“How’m I Doing?”: Obtaining Feedback

The late New York mayor Ed Koch‘s trademark catch phrase was “”How’m I doing?” He would stand on street corners and ask random passers by.

Few of us feel Ed Koch’s compulsive need to obtain feedback, but most would benefit from learning more about how our audiences perceive us. A sample Evaluation Form in MS Word format is attached. It is based on one used by OGE trainers.

Illustrating Slides: Principles of Ethical Conduct

Illustrated Slide--Prin. Eth. Conduct-NASASure, you could include just talk about the Principles of Ethical Conduct, and show a text-only slide of them. Isn’t it more effective to include a picture of a printout of the Principles?

“But no one in the audience can read the tiny print on the picture?” Right. It doesn’t matter. You’ll quote (or probably even better, paraphrase them, as in this slide from NASA. The point of the picture is to add visual interest. It also subtly enhances the presenter’s credibility.  You are not just standing in front of the group making things up.”Seeing is believing,” right?

Here’s a copy of this slide  you can insert into your own slide show. Lots more on the importance of using graphics later.

Milo & Emily Video 1: Charitable Solicitation

YouTube has multiple versions of the ethics training video featuring cartoon characters Emily and Milo. This 3:20 clip, with its amusing flirtatious interaction between an ethically challenged employee and the object of his attentions, could enliven training sessions:

Ethics Training Video YouTube.

This excellent training aid originated at HUD. Greg Walters explained its creation in a presentation at the 2011 Office of Government Ethics Conference. The website of the business Greg used, Xtranormal.com, provides an error message as of this morning, so it may have gone under. Greg provided plenty of other resources in his presentation, so there are other paths for those who want to blaze creative ethics trails.

Quizlet: Online Tests and Other Instructional Aids

Quizlet is an online tool that lets teachers create various types of instructional aids and quizzes. Mobile versions are available.

One possible use: Before conducting a training session, create a very short test concerning the topic. As a way of stimulating interest in the training, e-mail it to the students in advance. You might ask them to print out results and tell them that everyone who scores above a certain level will get some type of reward.

Get people thinking about the topic before the training, and send the message it will not be the same old same old.

We are just beginning to explore this intriguing resource and will be exploring its applications in the future.

Website Address Changes

We are changing the website address from EthicsTrainingResources.org to EthicsTrainingForum.org and moving to a different server. The new name better reflects our goal of serving as a collaboration point, with information flowing both ways, rather than only from us to you. The new server should be more secure, and over the long-range it will make it easier for us to expand our services.

You may notice a few loose ends over the next few weeks. We won’t be making upgrades to EthicsTrainingResources.org operational for a while, and then we will route all traffic toEthicsTrainingForum.org. We will appreciate your patience during the transition.

Using Pop Culture References to Enliven Training

A Lawyerist article reports on judges who are using Star Trek references to make their decisions more accessible:

Justice Don Willett of the Supreme Court of Texas once observed: “A lot of legal writing, including judicial writing, is clunky and soul-crushingly dull. In my view, legal humor is not an oxymoron. The law, in fact, sometimes can be fun.”

Ethics training can also be fun. Further, fun training can be better training. We’ll be elaborating on this theme in future posts.

DHS Whistleblower: “I Will Sleep Better at Night”

The November 2 Washington Post story about abuse of overtime at the Department of Homeland Security estimated the loss at tens of millions of dollars a year. It contains a great quote that could be used in ethics training on Principle of Ethical Conduct 11, 5 C.F.R. 2635.101(b), “Employees shall disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities”:

“It was such misuse that I felt I had a legal obligation to report. I will sleep better at night,” said Ducos Bello, a 24-year veteran of government employment. “It’s like a father who has a son who commits a crime and has to report it for the health of their child’s future.”

Thanks to Ombud Forum for drawing this to our attention. Ombud Forum is a new site supporting whistleblower ombudsmen appointed under the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012.

Mandatory Ethics Training?

Is mandatory ethics training a good idea? Is this just another way bureaucrats waste time? Well, not really. The recent story that Reuters has begun requiring all its reporters to take ethics training caught our eye, but this is only one of many private companies to require ethics training.

In fact, there is a whole cottage industry of private companies that specialize in providing ethics training. As one, Inspired eLearning explains:

Enron is perhaps the most highly publicized case of corporate malfeasance in recent memory. The actions of Enron executives collapsed a company, sent individuals to jail and saddled them with hefty fines, cost shareholders an estimated $43 billion in losses and led to catastrophic losses for Enron employees, many of whom had their entire retirement savings tied up in company stock.

In the wake of Enron’s spectacular collapse, a copy of the Enron code of ethics was one of the hotter items offered for sale on eBay. “Never been opened,” quipped a seller and former Enron employee whose unopened policy proved that having a code of conduct is not enough.

If your company has a written code of conduct, you’ve taken a critical first step toward preventing ethics and compliance lapses. But printing copies of your code and posting them or passing them out to employees is not enough. To be effective, a code of conduct must be part of a larger effort to promote company-wide compliance with the code.

Amen. It’s absolutely not enough to have ethics rules. More is needed, whether in the public or private sector.

OGE’s YouTube Channel

OGE’s YouTube Channel is one of their more aggressive and significant initiatives in recent years. Many streaming videos are available, including some chestnuts like “The Battle for Avery Mann” that will be familiar to old timers and some valuable newer products.

The 2010 Training Awards video is one of the smartest additions. It’s not the most dynamic imaginable, but it doesn’t need to be. There is tremendous value in highlighting innovative approaches. Including the name and phone number of a contact at each prize-winning agency makes it easier for the good ideas to spread. It’s also great to give the best performers a pat on the back and provide a goal to other ambitious ethics trainers. Good job!

via ▶ 2010 Training Awards Video.avi – YouTube.