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Institutionalized Decencies are Cultural Glue

Institutionalized Decencies are Cultural Glue

Authors, Steve Harrison & Jim Lukaszewski, reveals practical strategies to creating an ethical and honest culture.

The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust is about the potentially powerful cultural impact of institutionalized decencies. Recent frequent conversations around the impact of greater decency, civility, and ethics are important but too conceptual to drive the point home in the workplace. However, think of the nightly news stories reporting real-life examples of decency: storm- or fire-related selfless acts of sacrifice and bravery—the vivid, indelible, three-dimensional images that can set examples for future behavior. These are much more compelling than statistics around burnt forest acreage. They have the enduring effect of engaging the audience. Helicopter rescues, rooftop survival, pet rescues, nursing home evacuations all make memories and leave us with role models and, in some cases, even heroes.

In corporate cultures, it’s vivid, actual examples of leadership selflessness, courage, generosity, collaboration, and even tough love that provide the elusive “glue” that’s the essence of real, enduring employee engagement. An organization’s culture becomes enduring, palpable, believable, and productive if it is bonded relentlessly to engagement activities: in recruitment, onboarding, orientation, leadership development, career development, operations reviews, performance reviews, talent management, conferences, training, and yes, even terminations. David Noer, noted consultant and author of Healing the Wounds: Overcoming the Trauma of Layoffs and Revitalizing Downsized Organizations, created the following recipe for “cultural glue”:

  1. Fill glue pot with the fresh, pure, clear water of undiluted human spirit.
  2. Take special care not to contaminate with preconceived ideas or to pollute with excess control.
  3. Fill slowly; notice that the pot only fills from the bot- tom up. It’s impossible to fill it from the top down.
  4. Stir in equal parts of customer focus and pride in good work.
  5. Bring to a boil and blend in a liberal portion of diversity; one-part self-esteem and one-part tolerance.
  6. Fold in accountability.
  7. Simmer until smooth and thick, stirring with shared leadership and clear goals.
  8. Season with a dash of humor and a pinch of adventure.
  9. Let cool, then garnish with a topping of core values.
  10. Serve by coating all boxes in the organization chart with particular attention to the white spaces. With proper application, the boxes disappear and all that can be seen is productivity, creativity, and customer service.

From page 31 of The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust.

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Institutionalized Decencies are Cultural Glue

Stephen Harrison is Chairman of Lee Hecht Harrison, the world’s largest most respected global career management and talent development company. He is the author of The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies.

Jim Lukaszewski known as America’s Crisis Guru® has guided nearly 300 American and international companies through more than 400 reputation redefining crises, over 40 years. Lukaszewski On Crisis Communication, his thirteenth book (2013) is considered by many to be the CEO’s survival guide for reputation risk and crisis management problems.