An Executive Director's point of view
March 20, 2013: Not-for-profit whistleblowers
February 16, 2013: Wrong, illegal, and stupid
He and his wife Sandi Jackson, a Chicago Ward Committeeman, contractor to the Congressman's political campaign, and recently resigned Alderman, pled guilty and agreed to a plea agreement to charges of conspiring to spend political campaign funds on personal items and filing false income tax returns to conceal the expenses.
During his twelve-year tenure, Rep. Jackson provided reformers with a powerful counterbalance to the Machine hacks who had predominated in the district prior to his election. His political organization buried a number of unsavory, dishonest politicians.
Now those deadbeat pols have been given a second life. And they're worse than Jackson.
Lesson for associations? Unethical behavior isn't just unethical or illegal. It's also stupid.
Always do what's best for your organization, not what you think is best for you. Otherwise, you may not be able to do what's best for anybody.
December 25, 2012: The high road
Always do what's best for your organization, not what's best for you.
Don't use your position for personal gain. And don't do anything that gives the impression you are using your position for personal gain.
Don't accept gifts from vendors, don't shake down sponsors for perks, don't book meetings with properties in exchange for bonus points, don't sexually harass employees (or anybody else), don't moonlight by selling services that compete with your association, don't require employees to perform personal tasks for you.
No amount of good work can make up for the commission of unethical or illegal acts.
December 07, 2012: Ethics - by any other name
Often, the people who need ethics education the most, refuse to participate in any activity that even hints of the issue. They don't want to be lectured to, told how to behave, or instructed to do things in a manner they believe will yield less desirable results than they would have gotten without any advice.
So instead, you can offer instruction in: procedures that work, how to better connect with audiences, legal compliance, effective policies, or anything that addresses ethics, but uses different words to explain it.
It may sometimes be best, unfortunately, to avoid using the e-word.
April 04, 2012: More intentionally misleading headlines
What the headline and the story lead didn't say was that the band will be performing in Australia on the date requested. It was not a rejection of the President or his family. It was a schedule conflict.
So, was that another cheap, online attention grabber, or was it a deliberate attempt to create a negative impression of the President?
Either way, it stinks.
Note to associations: Don't manipulate your audiences. Report accurately. Stick to the facts. If you have to trick people into following you, you probably aren't worth following.
February 01, 2012: Choose!
A. Tell them to stop.
B. Report them to law enforcement authorities.
C. Say nothing. You want to keep your job.
D. Help them, since it's your job to help your members become more successful.
November 21, 2011: Cult of personality
Charismatic leaders should use their charm and their power to benefit the association, not themselves.
So, make sure everybody knows that YOU are not the association - that it consists of a lot of other people - many of whom have a role in decision-making. Let other leaders step forward when appropriate and don't hog the stage yourself.
Make sure that new leaders will be able to inherit the good will that you acquired for the association during your tenure.
November 10, 2011: Cover up
Check out Elizabeth Weaver Engel's frank comments about the most recent public scandals.
November 08, 2011: Culture, not crisis management
The victims should not be made to feel guilty nor forced to remain silent.
The issue in such a situation is culture, not crisis management. If you have the right culture in the first place, you won't need to manage a crisis later.
May 30, 2011: Customer service paradox
But the members are not customer-focused. In fact, they frequently engage in unethical business practices to achieve success.
Should you be commended for serving your members (customers) or be blamed for making it possible for them to commit ethical transgressions?