Welcome to parts one and two of America’s Civility and Decency Manifesto. In this issue we feature two elements of the manifesto. The first comes from Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, who on June 9th, 2017 was inspired to initiate a national conversation about moral responsibilities of businesses. In our book, The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust, Steve Harrison and I have taken elements of Tim Cook’s MIT commencement address and transformed them into the first part of America’s Civility and Decency Manifesto.In part two, The Civility Credo, Jim Lukaszewski proposes an actionable definition of civility.Dictionary.com defines a manifesto as, “A public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives….” We would add the word “brief” and hope that you will find that as this document grows it will be useful in helping you develop your personal and organizational intentions, opinions and objectives in a way that is civil, decent and actionable.
Part One: Highlights from America’s Civility and Decency Manifesto
From The Decency Code: The Leader’s Guide to Building Integrity and Trust, pages 9-10, portions originally from Tim Cook’s June 9th, 2017 MIT Commencement Address.▪ Business has a moral obligation greater than the accumulation of wealth and sole allegiance to Wall Street.
▪ Businesses should be places where individuals can find meaning, purpose, and can serve humanity . . . something greater than themselves.
▪ Businesses, like technology, can do great things. But like technology, businesses don’t necessarily want to do great things, they just do things. Business purpose comes from those who lead.
▪ Keeping people at the center of business and in life can have enormous impact.
▪ Whatever you do in life it must be infused with the humanity, values, and decency that each of us is born with.
▪ Use technology to reinforce and amplify the rules of decency and avoid pettiness and negativity.
▪ Measure your impact on humanity by the lives you touch, rather than popularity.
▪ Stay on your personal course, focused on what really matters.
▪ Bring your values, compassion, empathy, and concern for consequences into your daily life and your work. Avoid those who advise otherwise.
▪ When you know your course is right, have the courage to take a stand.
▪ When you see a problem or an injustice, recognize that you are the only one to fix it.
▪ Use your mind and hands and heart to build something bigger than yourself.
▪ Strive to create the best, give the best, do the best for everyone.
Part Two: The Civility and Decency Credo
We applaud Tim Cook’s real vision. His vision lays a useful groundwork for this book. His passion and his quest for a fraud-free business culture reinforces the authors’ experienced and deeply held conviction that the terms “integrity,” “ethics,” and “values” are too theoretical and intangible to be clear, vivid, and actionable for corporate cultures and their leaders in turbulent times. The power of institutionalized, tangible, visible, measurable, and pervasive decencies creates a deterrent to misbehavior, misdeeds, and contaminants to employee engagement. Cultural decency helps inoculate workplaces from the “doing whatever it takes” crowd, regardless of consequences.
In the coming weeks and months we will be building out this manifesto to include a variety of crucial topics that are the components of civility and decency as well as sections on leadership failure, leadership success, crucial cultural elements of civil and decent businesses and organizations. We’d like your questions on the manifesto and what you’d like to see included to help you put such a document to use.
-Jim Lukaszewski and Steve Harrison