I HOPE IT WAS JUST A bad week. In the course of a recent week, I learned that an event designer had posted photos of events from Special Events Magazine on his Web site without attribution, suggesting they were his work.
Then, I was called for referrals to event producers for a major project. I gave some suggestions, only to learn later from one of the companies that instead of offering work, the caller had asked for a job using me as a reference.
Finally, you can read more on page 51 about the court case involving a group of event firms that has accused a competitor of setting up Web addresses strikingly like their own to draw unsuspecting customers to his site.
What are we doing to each other?
I asked members of our Advisory Board how they deal with instances of slippery ethics in our business and what they think can be done about the problem.
You have to believe that what goes around comes around. In this wired world, bad news travels fast. That includes the word about bad-news businesspeople.
You can't let it change who you are and how you work. Good work will be imitated. (Maybe imitated is too gentle a word. Results from our Future Vision luncheon on pages 35-37 show that only 4 percent of respondents have never had an idea stolen.) But you cannot let that stop you from continuing to hold high standards.
Our professional associations are addressing the problem. ISES clearly sets forth its Principles of Professional Conduct and Ethics. In the new Certified Event Rental Professional program from the American Rental Association, two of the six core values taught in the foundations course are honesty and integrity.
The slick stuff and the smooth operators function best in the dark. So let's turn on the lights.
Let's keep talking about ethics, both the lofty ideals and the practical applications. I'd like to hear what you think are the major ethical issues in our industry and how you have dealt with ethical dilemmas. Please contact me via e-mail at email@example.com. We will post the results on our Web site, www.special events.com.
It might do us all a world of good.