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The Trusted Strategic Advisor’s Manifesto

Ten Areas for Serious Personal and Professional Consideration and Reflection

                                                                    

First, Change Your Mindset and Your Entire Philosophy of Work

1. All problems are management and organizational problems before they are any other kind of problem.

a. Start where managers and leaders are rather than where you are.

b. Look at the world from their perspective first.

c. Study leaders and leadership of all kinds (your staff expertise matters very little).

d. All managers and leaders think they are excellent communicators (and better than you or me).

e. If all you have is your primary staff function, it will be a long time between calls from the boss.

2. All management problems are leadership challenges.

a. Your job is to help reduce contention and get to consensus and decisions, maybe even agreement.

b. Stay focused on the problem rather than distractions like what the media might do.

c. When there are ethical problems, help leaders meet the ethical expectations of those they lead.

  • Find the truth as soon as possible: Tell that truth and act on it promptly.
  • Promptly raise the tough questions and answer them thoughtfully: This includes asking and answering questions yet to be asked or thought of by those who will be affected by whatever the circumstance is.
  • Teach by parable: Emphasizing wrong-way/right-way options.
  • Vocalize core business values and ideals constantly: Most core values are a set of ideas thought up on a management golf outing, brought in on the back of a clubhouse napkin, then printed and posted without another word being spoken. The values and ideals of a business are what employees and others bring to work every day.
  • Walk the talk: Be accessible; help people understand the organization within the context of its values and ideals at every opportunity.
  • Help, expect and enforce ethical leadership: People are watching; people are counting; people know when there are lapses in ethics causing trust to be broken. When bad things happen in good organizations, it’s those occasional lapses that deepen the troubles.
  • Preserve, protect, defend and foster ethical pathways to the top of the organization: Constantly identify, explain, explore and warn about situations where ethical processes can be compromised on the way, especially among executives who are on upward career trajectories.
  • Be a cheerleader, model and teacher of ethical behavior: Ethical behavior builds and maintains trust. In fact, to have trust in an organization requires that its leaders act ethically constantly.
  • Make values equal to profits: Most people seem to enjoy working more when they are with organizations they respect, people they trust and leadership they can rely on. Wherever you find an organization or company that puts values on the same level as profits, there is often even more loyalty and support because companies who do this sacrifice profits for principle. Everybody notices.
  • Walk the talk: Be accessible; help people understand the organization within the context of its values and ideals at every opportunity.

Author’s Note: Parts 3-10 will appear in future blogs posts and newsletters. If you’d like to see the remainder of this document sooner, as well as the materials connected with its presentation at the 2017 PRSA Corporate Communications Section Conference: Strategic Collaboration, held in Chicago on November 9th please click HERE.

By James E. Lukaszewski, APR, Fellow PRSA, served on the PRSA Board of Ethics and Professional Standards (BEPS) for 22 years. In 2016, he was the first BEPS member to be given Member Emeritus status by the PRSA Board of Directors. Among other activities, he was co-chair of the PRSA BEPS Code of Ethics redrafting effort led by Bob Frause, APR, Fellow PRSA. The PRSA Assembly unanimously approved the revised code in the fall of 2000.

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