Thursday, July 06, 2006

Personal Reflections on Module 6

Ok, so it took a few minutes to find the last chapter which was actually from Peter Block's "Flawless Consulting" book. The article, nevertheless, give one some final thoughts about consulting and especially about ethics. Block starts off talking about how unsettling the subject of ethics may be to some. But in today's world, ethics seem to be on the forefront of lots of peoples minds. I worked with a couple of folks not too long ago to set up an organization to promote business ethics. Though it is a subject of frequent discussion, when we started asking about the need for ethics training for business folks, we got a bit of a cold shoulder. I like to think it was because most firms already feel that their employees are ethical. But on the other hand, I got the distinct impression, that many just did not see a need to pay good money to teach their staff how to play nice in this market economy. Either way, we did not get enough business to sustain our efforts. And in fact, it has caused me to notice how many professions now are required by law to provide a set number of ethics hours per year in training. What happened to the "Golden Rule"? Why do we have to legislate people to be ethical?Block's approach is to put it on the back of the consultant. You have to continously be asking yourself, if you are actually delivering the product you promised. There is that realization that the consultants work is tied directly to the clients output, and that the consultant has little control over that output, but I think the best route to go to be an ethical consultant is still to be honest to oneself, and to deliver what you said you would deliver. We always have the option to give the money back and say that we can't do something....don't we?

The other article "Marketing and Representing Your Small Business" offers a handful of tips on ways to improve your visibility and reputation through simple marketing. It's a nice article and I find that I am already doing many of the suggestions that the article suggests. These are low budget suggestions and really ought to be standard fare for anyone in business for themselves.

And lastly, the final project. I think that for me, the jury is still out on what I learned from this exercise. To some extent, I feel that it was a very strained effort. I know that I did not feel that I had sufficient information to make a proposal, and perhaps there are real situations where it is just like that. But I would have loved to have more time and more access to the views of others regarding the usability of the website before I suggested anything in print. On the other hand, maybe the project was to get me in a documentational mode. Perhaps, the writing of the project was the end goal. Either way, I felt ill at ease, in making a proposal that was somewhat out of my area of expertise and without sufficient information to dig further and learn more.

All in all, I have enjoyed the class. As always, Blackboard is a clunky, slow and inefficient content management system, and I truly wish the University would consider an enhanced format, but the materials were good, the book was quite good (well beyond my early expectaions) and the classroom interaction was terrific (in fact, it was a bit difficult to keep up with all the posts. It was over all a good effort and I would recommend it to other students.

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