I recently discovered a new blog that I like a lot – Gregory Farley’s Voices of Leadership. Greg is an active duty, senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) in the US Navy. Greg’s blog is unique because it is written from the perspective of someone that is still up to his ears in the challenges and hindrances of daily organizational life.
Today he wrote about company culture and shared the Navy Creed. The creed contains the idea of serving with honor, and being the pedantic nerd that I am, it got me thinking about what that really means.
I looked at several online dictionaries, and defining honor was not as easy as I thought it would be. Honesty, integrity, fairness, dignity, and distinction were all terms used to describe honor as it relates to behavior. I think the definition of honor is more ambiguous than it should be. My concern is that if honor can mean many things, then it can too easily mean nothing.
One definition I really liked, buried (#9) in only one list I found was extending social courtesies and civilities. Observing people that behave with honor by this definition is becoming increasingly rare. Too many neglect this way of behaving with honor in their pursuit of honor as privilege and prominence.
Honor is something too many feel entitled to, not responsible for.
If you asked 50 people from your organization what they thought it meant to behave with honor, I bet you would get a lot of puzzled looks or flippant smirks. To be honest, when was the last time you gave serious thought about what it meant to behave with honor?
Has honor become a commodity?
I want to know what you think, so please share your thoughts in the comment section below.