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Doing the Right Thing When Nobody is Looking


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With the challenges that meeting professionals are facing today, we must keep up to date with ethics regulations and industry standards. While the economy is still struggling, planners are trying to …

With the challenges that meeting professionals are facing today, we must keep up to date with ethics regulations and industry standards. While the economy is still struggling, planners are trying to get "a lot for a little." This session examines professional ethics, codes of conduct, conflicts of interest, and the impact of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act , etc.

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  • 1. Doing the Right Thing When No One is Looking2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 1
  • 2. “Doing the right thing when no one is looking” Decency Integrity Honor Belief Moral Code2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 2
  • 3. Ethics That branch of philosophy dealing with• Values relating to human conduct• Rightness and wrongness of certain actions• Goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 3
  • 4. Ethical Codes . . . just in case . . .• To assist in making decisions determining the difference between right and wrong„• To apply this understanding to decisions2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 4
  • 5. Morals vs. Ethics Morals Define personal character Things you learned at home about right and wrong ~ good and bad2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 5
  • 6. Morals vs. Ethics EthicsStress a social system in which those morals are applied • Company Ethics • Family Ethics • Professional Ethics • Social Ethics2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 6
  • 7. Conflict Between Morals and Ethics• Legal Ethics • Abortion• Medical Ethics • Euthanasia • Stem Cell Research• Workplace Ethics • Conflicts of interest• Social Ethics • Boomers vs “Y”2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 7
  • 8. Employee Code of Conduct Effectiveness Dependent On• Management Support• Sanctions• Rewards2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 8
  • 9. Conflict of Interest Using professional position for personal gain Conflict of interest in the Federal government is a violation of criminal statute2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 9
  • 10. How to Avoid Conflicts of Interest Recusal or disqualification Remain impartial in performance of official duties Obtain waiver by authorized official when conflict of interest is not substantial2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 10
  • 11. Vendor/Supplier Relationships Based on good relationships and previous business, a venue or supplier recognizes the value of your business Don‟t abuse or jeopardize this relationship!2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 11
  • 12. Current Economic Situation• Planners trying to “get a lot for a little”• Suppliers offer incentives• Where is the line and who‟s drawing it?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 12
  • 13. Let‟s Examine Some Scenarios What would you do if no one was looking?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 13
  • 14. Scenario 1 Based on a good working relationship with a local hotel You ask your sales person for the hotel to donate a ham and potato salad for your office Christmas party2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 14
  • 15. Scenario 1Planner – Is this taking advantage of a professional relationship? ? Conflict of Interest?Supplier – Have you ever been in a situation like this? How would you handle this request?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 15
  • 16. Scenario 2 Planner• Negotiating with 3 venues for a training conference• Venues 1 and 2 are comparable in rates, amenities, and other areas important to the organization and conference• Venue 3 does not have the dates available2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 16
  • 17. Scenario 2 Venue #1• Low season for venue• Bidding on lucrative piece of business• Represents repeat business with client• Understands they are seriously competing with two other venues• Offers planner a persuasive incentive • A personal weekend at a nearby boutique hotel2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 17
  • 18. Scenario 2 If Planner Selects Venue # 1 Who will know? No one is looking. . . .2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 18
  • 19. Scenario 3Based on business relationships with a local hotel chain, you ask your hotel contact to secure a comp hotel room for you in another city . . .The hotel salesperson suspects this is a personal trip and not a site visit2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 19
  • 20. Scenario 3 PlannerDoes this present a conflict of interest? SupplierHow do you handle this request?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 20
  • 21. Scenario 4 One of your vendors sells T-shirts. You have purchased these shirts and other clothing items for official purposes. Is it appropriate to ask this vendor for personalized t-shirts at no charge for your son‟s baseball team?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 21
  • 22. Scenario 4• Is this a conflict of interest?• How can this be handled appropriately?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 22
  • 23. How Clean Are Your SOX? Sarbanes Oxley Bill ~ 2002• Enacted after failure of Enron and Worldcom• To protect employees and public from effects of fraudulent accounting principles• To eliminate Auditor Conflicts of Interest2/28/2012 • Auditor = Consultant = Conflict of Interest Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 23
  • 24. Effect of SOX Act on Hotel Negotiations• Meeting Room Rental• Food and Beverage• Other contract line items2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 24
  • 25. Washington Post TestAre your eventand yourprofessionalbehavior up thescrutiny of themedia? Do youwant your eventand actionspublicized on thefront page of amajor newspaper? 252/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC
  • 26. Perceptions• Perceptions are reality• If you are perceived as guilty . . .• . . . You will be condemned as guilty2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 26
  • 27. Muffingate• How did this happen?• How could this have been avoided?• What is the outcome for the hospitality industry? More Regulations?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 27
  • 28. Wandering Off the Beaten Path• Hotel Rewards• FAM Trips• Gifts• Other Incentives2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 28
  • 29. Scenario 5 As a planner you are familiar with and comply with your company‟s Ethics Policies and Code of Contact Your supervisor asks you to “negotiate” inappropriate upgrades, hotel awards, motivational trips, etc. for her/him2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 29
  • 30. ??? What are you going to do? Whom do you consult? Are you jeopardizing your job? Is this a conflict of interest?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 30
  • 31. Scenario 6 A supplier asks the planner . . . “It would be great if I could get the papers approved and signed before the end of the month . . . If you can make that happen, I‟ll make sure you personally receive 50,000 hotel points.”2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 31
  • 32. Who Benefits?• Are you going to give your organization the 50,000 planner points?• Will the supplier personally benefit if you sign the papers by a certain date?• Are there other things to consider?2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 32
  • 33. Scenario 7 Planner to Supplier . . .“Do you think if I select the GriswoldHotel to host this event, I could havethat Weekend at Bernie‟s that youmentioned earlier? I‟m about to make adecision between your beautiful hotel andThe Giddyup Get-Away.2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 33
  • 34. What‟s Wrong with This Scenario?• Giving proprietary information• Revealing competition• Asking for compensation• Making a decision that‟s good for the planner instead of good for the organization2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 34
  • 35. Getting Back on Track• Be familiar with your organization‟s ethics policy and code of conduct• Disclose offers of gifts and incentives• Don‟t be afraid to decline an offer of gifts or trips• Educate your suppliers to avoid embarrassing situations• Keep business/business2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 35
  • 36. Recap• It is a conflict of interest to use your professional job for personal gain• Do not put yourself or your vendors in this situation• Do not risk your job or reputation or the reputation of your company2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 36
  • 37. Recap• Always negotiate fairly with the best interest of the company and meeting in mind• Always make selections based on the best value for the company/meeting NOT „what‟s in this for me?‟• Be the planner that suppliers welcome back to their properties2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 37
  • 38. MPI Principles of Professionalism• Maintain Professional Integrity• Utilize Professional Business Practices• Respect Diversity2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 38
  • 39. Conclusion No one is looking . . . No one will ever know . . . Just this one time . . . Respect yourself and appropriate behavior will follow.2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 39
  • 40. Do the Right Thing2/28/2012 Destinations Showcase ~ Wash DC 40