For years, I’ve listened to chief executives of large companies pay dutiful lip service to concepts like corporate social responsibility, investing in the communities they operate in, treating employees as their most precious asset and living their values. Mostly, it comes off as so much canned public posturing — boxes to be checked off, rather than any sort of deep commitment.
My favorite example is from the vision statement of the once-mighty Enron Corporation: “We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves,” it declared. “We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness and arrogance don’t belong here.” And what were its top values? “Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence.”