Human Decency

Linda LaitalaBusinessLeave a Comment

A friend recently used the phrase “human decency”. As with many phrases, it’s used in passing without really thinking of what it means. So, I did some research.
The personal quality of decency is one of honesty, good manners, and respect for other people. Over time, decency has referred to manners, but today decency refers to a strong sense of right and wrong, a high standard of honesty. It should influence every aspect of life: society, politics, and business.

Decent people are thought of as hard-working, loyal, and kind, having a strong moral compass that they hold themselves to at work and in all aspects of their lives. They are thoughtful and caring people who inspire and support others.

Why isn’t decency more important in business?  Where did the lessons of our childhood get lost?  In HBR’s Social Responsibility [Please take time to read this – it’s good!] post, Bill Boulding, Dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business argues that “DQ” (Decency Quotient) is just as important as IQ (Intellect) and EQ (Emotional intelligence).
We have far too many examples in the business of what happens when decency is subverted by “the end justifies the means”: the recession of 2009, the Enron scandal, Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme….

When business is more intentional about decency, it can become a healing force in the world today. Decency is also good business. It can rebuild the trust in corporations that have been lost by massive layoffs and substandard quality. As Boulding says, “For decency to win the day, DQ must be recognized as an essential quality in leadership. Intellect and emotional intelligence are vital, but it is decency that ensures IQ and EQ are used to benefit society, not tear it down.”

The road is easier together,

Time is precious. We are grateful you’ve chosen to spend some with us today.

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