Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Repost: Who Cares What You Think?

Being the ethics guru my Grandfather is, he has a very profound influence over the business practices I make. Below is an article he wrote for the New Year. Every three months I like to look at where I stand in the year according to goals. Below are his...
At the beginning of every year (perhaps to remind myself) I habitually write a piece  pointing out the reasoning that underlies what I write and why I write.

For those of you who have difficulty buying into Situational Ethics, to understand it as I see it, I suggest the Wikipedia page on that subject. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Situational_ethics
{From CommPRO.Biz 2013.01.02}

“Who cares what you think?”

The ‘How’ and ‘Why’ to Craft a Meaningful Opinion Piece – Understanding Both Sides

By: W.T. “Bill” McKibben, Senior Counsel, The Great Lakes Group

We like to kick off the New Year responding to the remark we have heard so often over the decades that we have been writing opinion pieces: “Who cares what you think?” Good question. Our response is always the same: “Hopefully, no one.”  However, we keep writing. The goal–to craft a meaningful opinion piece.  Here’s some background to help you get a sense of my ‘how-to’ steps for expressing my passion.

A friend owned the only newspaper and radio station in a small town. He ran editorials in the paper, and personally voiced them on his station. His newspaper would take one side of an issue and he would dispense the opposite on the radio; he wrote both. He believed a good opinion writer should be able to see both sides of an issue, or they shouldn’t be writing the opinion.

While we make every effort to look at both sides, we are not sure we can follow that ideal in every issue we address. We do not write to convince anyone to take up our position. We do the research; often we will have as many as fifty pages of research for a five-hundred-word op-ed. Ethics rarely has two acceptable sides. On the other hand, it isn’t always a simple matter of right and wrong either. Like it or not, Situational Ethics are called for at times; the situation can change the ethical call. There are times when one has to think about the impact of hard-line adherence to what seems the right thing at the moment. Or as our friend Saul Alinsky once defined truth, “You don’t have to cross the street to tell someone how ugly they are.”

So if we don’t write to change your mind, or help you make up your mind, and if we don’t expect people to care what we think, why do we write? We write because the ethical issues we raise seem important to us and we hope you will think about them. We want you to sort through the facts. We want you to search the internet, to read and find a position. If you toss a brick at your computer every time one of our op-eds turns up, that’s OK. At least you are thinking about the issues.

Beware those who disperse opinion for other reasons.

Beware the manipulators.

Happy New Year!
See you next week.

Be well.

W.T. "Bill" McKibben 
The Great Lakes Group
3455 Warner Dr ~ Buffalo NY 14072-1043
Mobile  716.998.9848  ~ WT@McKibben.com

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