Whether you're writing a personal ethics statement or creating the ethics statement for a large organization, one must be extremely critical with the words that they use. The reality is that when you establish a set of values, whether it is done intentionally or by allowing a reputation to develop, then you (either as an individual or as an organization) will then be held to that standard.
Maintaining a set of ethical standards is of critical importance to anyone who intends to become a successful public relations professional. By setting a standard for the behaviors and actions of its employees or members, an organization can more effectively and efficiently regulate itself. By declaring its values, the company or the organization can then strive to meet those values much more purposefully. I have decided to share my own personal ethics and values statement below, and below I will elaborate on why I believe that these ethics reflect who I am, both as a person and as a professional.
While they are each extremely overly wordy, and sound like they were written by someone trying to create a knock-off imitation of Ben Franklin's famous virtues, I think that these values describe me as a professional well.
One personal trait I am most proud of is my restraint; it is far too easy to contribute too much to a discussion, and drown out the opinions, the beliefs and the ideas of others. Additionally, this plays to another philosophy I've always tried to follow: this entails not always contributing to discussions, as being known as the person who always has something to say As a person who will be working in the communications field, restraint is important.
The next virtue is moderation, which is quite simple to explain; In as many contexts as possible, I do my best to maintain my objectivity when thinking through things. To that end, I've learned that it is helpful to not over-commit to any one given idea, or to over-react to any given stimuli. For instance, it is important to never be afraid to change a plan half way, and it is similarly important to never stress or panic for having to do so.
Efficiency, Pride and Humility are all largely self-explanatory, in that they have the same meaning in this context as they would in any other; Work hard, work fast, recognize when you're good at something but always remember that someone out there is better. These are important to remember in competitive fields like public communications, but I believe that awareness is the next most important trait for a PR professional to have. Part of this involves being pragmatic, in recognizing when some issues may not necessarily be issues (See: Barbra Streisand) and acting accordingly. A public relations professional in any field should always go to as many lengths as possible to ensure that they are acting on complete and accurate information, such that they can work truthfully and effectively.
What is the point of this long post, you may ask? The answer is simple; ethics are difficult to put into words. And once they are actually printed, they become even more difficult to follow, as people will interpret these ethical standards differently, and determine whether they are being followed by themselves. This is the case with the individual's code of ethics, and the larger organization. Regardless of who you are, or the work that you may be doing, going about that work ethically will invariably make your brand more trusted and more positively-considered by the public.
This blog was originally created for coursework while at the Newhouse School. But this blog quickly became something more, as it gave me a platform, however small, on which to share my thoughts. So feel free to read through these posts, and if you like what you read, please share. Enjoy.