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Thread: Best ethics training you've experienced?

  1. #1
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Best ethics training you've experienced?

    OK, so I just spoke at an ethics session last week at a state APA conference. This state usually offers two ethics sessions per conference, with one being "real world stories" targeting staff, and the other being a bit drier and also attempting to include elected/appointed offcials. I've done this a couple of times, but have stuck with the "real world stories" session. This time around, I was in the much drier session. We did kind of the usual thing going through the rules, guidelines, aspirational principles, etc. with a healthy dose of humor to keep folks engaged. However, we also had the session break into groups to evaluate scenarios.

    What I found is that 1) we should have done the scenarios at the beginning because we ran short on discussion time, and 2) that an incredible number of people got the ethical response to the scenarios WRONG.

    I'm looking for advice at this point, because I found this a bit distressing as a presenter. What are some examples of ethics training that you think actually works? Can you share any suggested contacts (by PM)?

    I'm thinking it might be good to restructure the ethics training to not try to hit every single rule, but instead focus on a few of them each session and go into greater detail.

    Interesting fact: I believe there are only about six real ethics investigations nationally each year. To me, that indicates there may be some group-think type stuff going on.

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

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    My training

    In my supplemental training getting my CES (Certified Estate and Trust Specialist, which is the equivalent of the BCE) from IBF (http://icfs.com/certified_estate_trust_specialist), there was an entire course dedicated to ethics. I believe all of their designations have a section for this, as do most institutes, I presume.

    My personal take on this topic is that is should be a required part of the curriculum (if it not required already). Too many financial planners move through the industry without having any education on the subject, and having been in the industry for as long as I have, I have realized that having a course explaining the reasons for an ethical code of standards uplifts the entire industry. Placing your clients' interests above your own is the only way to be a credible representative in the financial world.

    Best of luck!

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    "I believe there are only about six real ethics investigations nationally each year. To me, that indicates there may be some group-think type stuff going on."

    I served as an APA Chapter Professional Development Officer (PDO) and in that capacity, served as the unofficial state AICP ethics adviser, among other responsibilities.

    1. Formal ethics advise, which is submitted through the Ethics Officer of AICP itself, is a very serious issue, and as PDO I tried to steer planners away from that process on two different occasions.
    2. "Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners" by Carol D. Barrett, FAICP is an outstanding read. It is recommended AICP exam material but also provides plenty of complex ethics scenarios that goes beyond the exam. The book provides 50 ethics scenarios with multiple-choice answers and explanations. The most complex/confusing ethics scenario in the book involved a locally undesirable land use (LULU) and using ones moral judgement to make a decision. It was extremely confusing and parts of the reasoning went against the code of ethics.

    I think there is way too much emphasis on conflicts of interest in AICP ethics courses, which is pretty cut and dry.
    "This is great, honey. What's the crunchy stuff?"
    "M&Ms. I ran out of paprika."

    Family Guy

  4. #4
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by nrschmid View post
    2. "Everyday Ethics for Practicing Planners" by Carol D. Barrett, FAICP is an outstanding read. It is recommended AICP exam material but also provides plenty of complex ethics scenarios that goes beyond the exam. The book provides 50 ethics scenarios with multiple-choice answers and explanations. The most complex/confusing ethics scenario in the book involved a locally undesirable land use (LULU) and using ones moral judgement to make a decision. It was extremely confusing and parts of the reasoning went against the code of ethics.
    I fully agree with you on the overemphasis on conflicts of interest and also the formal advice process--I try to encourage planners to consult their mentors/counterparts in other cities for advice, particularly since Farmer is a bit removed from the real world and doesn't always offer the most practical perspective.

    Full disclosure: I worked for Carol Barrett for about two years. You can imagine what that was probably like--an excellent experience in how to create an ethical environment in staff meetings & commission meetings. She's been talking about updating her book since the Code of Ethics was revised, but has not gotten around to it.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  5. #5
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    My best ethics training was two days of deposition in a federal civil rights case. Can I do that over again?

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