Ethical Advocacy does not have to be an oxymoron !

Having been a health sector advocate for many causes since 1981 when I was appointed Executive Director of The Pharmacy Guild of Australia, I have developed a set of principles which I now call Ethical Advocacy.

These are based on the precepts below which I believe are not only possible but essential for the maintenance of your professional standing and reputation.

Ethical advocacy also benefits your organisation's reputation and image with other stakeholders.

Developing and presenting your case:

  • Base your arguments on facts and figures which can be substantiated;
  • Consult widely;
  • Examine an issue from all perspectives (including those of your opponents);
  • Consider all options - even the most unpalatable ones;
  • Develop a strategy and stick with it;
  • Provide a solution, don't just point out a problem;
  • Seek a win/win outcome;
  • Recognise the difference between argument and negotiation;
  • Avoid ambit claims;
  • Act transparently;
  • Document your actions, leave footprints to show where you've been; and
  • Base proposals on sound public policy.

Dealing with the other side

  • Respect the "enemy";
  • Focus on the issue, not the person;
  • Leave your opponent with some pride intact;
  • Stick to your principles;
  • Don't lie;
  • Understand the rules and play within them;
  • Don't gloat over successful outcomes;
  • Cooperation is nearly always better than confrontation;
  • Look for opportunities rather than threats; and
  • Encourage mutual respect.