It’s unlikely to come up, but if it should, here’s the line I draw regarding ethics and any conflict of interest for my consulting practice, Back West, Inc., as well as the writing I do for this blog. Note that apart from the items below, I also subscribe to the Code of Ethics for the International Coach Federation, which can be found here.
- No disclosure of facts that are not publicly known in one fashion or another.
- I participate in the Amazon Associates program; if you buy a book from a link off the Life Back West website I receive a small commission from the sale. You pay the same price.
- No insider information reported or that would not be known to any job candidate at any firm I mention.
- All my work with clients is bound by a mutual non-disclosure agreement: nothing particularly interesting from the Back West side but from time to time client companies and individual clients are involved in activities whose disclosure would be harmful to them.
- I do not receive any fees or commissions when I refer someone to another firm or person for paid services. I think this practice happens, and I suspect it’s seldom disclosed. I don’t engage in it because I think it’s inherently conflicted. I generally don’t accept gifts from other vendors or consultants as thanks for referrals: again, I think it’s inherently conflicted.
- While I know a number of people in a large number of companies, I don’t mention tips that may be conveyed to me.
- Conflict of interest is defined as both an actual conflict (e.g. I have a material interest in something) or the appearance of conflict. Recent client rosters are kept current at the Back West, Inc. website for disclosure purposes.
- I will mention if I own individual stocks (as opposed to 401K type sector investments which are managed by a fund manager) in any companies that I write about.
That’s it: the issue is unlikely to come up but should it, the standards above are those to which I adhere. I think it’s a good practice for consultants to be clear and transparent about their standards and encourage you to ask me or other consultants with whom you deal to describe their values with regards to ethics and conflicts of interest.