March 25, 2020 Building Resilience and Resistance to Indecency Preserves and Protects Decent Cultures (From pages 11-17 of The Decency Code) The Fo

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March 25, 2020


Building Resilience and Resistance to Indecency Preserves and Protects Decent Cultures

(From pages 11-17 of The Decency Code)

The Focus of This Book Is About Building Resiliency

The focus of this book is about building resiliency against corporate misconduct and disengagement. We consider the causes, patterns, prevention, and deterrence of indecency. We look at what options companies have for deterring, preventing, detecting, and exposing incivilities. As long as organizations must recruit from the human race, incivility seems inevitable. But it’s certainly possible to prevent many indecencies, detect them early, expose them to the light of day, and minimize their frequency and cost. Indecency at work is increasingly extending to robots and other machines who are relentlessly replacing people. A corporate culture committed to decency represents the most powerful inoculation against indecency. When decencies triumph over incivility, a superior level of employee engagement results. This book makes a case for The Decency Code, daily integrating decency and integrity into our work and private lives.

Decency often keeps leaders in crisis from making the worst possible mistake: the cover-up. History shows that the cover-up is almost always considered a greater betrayal than the underlying crime. Decency reminds leaders that, in the end, it’s not what you do that matters most, but what you do about what you did.

Decency starts with a commitment to verbal and written communication that is predominantly positive and carries messages that are sensible, constructive, positive, helpful, empathetic, ethical and benefit the recipient of the message more than the sender—what Jim Lukaszewski refers to as The Ingredients of Leadership. A culture that is based on greed, opportunism, and exploiting unearned advantage leads to incivility, promotes deception, and frustrates mitigation and resolution.


How Do These Two Authors

Find Themselves in the Same Book?

We’d like to share a few words about the authors, how they met, and why their complementary skills are perfect for a book called The Decency Code.

Steve Harrison is the author of The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Build Great Companies. He serves as chairman of Lee Hecht Harrison, the largest career transition and talent management firm in the world, with 400 offices in 60 countries. He has spent his career promoting the lasting power of decency to engage employees and build enabling corporate cultures.

The focus of James E. Lukaszewski (Loo-ka-SHEV-skee) is cultural incivility and all the ways that organizations sabotage themselves. Jim’s most recent book is Lukaszewski on Crisis Communication: What Your CEO Needs to Know About Reputation Risk and Crisis Management. It is widely considered the bible of crisis management. Many executives throughout the land have Jim Lukaszewski on speed dial. Known throughout the country as America’s Crisis Guru®, Jim is respected for his ability to help executives look at problems from a variety of sensible, constructive, and principled perspectives. When there is a scandal or trouble brewing in corporate America, Jim’s phone usually rings. Think of a major corporate scandal, and chances are good that Jim was recruited to mitigate the problem. But Jim’s most powerful work is represented by corporate scan- dals you never heard of because they were resolved quickly or prevented altogether.

25 Years Ago

The worlds of the authors converged about 25 years ago when Steve Harrison’s company experienced an isolated but embarrassing scandal that was featured in the Wall Street Journal. It was a crisis that required the best response. Steve was referred to Jim Lukaszewski for help in resolving the issues created by the unethical behavior of an employee. The results of that engagement cemented a powerful professional and personal relationship between the two men. What’s fascinating about it is the two different worlds Jim and Steve have occupied all these years.

The reader may find it helpful to understand the common and contrasting views of the two authors.

Fundamental Philosophies

Steve: his fundamental philosophy is that the vast majority of firms in the US and likely other countries and cultures operate within the parameters of being useful, helpful, productive organizations. Each, through its business operations, provides useful employment and opportunities to grow personally and professionally and, to varying degrees, is a reasonable place to work.

Jim’s fundamental philosophy comes from an entirely different perspective, studying the pathology of management and leadership misbehavior observed over 40 years. He used this knowledge in real time to guide the recovery of 300 companies, domestic and international, through more than 400 victim-producing events. Lukaszewski believes that while every organization experiences a variety of difficulties and challenges as it operates, those that suffer serious adverse circumstances do so as the result of their intentional decisions, acts, and omissions. A leader decides to cross a line, deliberately ignoring existing regulatory controls, rules, and cultural norms. Jim’s client companies experience self-inflicted, extraordinarily stressful, victim-producing events. The pathology of these circumstances results from intentionally inappropriate or unlawful behavior and management bungling.

It’s a relatively small universe, but one that produces devastating and often highly visible negative results. He maintains that despite the protestations of troubled organizations and cultures and their misbehaving leadership, the choices between ethical decision making and unethical decision making are always clear and always intentional.

Universal Gestures That Matter

We believe that valued behavior includes a universal commitment to small decencies—gestures by leaders that are tangible, replicable, and sustainable develop great stories . . . stories travel:

Praising people in public, criticizing in private1
Greeting visitors promptly and enthusiastically
Valuing receptionists—they are our Directors of First Impressions
Rejecting executive pomposity
Promoting trust through accessibility, transparency, and candor
Institutionalizing civility
Making a difference!

This and much more is what The Decency Code is all about.


Book Title: The Decency Code: The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust
ISBN: 978-1260455397