Challenging Ourselves to Be Better

Over this past month, headlines from around the globe have begged each of us to assess our own definition of civility and expectations of how we treat the world around us and how it treats us in return. On a macro level, one easily defines right from wrong and recognizes when injustices occur. On a micro (or intimate, personal) level, it’s human nature to use our reason and discernment to comport ourselves situationally and to set boundaries for those we allow in our space. From politicians to corporate leaders, personal behaviors are sometimes not congruent with broader learned values, resulting in unkind, insensitive, or offensive actions. Recently, mean-spirited rhetoric and brash tenor have given me reason to pause—and ask you to do the same.

Today, I ask us all to take a few moments of introspection on how and when we apply our values. As a diverse organization with global reach, ASNT always endeavors to conduct business and interactions with members, stakeholders, the nondestructive testing (NDT) community, and public in a culturally competent and respectful manner. There is the highest expectation placed on every International Service Center staff member to reflect the immense privilege to work on behalf of the NDT industry to further the ASNT mission and support the champions of NDT—YOU! In that same vein, each member holds an equally important responsibility to act professionally, ethically, and respectfully, as outlined in the ASNT Member Code of Ethics. The Code of Ethics is shaped, in spirit and word, to the highest ideals of personal and professional decorum and integrity for each affirming member. The value of ASNT membership is more than advancing the industry; it is also elevating the expectation that a technical society promotes fellowship, inclusion, and social responsibility.

The great care taken daily by ardent and excellence-engrained NDT professionals in performing a job well done, to specifications, with the utmost accuracy, without error, and meeting client expectations should also be extended every time we are gathered at an ASNT function. Each of us is deeply vested in the regard in which ASNT and the NDT industry is held. The critical impact of NDT should be beyond reproach. The pride and dignity of the industry is reflected in our speech, appearance, social interactions, and personal commitment to advancing the deserved recognition of the industry. Whether in committee meetings, symposia, or events (ASNT’s or others), we must remain cognizant that cultural, gender, education, or professional experience based remarks or bias are intractable and potentially devastating to one’s character and that of the entire organization.

Honesty and self-expression are important in defining who we are; however, so is remembering that sometimes our delivery may need to be thought out and tempered for the desired reception. It’s impossible to retract a statement once even a single person hears or sees it. Impulsive gaffes can spread at unbelievable speeds and be detrimental to an individual, family, city, company, or country. The impression we leave on others is each of ours, as individuals, to determine.

At the June Board meeting held at the ASNT Center for Excellence, this topic was discussed at length and the comments above were both expressed by the Board and reaffirmed as a methodology that must be inculcated deep within the fabric of our Society.

Let us never be complacent in our duty to present ourselves as a reflection of the values we live and with the pride of representing our families, employers, NDT industry, and ASNT. We will boldly claim civility and contribute to tuning the tenor in our worlds to a harmony that uplifts us all. We clearly deserve and should not accept anything less. As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions.