Developing Your Talent


Building a Great Company: Putting Small Decencies into Action

By Steve Harrison on July 1, 2013

Small gestures of decency are the foundation of great organizations. It starts with individuals practicing civility in a sustainable, spontaneous fashion – and results in positive energy permeating the organization. In this sense, small decencies can take the edge off the pressures inherent in a rigidly structured environment. That’s not to say the organization is soft. Many highly competitive companies practice small decencies while growing and prospering. Likewise, small decencies aren’t luxuries that budget-strapped companies cannot afford. Rather, small decencies are authentic, low cost and easily put into action.

As I discuss in my book, The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Can Build Great Companies, “Leadership needs to be tangible and visible. Moral sensitivity, small decisions, thank yous and hellos are the gestures that matter day-to-day.” In the most organic sense, kindness begets kindness, civility is contagious, and we could all use a little more goodwill in our lives. Are you ready to make a commitment to putting small decencies into action in your organization? If so, you could be part of an exciting revolution where corporate social responsibility is more than a policy – it’s a natural outgrowth of your corporate culture.

Small decencies strengthen the often-tenuous grasp we have on our helter-skelter existence. With every horrifying news account, we should take stock of what’s important and express appreciation to those who keep the gears running and talk us “off the ledges.” Life is hard enough. Let’s smooth the rough edges by putting small decencies into action.


Steve Harrison is a long-time management and corporate culture innovator. He is the author of “The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Can Build Great Companies.” This is the seventh in an eight-part series from Steve addressing a philosophy of doing business that goes beyond the transfer of goods and services. It calls for a transfer of values known as small decencies. Steve is co-founder and Chairman of Lee Hecht Harrison and former chief ethics and compliance officer of Adecco Group.

One Response to “Building a Great Company: Putting Small Decencies into Action”

  1. Peter McManus

    I am reading, and savoring, the book, “The Manager’s Book of Decencies: How Small Gestures Can Build Great Companies.” I hope to fine tune my own decency skills (I had great parents!), and encourage buy-in from those I work with. Thanks for sharing!


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