The preamble to ENRON’s code of ethics (before their crash), which vigorously promoted a boldfaced lie, reads: “Moral as well as legal obligations wil

        Web Version  
Jim - The Decency Journal  8
linkedin twitter youtube
Jim - The Decency Journal  40
Jim - The Decency Journal  10

The preamble to ENRON’s code of ethics (before their crash), which vigorously promoted a boldfaced lie, reads: “Moral as well as legal obligations will be fulfilled openly, promptly, and in a manner which will reflect pride on the Company’s name.” Poppycock.

Lest you think this is a historic anomaly, we are currently going through the next wave of relentless corporate fabrication as the Department of Justice begins enforcing and publicly identifying false testimonies under the new ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) regulations. More about that in a future newsletter.

As a professional, you live in the world of conduct codes. Every profession has them; industries have them, many individual businesses and organizations have them. Over the years, as my career has progressed, the problems I help others resolve only seem more complicated. I find that while industrial, professional and other formalized conduct codes can be helpful, when the decisions become more acts of leadership, how things go depends more on the leader’s personal behavior than standard professional prescriptions.

I mention this because one of the most important aspects of giving advice to senior people has little to do with communication, how the media works, innovative social media tactics or most of the other tools for which PR experts are employed.

Jim - The Decency Journal  42

If you want to be in on those discussions, you need to have your own personal code of conduct and be able to discuss it, advocate for it, challenge it, suggest alternatives, and find and focus on the truth. This is the highest level of practice for a trusted strategic adviser.

If all you have to offer is something about why reporters do what they do, you will rarely be invited to the altitude at which real and pressing leadership decisions, discussions, and career-defining moment decisions take place.

Each of the elements of my code of conduct have been born through painful, often public and important circumstances. These are mine. Yours may be similar, but likely different in very specific and experience-validated approaches.

Use the "Ten Commandments Rule"

Despite the length of this list, I urge you practice the Ten Commandments Rule. Early in my career I use to publish extensive lists like the one exhibited. At one point I published a list of 23 useful and helpful ideas on some subject. A friend of mine wrote to me, true story, "Jim, for heaven's sake, there were only ten commandments!" Excellent lesson.

Pretty much from then on, I target my initial lists to ten or fewer items. Then I work to make it five. Then ultimately a list of three, something that can actually be accomplished.

Jim - The Decency Journal  39
1. Seek the truth first and find ethical pathways promptly and urgently.
2. Ask better, tougher questions than anyone else.
3. Avoid surprises. Forecast trouble.
4. Raise your hand. Consistently challenge the standard assumptions and practices of our profession. Build our importance and enhance the ability of all practitioners to better serve others. Say things no one else is willing to say.
5. Do the doable. Know the knowable. Get the getable. Arrange the arrangeable.
6. Be inconsistent. This is the greatest virtue of the strategist. Everybody, including your boss/client, thinks they are good, even great, communicators. Think differently. Be surprising. Think inside out.
7. Say less; focus on things that matter. Write less but make your words really important.
8. Successful strategies are built on inconsistency, error, mistakes, accidents, misperceptions, and exceptions.
9. Go beyond what those you advise and those you work with already know or believe.
10. Intend to make a constructive, positive, ethical difference every day.
11. Intentionally look at every situation and circumstance from different perspectives.
12. Look out for the real victims. Always put victim interests first.
13. Remember, it’s your boss’s “bus.” They get to drive it wherever they want. Your role on “the bus” is to help the driver drive better. If you don’t like it or can’t deal with it, then hop off and find somebody else’s bus (or drive your own).
14. Remember that every issue, question, concern or problem is a management issue, question, concern or problem first.
15. Start where leadership or management is or you will arrive at different destinations, and fail.
16. Propose fewer simple, sensible, positive, constructive, helpful, honorable and ethical action options — those that will prevent failure or more victims and bring true honorable success faster. All other approaches lead to trouble.

Strive to assess what you learn every day.

Ask yourself at least one of these five questions at the end of each day.

Jim - The Decency Journal  38
1. What is the most important thing I learned today?
2. What are the most interesting things I learned today?
3. What do I know now that I didn’t know at 9 o’clock this morning?
4. What questions arose today that need answers, and from whom?
5. How or what will I change tomorrow based on what I learned today?

The Lesson Is...

The accumulation of these helpful, useful, and important questions over time helps you build a useful, positive repository of information, experience, and wisdom to apply to your life and the lives of others. You also build your influence, access, and impact.

Suggestion: Get a notebook to write down, learn, and remember what you do every day. Share with everyone.

Jim’s Wisdom:

“Silence Is The Most Toxic Communication Strategy.”



The Decency Code provides a fully developed and actionable model for building a decency workplace culture.  1

Click to PURCHASE The Decency Code

Screen Shot 2022-09-15 at 1.34.01 PM

Click to PURCHASE The Manager's Book of Decencies

Screen Shot 2022-09-15 at 1.25.51 PM

Steve Harrison, co-founder of Lee Hecht Harrison, later LHH Division of The Adecco Group, died July 10th, 2021. We worked together for more than 30 years beginning in 1995. Our last task together, over 2 ½ years, was to co-author a book published by McGraw Hill in 2020 called The Decency Code, The Leader’s Path to Building Integrity and Trust. His business was outplacement, and his leadership style was of extreme humility, his passion, indeed his obsession, was finding ways to encourage others to perform, to rely on, and to teach others how to bring small decencies into everyone’s life at every opportunity.

His life accomplishments are on exhibit in the thousands of people, who with the help of Steve’s global company, LHH Division of ADECCO, found jobs for people after losing them. I will write more about what Steve stood for and accomplished in the coming days. I will use his words to help you remember who he was, what his life was about, and the legacy he left for the rest of us.

Jim  2

Edited by Anna Chu, The Lukaszewski Group’s Executive Editor. As an avid reader and creative writer, she is, among other projects, currently working on writing her first novel.

Email Marketing provided by LIMELIGHT MARKETING SYSTEMS