Moral courage, event planning, and an American TV show

Have you seen the new TV show Madam Secretary?

Each of the three episodes I’ve seen deals with a different ethical and moral issue Madam Secretary faces. To add fuel to fire, her husband is an ethics professor at George Washington University! Her grace and thought processes are amazing to watch – and how it involves, at times, not only the state department, also her own family.

Moral courage, event planning, and an American TV showWhat would you do? Often, moral courage is a decision based on personal safety. If you could prove the director of meetings was skimming, would you tell the boss? What if you were the last person hired and you really needed this job because you were a single mother with two young children to feed, clothe and keep a roof over their heads? Would you still tell? Yes, there are laws around this, and… What would you do?

I’ve taught ethics within the events industry at the college level. I use a book called Moral Courage.

The book talks about moral courage “at the intersection of three elements: action based on core values, awareness of the risks, and a willingness to endure necessary hardship.”

I have the students do an exercise that is outlined in the book. Each group lists what they think are core moral/ethical values. We then take all lists and compare. Almost always there is a thread that runs through all students. The author of the book also conducted world-wide research to determine if all countries have similar values/morals. The research was done in the 1990’s, so it’s fairly current. The top values that go across countries are:

  1. Love
  2. Truthfulness
  3. Fairness
  4. Freedom
  5. Unity
  6. Tolerance
  7. Responsibility
  8. Respect for life

In my research for this article, I ran across this article. It is moral courage in a nutshell. Read it, think about it, put it into practice in your business and personal dealings.

Ethics in the event planning business is so much more than taking a FAM trip that you shouldn’t or accepting a massage after you sign the contract. It is about your own moral compass and the what if’s.

If you were that young single mother, what would you do? (Comment below and let us know!)

In these trying times, I’d like to quote Vaclav Havel who is quoted in chapter three of Moral Courage, titled The Courage to be Moral.

“If humanity is to survive and avoid new catastrophes, then the global political order has to be accomplished by a sincere and mutual respect among the various spheres of civilization, culture, nations or continents, and by honest efforts on their part to seek and find the values or basic moral imperatives they have in common.”

About the author:

Sandy Biback, CMP CMM, has over 30 years’ experience in the meetings/conferences/events world. She is an active member in PCMA, SITE, CanSPEP and FEO. Along with her own company ( Sandy is a teacher at Toronto’s Centennial College where she teaches several courses in a post-graduate certificate program, Festivals, Events & Conference Management (FECM). Sandy believes in starting small when creating sustainable events and moving towards fully sustainable events and always leaving a legacy of helping behind. She can be reached at 416-694-7121 or [email protected]

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