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Secure your business-critical projects integrating fairness

Everybody talks about Ethics and says very loudly, mainly through Ethics charter, that they really contribute to build Ethical behaviours during their personal and professional activities. But when the question is asked to define what Ethics could be, answers remain confusing. So I was not really surprised that most of the behaviours that could be observed on the field were not really compatible with some common words from people defining Ethics such as “collective wellness”, transparency, Honesty, Equity, Balanced relations, Integrity, Respect, Confidence, Good faith, responsibility, Commitment, and so on…

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When I recover a project, the first step is designed to identify the dysfunctions and their origins (activity named diagnostic or audit). Main problems detected are the same and are coming from a lack of quality in the relationship, characterised by unfair and unbalanced communication and behaviours between stakeholders and different entities, prevailing power dynamics. Recurring facts show that satisfaction of individual interests are, too often, the (only) motivation of people when they take a decision or choose to behave a specific way. As a matter of fact, individual motivation could be reduced to get more power, money, recognition, security or whatever, at the expense of the others, creating coherent behaviours to fulfill these motivations.

At the opposite of what is practiced in the real life whereas learned in courses, challenges on a project would then be to ensure that all decisions include the satisfaction of individual interests for all stakeholders; these interests themselves integrated into the overall and subsequent project objectives. It is not enough to focus on project management processes. If this is not done, resistances are increasing as iniquity is increasing. Resistances then are so strong that project could definitively fail.

This would also be an explanation why the percentage of failed project does not decrease, despite a permanent stronger mastering of project management and increasing number of certified people.

Another way to behave exists in order to act with a higher degree of maturity of Ethics. At first we should understand what definition could be hidden behind Ethics. If a referential could be associate to ethic, it would be then possible to determine what could be a higher Ethical behaviour as well as what would be a lower one. We should focus then on understanding what could lead to a lower Ethical behaviour and how such attitude takes place. It would be possible to detect the signs that could involve us into such situation and avoid it, as well to face lower ethical context if we are unfortunately already involved in such environment.

Suggesting a unique referential target of Ethics seems to be very valuable and would definitively rule out some people acting only on their own interests, arguing that every act, decision or behaviour is acceptable because it is only a different point of view. These people then argue a legitimate justification for all abusing, illegal, personal acts that could be prejudicial to others. If a different degree of maturity for Ethics behaviour could be defined, difference of point of view would not then be a legitimate justification any more, as each could be placed with a specific degree of maturity on this scale.

This article suggests to define this degree of maturity through a scale that will classify a behaviour between a lower and a maximum degree of maturity, with the specificity that the maximum will never be reached. Never mind ! the most important is to know in which direction decision and behaviour should go.

This document will lead us to accept that it is not possible anymore to behave without taking care about the others, including individual or collective systems. Perhaps some other values could drive decisions and behaviours in order to develop and improve ourselves, rather than only satisfying our personal benefits extracting resources from our environment, without feeding this environment with their needs.

This article proceeds from a systemic approach and the way to understand how living systems work individually and together as a whole living system. The subsequent characteristics define rules in order to promote specific and common objectives for all.

Suggestions, including in this document, are elaborated from a long experience to recover international and strategic projects. These are also coming from an analyse to understand why such difficulties occurred in projects, from an audit perspective, and how theses recoveries were possible, whereas other people developed a real expertise to explain why the project could not go to success (and why the stopping point would be a success), according to their own interests.

Understanding systemic approach is the first step of this not ending benefit analyse and subsequent tools. This will definitively give a new dimension to master the key of every professional and personal activity: the quality of relationship between individual and collective systems.

So, it is quite easy to deduce from this what should to be done in Project Management to bring a higher degree of maturity of behaviours and decisions, as well as what would be the new competences to develop in every domain for everyone. Definitively, impacts of this analyse on projects are really significant, as I have experienced. Project’s success will be at the end of the line. Of course, lower Ethical people, whatever their position or authority, should review their own attitudes in the right direction to promote greater benefits for themselves and others.

But isn’t it a responsibility for everyone to bring their decision and behaviours to a higher degree of maturity?

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Alexis Sgard

PMP, IPMA-B, ITIL, Prince 2,

Process Com trainer, Coach certified

CISA passed


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