One day in second grade, I was at school waiting in line when a third grader walked past wearing a Cub Scout uniform. What caught my attention was a pocketknife dandling from a brass clip on his belt. Wow! What seven-year-old boy wouldn’t want a pocketknife? So I joined Cub Scouts as soon as I was able. I vividly recall shopping with my mother for a uniform; she bought me a blue shirt, blue slacks, a blue cap, a yellow neckerchief with a neckerchief slide, and most importantly a belt with that brass clip. However, even though I explained that a pocketknife was essential, I left the store as the saddest scout ever.
What followed was ten years of scouting. I eventually got a pocketknife but I stayed in scouting because it was fun. Along the way I learned a lot of skills (knot tying, how to build a fire, etc.) but more importantly the scout oath and law helped me develop my personal core values. Core values define a person’s or organization’s identity and help with their decision-making process; these values are the essence of who I am and how I act. My moral compass has guided me well and it is a key reason I am where I am today. Development of my core values began during my youth but has been honed through my thirty plus years as an ASQ member.
ASQ helps quality professionals advance their knowledge and careers through publications, conferences, education courses, and certifications. It is a professional society composed of members located throughout the world who are bound together through ASQ’s Code of Ethics: its core values. The purpose of the Code of Ethics is to establish global standards of conduct and behavior for its members, certification holders, and anyone else who may represent or be perceived to represent ASQ. ASQ requires its representatives to be honest and transparent; avoid conflicts of interest and plagiarism; do not harm others; treat them with respect, dignity, and fairness; be professional and socially responsible; and advance the role and perception of the quality professional.
Whether a company is in a regulated industry or not, they and their employees will undoubtedly face ethical dilemmas.
Expectations of a quality professional are as follows:
ASQ takes its Code of Ethics seriously. Many of ASQ’s certifications include ethics within their body of knowledge. Violations to the Code of Ethics should be reported to the ASQ Professional Ethics and Qualifications Committee; disciplinary action, including revocation of certifications and expulsion from the society, may result.
Whether a company is in a regulated industry or not, they and their employees will undoubtedly face ethical dilemmas. Therefore, it is advisable that there be a code of conduct to provide guidelines when making decisions. A code of conduct defines desired behaviors and thus will help mitigate risk, better ensure compliance and set personal conduct.
Scouting developed my core values and now ASQ and my employer’s code of ethics guide me through my professional career. Hopefully you have been as fortunate as I.