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Slideshow: Training Your Ethical Mind

By Mark W McClennan, APR, Sr VP at Schwartz MSL

Last month, PRSA National asked me to write about a recent Academy of Management study that found people are five times more likely to make ethical decisions if they have time to think about it. Unfortunately, as a PR professional, I do not think I have ever had a client tell me to “Take all the time you need.” Have you?

It sparked off this article on training your ethical mind, that highlighted practical ways that public relations professionals can incorporate ethics training into regular activities. The post was very well received – on PRSAY, the official blog of PRSA, the post was tweeted 52 times!

I was then invited to be the opening keynote speaker at the annual state PR conference in Alabama, organised by the Public Relations Council of Alabama. The conference attracted hundreds of PR professionals and had a good mix of technology, defense, non-profit, and corporate executives.

With the keynote, the challenge was in converting a short blog post into an hour-long keynote speech. Additionally, leading off a conference with a discussion on ethics would require a slightly different twist. So I expanded the topic to look at social media ethics, ten common types of ethical and PR failures and some simple words of wisdom.

View my keynote presentation for more on the subject:

In summary, it all boils down to four takeaways:
  • Ethics must be an integral part of all PR team meetings and PR planning
  • Open discussions best prepare us for making the right call, when the time comes
  • Ethics discussions must go beyond the communications group and be more inclusive
  • An ethical decision may not always guarantee success, but an unethical one leads to long term failure.


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