Are We Home Alone – Friedman’s Call To Values

Posted on March 22, 2009


“Are We Home Alone” – Thomas Friedman, March 21, 2009


The sentiments here were very reminiscent of Barry Schwartz’s talk at TED. Here is the excerpt from Friedman worth stating again:

Inspiring conduct has so much more of an impact than coercing it.

“There is nothing more powerful than inspirational leadership that unleashes principled behavior for a great cause,” said Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN, which helps companies build ethical cultures, and the author of the book “How.” What makes a company or a government “sustainable,” he added, is not when it adds more coercive rules and regulations to control behaviors. “It is when its employees or citizens are propelled by values and principles to do the right things, no matter how difficult the situation,” said Seidman. “Laws tell you what you can do. Values inspire in you what you should do. It’s a leader’s job to inspire in us those values.”

Right now we have an absence of inspirational leadership. From business we hear about institutions too big to fail – no matter how reckless. From bankers we hear about contracts too sacred to break – no matter how inappropriate. And from our immature elected officials we hear about how it was all “the other guy’s fault.” I’ve never talked to more people in one week who told me, “You know, I listen to the news, and I get really depressed.”

Well, help may finally be on the way…