While recently preparing for a client meeting, I came across the value proposition of a consulting company my client had worked with in the past. Their value proposition had a lot to do with “optimizing the performance of human capital”. My first instinct was to cringe a bit at the notion of treating people like capital, but, on reflection and in the spirit of full disclosure, I needed to plead guilty of using this concept in the past. One of the ground rules of sound communications is to use language that the listener can relate to. In the world of business, the noun “capital” is truly capital as the Brits would say!
Its use has the ability to capture the attention of business leaders so we can get to the “good stuff”. In this case, the good stuff is to identify what’s required to bring about a high performing business culture. At my client meeting, we discussed about how, in my international research over the past decades, “treating people with dignity and respect” consistently correlated with sustainable high performing business cultures in a variety of business sectors. It is a subset of what I call “Ethical Role Modeling”. I spoke about this in a business radio interview nearly twenty years ago. In more recent research, it still has resonance.
My reflections and client conversation on the merits of ”treating people with dignity and respect” led me to an new insight. Isn’t “treating people with dignity and respect” similar to the Golden Rule of “doing to others as you would have them do to you”? Interestingly over twenty of the worlds great religions, which account for over seventy-five percent of the world’s population, espouse fundamentally the same “Golden Rule“. I know how, in our secular society, mixing religious with business values is frowned upon. BUT , maybe there is cause for thought when businesses as well as Buddists, Christians, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, and other beliefs espouse fundamentally the same core value of “high performance”.
Meaningful reflections! -Dr. Bill DeMarco