Integrity in projects: standards of conduct with the media

Your personal behaviour  can affect the entire organization/company to which you provide your project management services. This can be even more critical if you deal with the media.

Check and follow your industry / Organisation’s Standards of Professional Conduct whenever in doubt and consult your colleagues in charge of the media.

The media may play a critical role in the field you implement the project in. If you are authorized to communicate with the media, be careful not to convey an inappropriate message, as it may put you/your colleagues in a difficult situation:

  • Speak only within your own area of competence and responsibility. Make it clear that you are project manager, not a decision-maker.
  • Provide facts, not opinions or comments.
  • Leave sensitive issues to officials who are specifically authorized to speak on them.
  • Decline politely by referring media to the authorised person, if you are not authorised to talk to the media.
  • Monitor the coverage to prompt necessary reaction to the way the facts of a project are depicted in the media.

Also, in multi-cultural environments or when traveling for work, stay attuned to the cultural factors in the environment the project is implemented. For example:

  • Can my religious beliefs – or lack of them – cause hostility? Can I talk openly about religion? Can I wear symbols of my religious faith? I remember these questions before my first trip to Kyrgyzstan.
  • Could there be friction because of the way the country sees the different roles of men and women?
  • Am I dressed appropriately for the location and social setting?
  • Beware of jokes that may seem inappropriate.
  • In some cultures, it is OK to disagree openly. In others, disagreements are discussed privately.
  • Beware of taking pictures inappropriately and without consent.

These considerations extend to social media, and even to your private life.

  • Do not include any organisation/company logos, emblems or other symbols in your profile, as some people might be misled into thinking you are speaking on behalf of the Organization/Company.
  • Avoid discussions involving sensitive political, religious and social issues.
  • Have your press-release first published on the company/organisation’s website on any official project events, then repost. You can post a selfie post-event, if you absolutely  must.

 

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