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The Corporate Conscience Manifesto

Wednesday Wisdom

Part One: The Manifesto


A manifesto is a document that spells out actions and behaviors that will be taken to achieve some larger goal, action or decision. The word manifesto implies action that will be taken either as a result of circumstances or events. A manifesto helps keep energy and impulse alive in ideas and movements. They’re also belief systems which those who participate must sign on for or they won’t be taken seriously. This manifesto reflects important behaviors that counteract the all too frequent failure causing decisions and actions so often taken by leaders and senior managers when trouble occurs: silence, stalling, denial, victim confusion, testosterosis, arrogance, searching for the guilty, fear of the media, and whining.

Execute even one of these failure causing behaviors and I guarantee trouble, serious reputation problems, and brand damage. It’s these behaviors that make being a corporate conscience so extraordinarily difficult. The Manifesto will help you in overcoming these management misbehaviors.

The Manifesto

1. Speak Up: Silence is the most toxic strategy possible. Makes you look like a perpetrator, whether true or not. There is no credible way to explain silence in the face of crisis. Silence is the most frequent leadership career-killer in crisis situations. It’s why the boss gets fired first.

2. Speak Out: Speed beats smart every time. Failure to act immediately, even incorrectly, is impossible to explain or apologize for. Doing nothing, even for what appear to be good reasons, does not pass the straight face test. The #1 response criticism: failure to speak and act immediately.

3. Defeat Denial: Accept the fact when something bad has happened and that there may be victims or other direct effects that require prompt public acknowledgement.

4. Focus on the Real Victims: Avoidable irritable reaction to reporters, angry neighbors, and victims’ families when they call asking for help, information, explanation, or apology.

5. Prevent Testosterosis: Look for ways to deal with the problems, rather than to hit back. Respect those who may have a difference of opinion or a legitimate issue.

6. Empathize: Prepare to apologize, express concern, compassion, or empathy, or to take appropriate responsibility. Sooner or later you’ll have to do this. Sooner is better than later.

7. Avoid Searching for the Guilty: Shifting blame into the organization and looking for traitors, turncoats, troublemakers, those who push back, and the unconvinceables confounds finding solutions and resolving issues.

8. Disclose Reasons, Rationales, and Actions: As it becomes more clear that a problem is at least partly real, anticipate the questions that are going to be asked, “What did you know, and when did you know it?”, “What have you done, and when did you do it?”, and be prepared to answer humiliating, embarrassing, and damaging questions and answer them at the earliest possible time.

9. Detect, Deter, and Prevent Unconscionable Words and Behaviors From Within Your Organization: (If the boss is angry, everybody is angry.)

Other examples:

a. Avoid vilification

b. Avoid sarcasm, ridicule, and humiliation

c. Avoid arrogance and needless but intentional pain and suffering

Part IV will explore unconscionable behavior in much more detail.

Coming Soon

Part II: The Realities of Misbehavior will be published in December.

Part III: Words and Behaviors as Weapons will be published in January.

Part IV: Unconscionable Words and Behaviors, A Lexicon and Definitions will be published in February.

To obtain the entire set now please send an email to: – use subject line: Complete Corporate Conscience Manifesto

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