification of records, and by understanding that to compromise confidentiality is illegal, that to misrepresent, withhold or falsify information is unethical and may be illegal, and that to hide behind confidentiality to avoid accountability is also unethical.

7. Address Conduct
Inconsistent with Our Code of Ethics

By remaining constant in promoting the values, principles and intent of the Code and by actively involving the TCRC Ethics Council whenever a lack of clarity or conflict with the Code is perceived.

We will apply our Code of Ethics to the people we serve and to their families, to our co-workers and employees, to our community partners, to our governing authorities and our funding agencies, and to the community-at-large.

July 9, 2004

For more information on the subject of Ethics
The Josephson Institute of Ethics, Making Ethical Decisions (e-mail: pub@jiethics.org)
John C. Maxwell. 2003. There’s no such thing as “Business” ethics
CARF. Designing Ethical Practices for Quality Services. www.carf.org
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Last modified: September 29, 2017