As the nation and the world welcomed the 46th President of the U.S. on Wednesday, our office watched the ceremonies and listened to the new President’s inauguration address.
Many words were spoken, many promises made and many initiatives set forth, inviting interpretation by both the public and the pundits. Good or bad, right or wrong, for or against, there was one statement that really caught my attention.
In fact, I grabbed a marker and jotted it down on the office whiteboard.
“We must respect one another.”
Respect is both a noun and a verb; a concept and an action.
Noun: Due regard for the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.
Verb: The act of regarding the feelings, wishes, rights, or traditions of others.
Interesting that we have to talk about being respectful of each other in this day and age.
Just like our computer systems require a strong operating system to handle the mundane, everyday tasks it also must handle the largest and most challenging tasks demanded of it.
The Human OS
Think of a soul as an Operating System (OS)– our way of being. As the creator of my operating system, my own way of being, I control the words I speak. I control the actions I take. I control my intentions.
We don’t think about how the computer OS works– we just know it does what we need it to do. The OS is built with intention for each user to achieve their desired result.
The OS must be consistent. It can’t choose to run great for one program or task and not another. It’s unbiased. To maintain a strong OS with integrity, we must protect it with intention. And we must protect it constantly.
The virus of disrespect comes at us from all directions. Social media, TV, radio, print. Lack of respect happens in the thoughts and actions of others all around us: during public events and private events, in city streets, in schools, in workplaces, and in government.
The virus seems to be all too common and acceptable. The behavioral contagion is continuing to infect our community OS.
To stop this virus we must respect ourselves and each other. The virus of today won’t be the virus of tomorrow. So we must constantly optimize our internal OS by being intentional and focused on how we can both show respect to others and also acknowledge the respect others give to us.
Maximizing our Personal UI
Respect in our lives must be intentional, and intention is the user interface (UI) of our operating system. We program our intention to show respect to all people at all times because when we don’t we become vulnerable to viruses. We can maximize our UI by being intentional with both the thoughtfulness and action of respect.
Respect must be shown every day and in every moment. And not just in the easy, comfortable moments but, even more importantly, during the most stressful and contentious times in our lives.
If we are intentional with respect, if it is the backdrop of every interaction, what would that look like for ourselves, our families, our friends, our co-workers, our employees? Elevating the concept, what would it look like if complete strangers were treated with our respect?
What would those ripples look like? Who benefits from those ripples?
Respect. What a powerful piece of code in our OS that we must not take for granted. This single piece of code can easily be deleted, causing all kinds of OS problems. What an impactful action.
Unfortunately, much of what I’ve witnessed and heard over the last few months is void of respect. This lack of respect is a virus that easily spreads and begins to paralyze our OS if we are not focused and intentional with defending and optimizing it. Good, old-fashioned respect.
As a leader of my life, of my family,, and of my company, respect must be a default setting of my way of very BE-ing.
Updating the OS and Optimizing the UI Through Leadership
The great leaders of today and of the past demonstrate profound respect. In fact, I would argue that if you aren’t respectful you’re not a true leader. True leadership demonstrates constant respect in all ways and for all things.
Leadership starts with ourselves. We must remember that first we simply lead ourselves. It really is each user’s intention (UI) that interacts with each user’s OS.
A powerful OS combined with a sensational UI both protects and optimizes itself. We can be users who continue to build our own powerful OS to handle both social and technological changes as our society and communities continue to evolve.
Like all the programming versions of each OS from the past, this common piece of community code, respect, must remain. It can’t be removed or syntaxed out. It needs more community members and leaders contributing to the code and sharing it just like the great and stable open-source systems we have today.
It’s amazing how a small piece of code can be shared throughout a community. A community’s code has no limitations and it has no borders. It’s not biased. It doesn’t expire. Unless the users let it become infected, respect will remain as a core piece of code in our community’s OS for us not to only survive but also thrive.
Stay tuned next week when I write about what respect looks like in different aspects of our lives and why we need to stop having conversations of persuasion and start having conversations of …