As a LinkedIn Editorial Top Voice, thought leader, author, educator, and change leadership practitioner, I write a weekly article that benefits existing or emerging leaders who want to improve their organizations significantly.
Last week's focus shifted from things we disagreed on to things on which we agreed. An example is humanism, which the American Humanist Association defines as "A progressive philosophy of life that, without theism or other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good" where we agree that these philosophies for life also align with most religions. Our focus this week will be to explore humanism in more detail.
Humanism is about the world, not about humanism. – Harold Blackham
The author of the Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for New Planetary Humanism states, "Humanism is an ethical, scientific, and philosophical outlook that has changed the world." The Renaissance was humanism's birth, leading to modern science's development at the beginning of the 17th century. The Enlightenment lasted between the 17th and 18th centuries and germinated social justice ideals as an ethical perspective based on universal human rights virtues, including freedom and happiness. There are seven universal commitments direct from the book:
1. First, the underlying ethical principle of Planetary Humanism is respecting the dignity and worth of all persons in the world community.
2. Second, we ought to act to mitigate human suffering and increase the sum of human happiness.
3. Third, we should avoid an overemphasis on multicultural parochialism, which can be divisive and destructive.
4. Fourth, respect and concern for persons should apply to all human beings equally.
5. Fifth, these principles should apply to the world community of the present time but also the future.
6. Sixth, each generation has an obligation, as far as possible, to leave the planetary environment that it inherits a better place.
7. Seventh, we should take care to do nothing that would endanger the very survival of future generations.
As fellow human beings, we are in a time of deep division that leads to an increasingly downward spiral of unhappiness. We can reverse the trend if we agree that these seven universal commitments are our collective responsibility and incorporate them into our actions. We can join humanists in making our actions about the world.
Additional research led to the discovery of the Ten Commitments of Living Humanist Values image. The content further resonated with me. A brief overview of the ten commitments is:
1. Altruism - I will help others in need without hoping for rewards
2. Critical Thinking - I will practice good judgment by asking questions and thinking for myself.
3. Empathy - I will consider other people's thoughts, feelings, and experiences
4. Environmentalism - I will take care of the Earth and the life on it
5. Ethical Development - I will always focus on becoming a better person.
6. Global Awareness – "I will be a good neighbor to the people who share the Earth with me and help make the world a better place for everyone."
7. Humility – "I will be aware of my strengths and weaknesses and appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of others."
8. Peace and Social Justice – "I will help people solve problems and handle disagreements in ways that are fair for everyone."
9. Responsibility - "I will be a good person—even when no one is looking—and own the consequences of my actions."
10. Service and Participation - "I will help my community in ways that let me get to know the people I'm helping."
Workin for an employer that embraced some of these commitments would have created a more favorable work experience for me. Our planet requires changes, requiring us to move from a mindset of winners and losers. For example, the manufacturing industry faces significant challenges in attracting and retaining employees. However, an evolving humanist manufacturing framework can lead to more responsible and profitable plant operations, thriving communities, and a better world.
The Enlightenment germinated social justice ideals as an ethical perspective based on universal human rights virtues, including freedom and happiness. We can join humanists in making our actions about the world where we work to care for the Earth, be a good neighbor, and create a better future for the generations who follow us. I know from experience that working for an employer that embraced these humanist values and commitments would have been a more favorable experience for me.
I recommend viewing the The Foundations of Humanistic Management video on the Humanist Management Network website. It provides some exciting content for leaders of all types to consider adopting. The three-stepped approach includes 1) unconditional respect for the dignity of life, 2) integration of ethical reflection in management decisions, and 3) active and ongoing stakeholder engagement.
I am grateful for our opportunity to evolve management and leadership thinking from various perspectives. It allows us to build off the multiple models to build a more robust version of the previous work of others.
Next week's blog will continue to explore the humanist commitments that comprise the humanist manufacturing framework.
To learn more about our work or read more blog posts, visit emmanuelstratgicsustainability.com.
I encourage you to read my book Humanist Manufacturing: A Humanitarian Approach to Excellence in High-Impact Plant Operations. The paperback and eBook versions are now available at Amazon and many other booksellers. You can also view the Humanist Manufacturing Book Launch to gain additional insight into the Humanist Manufacturing framework.
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