Posts in Respect
Z is for Zeal

                Copyright © 2018 by Barney Rosenberg President, Ethics Line, LLC™ It feels like I ought to have something profound to say now that we have come to the end of our ethics alphabet.  I could quote Winston Churchill, during the German blitz of London during the Second World War: “This is not the end.  Neither is it the beginning of the end.  Rather it is the end of the beginning.”  But I will resist that temptation! I think simple is better, so I will quote that great philosopher Barney Rosenberg who famously said: “If you love what you do and you admire the people you do it with, there ought to be a better word to describe it than work.” I hereby empower you to enjoy what you do. Be zealous about the mission.  Be grateful for the opportunity to deploy your talents, skills, ambitions and vision in a shared set of purposes with other like-minded people.  Be proud of all you are achieving, every day. People have often come to me and said: “I have good news and bad news.”  My answer over time has evolved and I now respond: “Tell me the bad news and let’s fix it, together.  We will have plenty of time later to celebrate our successes.”  But remember to celebrate them! I am going to stop here.  Our voyage on the stormy seas of business ethics will continue.  These are shark infested waters.  But our zeal will deliver us safely to the other shore.  It has been fun sharing my reflections with you. Please keep those cards and letters (and texts and emails) coming.  I don’t pretend to have all the answers but together we can paint a clearer picture than I can paint alone. Goodbye for now!  

R is for Respect

              Copyright © 2018 by Barney Rosenberg President, Ethics Line, LLC™ Let’s spend a couple of sentences together pondering what “respect” means at work. Typical definitions speak to us in terms of “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities or achievements.”  OK.  So what. Some of you who know me are aware that I am a big fan of Aretha Franklin. Yes, I admire her.  But I love her music!  And I have been known to quote from her songs in my ethics presentations and even to play her songs during my presentations.  You’ll see another example in the next article in this series, “S is for Supply Chain”. For now, don’t tell me you have never heard Aretha sing “R_E_S_P_E_C_T, find out what it means to me!” If you haven’t already done it, stop reading and download it to your playlist…and listen to it, often! What respect means to me, in the business context, is less about how we “feel” and more about how we treat the people we come in contact with. In companies like most of ours, those people come from many countries, speak many languages, have different family experiences, different educational backgrounds, different skills and talents, different aspirations and ambitions.  In fact, we might as well ask, what do we have in common?  Well, one important thing is that we work for the same organization and have made a commitment to doing the right things the right ways.  It’s called respect – for our customers, their customers and consumers, our suppliers, our regulators and for each other. In the State of California, in the USA, the government has mandated that we take 2 hours of training every two years, to learn/be reminded how to prevent harassment in the workplace. The training, generally on line, deals with the prevention of sexual harassment, gender bias, bullying and intimidation, to name a few of the subject areas. A company I know very well has written the concept of respect into its code of conduct. Every employee gets a printed copy and it’s posted on the public Internet for anyone to read.  It says: “We treat each of our stakeholders with respect at all times. That includes respect for our co-workers and the communities in which we operate.  We embrace the diversity of background, experience and family within our organisation (British spelling), ensuring that our company is a place where everyone has the opportunity to flourish.  We treat others as we would like to be treated.” We might ask “What does a place that does not value respect look like?” Well, in my earlier article “F is for the other 4 letter F word” that other word is FEAR.  Such places are characterized by a lack of trust and often high turnover is staff.  At one such site I am familiar with, the general manager was a big time bully.  And in the space of one day there were 9 complaints about him that came through the company hot line.  Following a thorough investigation, the general manager was informed that his services were no longer required! So how about this. Send in some examples of your organization (American spelling) and the good ways people demonstrate respect.  I will share them after sanitizing the company name, if that’s what you want me to do.  Thank you!