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Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Five Minutes Podcast . Today I like to talk about the very serious topic and very relevant conflict of interest and how these affect the delivery of your project, the success of your project in your organization.
I know that in the first moment when I talk about conflict of interests, everyone thinks immediately about a criminal act because this is, I would say, the most evident form of Conflict of Interest, but it's not necessarily only a criminal fact that will characterize a conflict of interest.
First, let's define what a conflict of interest is. A Conflict of Interest is when someone makes a decision that is not based on the project interest or the organizational interest but it's based on his or her own best interest.
Let me give you two examples. One is a very obvious one in a criminal one; someone receives a bribe to select a lower quality supplier. So you are making a decision that will reinforce your personal interest in receiving the bribe to the detriment of the project budget, the organizational budget, and the quality of the product because you didn't select the best product, but to select, I would say a sub-optimal product, just because you are receiving a bribe. So this is very clear and very easy and probably a hundred percent of, you know that.
But let me give you a second example, that is not, I would say, so direct and so clear. It's when you make a decision of, for example, changing the part of a team in your projects or a group in your project, or maybe a sequence of the deliverable in your projects that is not in the benefit of the project, you are not aiming to benefit the project, but it's because it's good for you because, for example, you don't like, or you don't have a good relationship with someone on that group. So which in your best interest to create any kind of a challenge to that group, or even if you'll have to pay a price of, I would say, creating a challenge in your project, because it's in your personal best interest to, I would say, create the damage or create the reputational damage to that person or to that group.
So did you see, this is not as obvious as bribery, a challenge, and I know that you will ask me, okay, Ricardo, but how do I know that I am in a potential conflict of interest?
So I want to give you a guideline that I use all the time. And it's based on The Harvard Program on Negotiation that I liked very much is a set of five principles that I want to share with you now.
Principle number one is Reciprocity. Now I want you to think about someone in your team, maybe at your position or at your level, doing exactly the same. Would you feel comfortable? You're not if you know that he or she will do exactly the same thing will do these disturbed you or not?
The second one is Publicity. Imagine that during this decision-making process, or during your message exchange or doing your phone calls, or during your meeting, someone is recording, and it will be posted on YouTube tomorrow. Would you feel comfortable with that? If people see, okay, he or she made that decision on that point, because of that, would you be comfortable if this becomes public? If yes, then there is no conflict, but if you struggle with making this completely public, it's a, I would say, maybe a yellow or maybe even a red light.
Principle number three is Trust that friend. Would you be comfortable sharing this with a trusted friend, with your partner, your significant order, your children? We, do you feel happy about that or not?
Principle number four is Universality. If You are coaching someone or mentoring someone, would you advise them to do exactly the same? Would you advise them truly to do that and to decide based on the same terms you have just decided?
And principle number Five, which for me is really important, is legacy. How do you want to be seen 10 years around the world? Would you be happy to remember that or not so happy? So it's very important that you feel That this is one of the key aspects, and one of the things that I liked most on the PMBOK 7th Edition, talking about project management, specifically on the stewardship. It's exactly that it's how I can be managing a project or being part of the team of a project, loyal to the organization, loyal to the society, my organization belongs and not loyal just to myself.
And my final comment, remember, it's not because it's not a crime that is ethical. Okay? There Are many unethical things that are not necessarily illegal; they're just immoral.
So I hope you enjoy this podcast. Be serious about conflict of interest, and to see you next week with another five minutes podcast.