How A Parade of Despicable People Made Companies Our New Role Models

FILE - In this July 24, 2013 file photo, New York City mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner leaves his apartment building in New York. On Saturday, Aug. 24, 2013, a car carrying Weiner was involved in a minor chain-reaction traffic accident. A Fire Department spokeswoman says no one was injured in the crash. She says it happened on the FDR near East 96th Street. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

How A Parade of Despicable People Made Companies Our New Role Models

In 1954 while on live television and responding to Senator Joseph McCarthy’s claim that one of his colleagues had ties to a Communist organization, Boston lawyer Joseph Welch, said:

“Until this moment, Senator, I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. Let us not assassinate this lad further, senator. You have done enough. Have you no sense of decency?”

According to Merriam-Webster, decency is “behavior that conforms to accepted standards of morality or respectability.”

What exactly that means in 2016, I’m not sure.

Heck, look who is dominating the news these day: one presidential candidate who daily maligns people based on their gender, race, religion, war record, and able-bodyness and another who habitually plays fast-and-loose with the facts.

Add a disgraced former congressman living up to his name by sending pics of his package to a much younger divorcee while cuddling with his sleeping toddler son.

Top it off with a beloved actor, once known for breaking racial barriers, cozy sweaters, and homespun anecdotes, and now alleged to have spent the last five decades drugging woman and then forcing them into to sex and we have a society continually lowering the bar on what is moral or respectable.

In the absence of positive public role models for our children, it’s time we turned to our companies to demonstrate what it means to be decent.

With management teams and investors offering behavioral checks-and-balances, companies can be elegant examples to our children of graciousness, generosity, and what is means to be good.

The Reputation Institute, a global consulting firm, recently conducted a study to identify the world’s 100 most reputable companies based on its corporate social responsibility (CSR).  It’s not a surprise to see beloved names like Apple, Disney, and Lego on that list; companies whose DNA includes an ongoing commitment to doing good.

Not sure where your company should begin to become a role model?

A good place to start is engaging an expert to help develop an airtight corporate Mission Statement, which in a sentence or two defines what a company does, why it exists, and its reason for being.

Enhance the statement with a pledge to create programs that demonstrate your company values more  than meeting its revenue goals, and it will be well on its way to using work as a vehicle to remind people what really matters in life.

Plus, of course, what it means to be decent.

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