From the Brain: Most of us consider ourselves honest. We have never been arrested. We tell the truth. That makes us ethical, correct? Actually, you can be a law-abiding, honest person and exercise bad judgment. It isn’t always clear what is and isn’t appropriate, so here’s a prescription for 20/20 ethical vision.
Many of us participate in loyalty programs. Who doesn’t get a thrill when they achieve the next status level? Or love finding a plate of treats in your their room as a thank you for being an elite member?
There’s nothing wrong with being rewarded for the nights you spend away from home and accepting a complimentary amenity that comes with the status you’ve achieved. What is unethical is using your position to ensure you receive points.
Emails offering double reward points — if a program is executed within a particular time frame — are prolific. How tempting it is to suggest a hotel that offers perks over one that does not? If the perk benefits the group,it’s acceptable. When the planner receives the points directly, and lets that influence what property is chosen or recommended, it’s a problem.
If the property is selected on merit alone, without the promotion being a factor (and your company allows it), it’s not unethical to take points. But the line can be fuzzy even when a property is chosen only on merit and not because of a promotion. If you’re unsure, ask someone else or avoid the temptation altogether.
Also wrong: Accepting trips to properties you have no intention of using, or embellishing information that qualifies you for trips.
If you conduct yourself with unimpeachable scruples but a colleague does not and you do nothing to stop that behavior, are you being ethical? In my opinion, yes. You need not confront the person; you can let a supervisor know. If the behavior continues, it becomes incumbent on you to tell someone else. Rule of thumb: Do what is hard and you will do what is right.
From the Beauty: You know that I love to put my signature and a color spin on just about everything, but when it comes to ethics, it’s purely black and white. It’s when you enter the gray area that concerns arise.
One of my job perks is working with other creative minds to design perfect environments for events. Let me paint you a picture. Close your eyes and think about a beautifully decorated event space, let’s say for a gala dinner. Think about all the details that make it come together: stunning florals in beautiful containers, impressive charger plates, custom linens, napkin rings, place-card holders, pillar candles.
These items often come up missing at the end of an event. Who would miss eight charger plates and napkins from an order of 250 pieces, right? The client signed the damage waiver, so it’s all covered, yes? What if the container for the large buffet arrangement (the one you envisioned in your home when you guided the client toward that option) goes missing? Pillar candles get thrown away, so who would notice that, correct? If you act on thoughts like these, you are behaving unethically.
If they haven’t entered your mind, they’ve likely entered a co-worker’s mind. I’ve heard it said that if ethics are poor at the top, the behavior is copied throughout the organization. Make sure you hold all parties accountable for the items you provide. Hand off a count of each item to the banquet captain and hold a short meeting before the doors open to discuss how you want to re-inventory items. Ask that breakage be kept for your examination.
The grayest area is the vendor selection process. The florist or caterer who drops off an arrangement or a basket of baked goods as a gift for each occasion and holiday may be at the top of your mind, but are they the best fit for your client? It takes many of us years to build a spotless reputation, so think about how grabbing just one of these tempting “apples” could destroy yours.
When in doubt ask yourself the most important question: Is it worth it?
Next: MBEC 32.04 — Work with colleagues