Yesterday we celebrated Independence Day or as many refer to it, the 4th of July. A celebratory time of family barbecues, vacations and firework displays throughout the country. We too celebrated with friends. However, I must say my heart was not in it--I am pained by the humane disregard and anger I see around me on a daily basis. And I’m even more pained when I realize some of it is rubbing off on me. It seems like it takes a lot of energy to remain engaged.
This past Sunday morning I turned on OWN's Super Soul Sunday to see who Oprah would be interviewing. It was Sister Joan Chittister who was talking about her new book The Time Is Now. I met Joan Chittister many years ago while visiting Erie, PA where my partner Dan Snow grew up. She and Dan's father (Dr. Daniel S. Snow) knew one another and I believe actually did some work together. Joan an American Benedictine nun is an author, theologian and activist; a steadfast voice for justice and women's rights for more than 60 years.
I am seriously concerned about the demise of civility, our moral compass and character in our country. As you know, my work focuses on transforming the workplace and helping people to be their best and recoup a sense of personal responsibility for their work life. It’s also about helping companies develop so that they too can be their best with products and services delivery, and creating companies in which employees are proud to work and communities feel is not their foe.
This year we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of many significant events and happenings. 1969 was characterized by the anti-war movement, Stonewall, landing a man on the moon for the first time, Woodstock, and my NY Mets winning the World Series. It was a time of great accomplishments and significant upheaval and unrest. People, especially the young, were using their voices boldly. Today, some segments of society are making their voices heard such as #BlackLivesMatter, the students of Parkland, and #MeToo. Unfortunately in today’s workplace we are more likely to hear “that’s not my problem” or “I don’t get paid for that.”
We need to create conditions in which the courage to speak up in a civil manner when you see or hear behavior and/or language at work that is upsetting or inappropriate becomes the norm.
Sister Joan is truly eloquent and makes some very important distinctions to which we all should pay attention. Now that the festivities are behind us and you are likely to have some quiet time I ask you, during this celebration of our country's birth, to take some time to either listen to the interview or read her book, The Time Is Now. I invite you to have table discussions at home with your family and friends. At your office, ask colleagues to buy and read the book; and of course discuss the book at work. We all have something at stake here, and if we wait much longer, we may not be able to self-correct.
I'd like to hear your thoughts. Please write or call me. Let me help you introduce this to your organization, family or neighborhood.