Ethics and Character Explored

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The Sydney School of Protocol recently hosted a Sydney Study Tour, “Becoming a Global Corporate Citizen”, for students from the Faculty of the Professions, at the University of Adelaide, during which the concept of “character and ethics” was explored as the fundamental pillars for success in the workplace.

The question of building personal and professional success through an understanding of manners, ethics, protocol and etiquette was central to learning how to effectively cope and succeed in a dynamic business environment.

Today’s students considered a number of case studies where being unethical was very bad for a business, such as Volkswagen and 7-Eleven discovered. The concept of knowing “what is appropriate when” created thought provoking discussions on establishing one’s moral compass as a basis for making the most appropriate judgements in a diverse business environment.

Building on this strong foundation was the essence of the experiential program and resonated with the under-graduate students. Opportunities to visit leading professional businesses and associations in Sydney throughout the experience, also gave further room for the students to become attuned to the value businesses place on interpersonal skills, linked to the business values and vision.

With a performance climate moving towards incentives for senior executives, linked to not only customer satisfaction and shareholder returns but also on “people and community”, students gained a greater awareness of the role diversity and inclusion, sustainability and culture play within organisations.

The “Becoming a Global Corporate Citizen” program supports students to keep ahead of the curve, increasing each individual’s understanding of the role ethics; etiquette and protocol play in corporate cultures.

We have pleasure in sharing excerpts from the student’s blogs posted each day. 

“Imagine walking through a grand set of doors that open to an aroma so sophisticated, it only belongs to this hotel. Immediately upon arrival, we were greeted with a warm ‘Bonjour’ which we later learnt on the first day that this is a distinctive feature of the Sofitel brand, setting the mood for the program ahead.

The morning began with a buffet breakfast to fuel us for the day aheadwhich included artisan smoothies, eggs of your choice and exotic fruits. We were then warmly welcomed by the Founder and Director of the Sydney School of Protocol, Julie Lamberg-Burnet, Business Development Manager, Marlous Teh, Simone Pappalettera, Learning and Organisation and Development Practitioner and Stephanie Maddren, Mentoring Coach. The program successfully kicked off with icebreakers as well activities to reflect on the personality and self audit tests we looked at before the tour. Following this Julie discussed with us the four pillars of success; manners, protocol, ethics and etiquette as well as the 3 C’s to guide us in developing a unique personal brand; consistency, credibility and confidence. It was interesting to discover the different ways our group perceived personal values as well as understanding a new concept introduced by Simone called the “Stairway to Hell’ in relation to our discussions about ethical dilemmas in the workplace. We concluded this discussion with a new appreciation of playing to our strengths as well as understanding of our own personal brand”

“We kicked off the day by recalling what we had learnt the previous day, as this laid the foundation on what we were going to learn. Simone then led a discussion on the communication techniques and tools which we could utilise to be able to present our personal brand to others while retaining our authenticity. Through the analysis of famous public speakers such as Barack Obama and Steve Jobs, we were able to analyse the key aspects of positive communication techniques. Then, it was up to us to practise what we have learnt and try to bring out our own uniqueness. Following that, we extended our learning to the infamous ‘Elevator Pitch’, where we had to introduce ourselves in unexpected and uncommon circumstances. While at times it was amusing to watch as an audience, we were able to hone our skills and prepare ourselves for such situations by practicing it ourselves. After a lovely lunch provided by the Sofitel Hotel, Marlous rounded off our session with a discussion on digital communication etiquette which included how to use social media in business settings and differences in international culture for business dealings.

 “One would think that being a professional is mostly about how we make presentations or negotiate, however it is so much more than that. Today’s activities were about learning continental dining etiquette. In an increasingly casual approach to business, dining is one of the ways to connect and expand our networks and as such we must follow the correct protocol. During the session, we learnt our duties as a guest, host and even guest of honour. We were also taught basics such us napkin etiquette, setting the table and correct cutlery use.”

“By refining our dining etiquette, we open up the opportunity for ourselves to impress potential employers or clients we might find ourselves acquainted with during these occasions. As future business leaders we want to make sure we use the right tools to make the world our “oyster”.

“After participating in many activities over the previous days, we were all beginning to gain a true insight into the busy lifestyle of the corporate world. The day began with breakfast at 7:30am, all making sure we were ready for another eventful day ahead. We started the morning off with a group discussion on the Tall Poppy Syndrome, We felt right at home being located in the Adelaide Executive Board Room, experiencing a real sense of a corporate meeting. The Tall Poppy Syndrome is when someone is being ostracised by their peers due to their achievements and acting in an egocentric manner. We discussed the reasons as to why this social phenomenon exists within the Australian culture and how we, as individuals in the workforce can be mindful of others to be equal among our peers”

“The bittersweet morning of graduation from the Sydney School of Protocol had arrived. Our day started bright and early at 8am with a visit from our Business Expert panel. Overall, the panel’s message was an inspirational reminder that we can do all that we set out to achieve if you follow your gut and heart”.


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