The current Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry, has got me thinking: What responsibility does change management have in either ‘whistle blowing’ or at least questioning decisions, actions and behaviours that we are privy to as professionals in our daily work - whether on programs of work or ‘business as usual’ activities? As a Director of Changeworks Consulting, and as a consultant working in the Financial Services industry, I know I inherently have a responsibility. But the key question is – what’s my role?
It’s interesting to read Stephanie Collins article from the ABC News “An organisation is a moral agent — it's a creature that can heed moral imperatives, even if it often chooses not to. And this means we should hold it accountable.” She then adds “When an organisation has a duty, that duty doesn't just sit at the organisation level. The organisation's duty has implications for members. After all, organisations can't act unless members act. So, an organisation's duties — unlike its blame — percolate throughout the organisation.”
Stephanie is right. Working for an organisation whether as a consultant or staff member, we all have a responsibility not to leave our morals and integrity at the door when we walk into work. We need to critically think, question and raise concerns where ethical dilemmas arise – but as we all know, it’s not always that easy to be heard, or to gain traction in addressing the issue or risk, unless it directly relates to the outcome of the initiative. And even then, we need a forum to be heard.
As a Change Manager, we are not legally bound by a ‘code of ethics’ such as an Accountant, Lawyer, Doctor etc, so what is our responsibility? Interestingly, the ACMP Change Management Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct, states the following as Ethical Standards we should abide by:
- Duty of Honesty - in communications, truth, sincerity, candour, conduct and behaviour
- Duty of Responsibility - taking full ownership for the decisions we make or fail to make, the actions we take or fail to take, and the consequences that result responding to expectations
- Duty of Fairness representing ourselves in matters with consistency by evincing a commitment to impartiality, objectivity, openness, due process, and proportionality
- Duty of Respect - show a high regard for ourselves, demonstrate compassion and sensitivity towards others, consideration for the safety of others, and financial and other resources entrusted to us.
- Duty of Advancing the Discipline & Supporting Practitioners - creating a community of professionals who share an ethos of consistently striving to deliver best practice and added value for their clients or employers
As Change Management professionals, we have a role in aligning to a moral compass and ensuring we address - where we can - the root cause such as policy, procedure and governance, and to ensure organisational members accept and fulfil their duty, not just the people at that top. We can influence and coach Leaders, Senior Management, Team Leaders and staff, by reminding them of their individual responsibilities and duties to uphold the values of the organisation.
So, the next time you are addressing a Steering Committee, Project Control Group, Business Working Group etc – have a good think about your individual responsibilities as a Change Management professional. If you would like to explore this further please contact us at www.changeworksconsulting.com