Sunday, June 27, 2010

Ten Commandments to Guide Citizens of the Corporate Kingdom

This article was written by Sandi Dolbee, Copley News Service (Reprinted by Permission)

In the beginning, there were Rabbi Wayne Dosick, Fortune magazine and a plane ride.

Caught in an airport without anything to read, Dosick ducked inside a gift shop and bought the only thing left on the rack -- a copy of Fortune.

What he found inside was the phrase that would nearly consume the next two years of his life: "The language of the pulpit has become the currency of the executive suite."

"I said, you know, if the secular marketplace is ready to listen, and it seems it might be beginning to, I could take these things and teach ancient spiritual values -- Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Zen, Buddhist, Native American Indian, Gandhi, Martin Luther King -- all of the people that talk about all these good things -- and somehow wring it into the modern marketplace."

And he did.

"The Business Bible: Ten New Commandments For Creating An Ethical Workplace" (William Morrow Co.) has just been released, 207 pages of rabbinical morality tales, updated Scripture and executives’ anecdotes designed to challenge, coax and cajole employers and employees into doing the right thing.

His theology is as simple as it is difficult.

"As the soda pop bottle teaches," he writes, "No Deposit, No Return."

In Dosick's bible, employees don't take home company pencils or lie to the boss, even if it makes them look good. And employers provide day-care centers, give to charities and treat workers the same way they want to be treated.

"My basic theory is that we are all good people," said Dosick, sitting into a chair in his living room. "We are born good, and in most cases we have been taught very good and worthy values by our parents and our teachers.

"And somehow, somehow, when we walk through the office door or through the factory gate, something happens. No one goes to work every day saying, ‘How can I cheat?’ And ‘How can I be a lousy person?’ The only thing I can figure is that pursuit of that dollar bill that somehow affects us or changes us or moves us in a different way."

His timing could not be better.

Three book clubs already have selected "The Business Bible" for distribution to members. And companies are turning to him for guidance.

The 46-year-old Dosick got his start in the business world by working for his parents in their grocery store. He dedicated his book to them for teaching him how to wait on people.

After graduating from rabbinical school, he served synagogue pulpits for 18 years. Two years ago he gave it up to pursue writing.

Besides his books, Dosick also writes a column in The San Diego Jewish Times, teaches a class at the University of San Diego and is the leader of the Elijah Minyan, an informal group of Jews who meet in each other's homes to discuss spiritual renewal and personal growth.

Such lifestyle changes, he suggests in his book, are just some of the new challenges facing each of us.

"You don't want to come to the end of your life and say,’ I blew it,’ he explains. "You want to say, ’Yeah, what I did was worthy and worthwhile and I made my contribution to the ongoing progress of the world and I felt good about what I did."

But that is his Commandment No. 9. First things first:

Commandment No. 1: Your ear shall hear; your eyes shall see. Good executives -- and workers -- listen and have vision.

"You have the opportunity to learn from everybody, everybody has something to offer you, something to teach you, something to give you," explains Dosick. "Nobody is all wise... you listen and you learn and you profit from it."

Commandment No. 2: Do not utter a false report. Tell the truth; do it gently and kindly, but do it.

"The reality is, if we tell the truth, we only have to tell the truth once," he said. "If you lie, you have to keep lying forever."

Commandment No. 3: Do no unrighteousness in weights and measures. Cheating is wrong -- whether it is taking home company supplies or ducking out early.

"It is what I call the Rodney King Syndrome," said Dosick. "It is really very simple. What if there were a hidden video camera on you that you did not know about and what you did today is on the six o'clock news tomorrow?"

Commandment No. 4: Love your neighbor as yourself. In the end, success is about people relating to people.

"You either succeed or you fail based on how you treat other people," said Dosick. "It is that simple."

Commandment No. 5: Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly. This is about how to be a leader.

"You have one of two choices, you can say ‘Charge!’ or you can say, ‘Follow me’”, Dosick said, "and it seems to me that the best way to become a leader is to say ‘Follow me.’”

Commandment No. 6: Bring healing and cure. Health insurance, company gyms and daycare centers, extended family plans -- "if your employer takes care of you, you will in turn take care of your employer," is how Dosick puts it.

Commandment No. 7: You shall surely tithe. There are few times that Dosick uses words like “must.” This is one of them.

"You must share what you get," he said. "We are all interconnected. I could be making the greatest product, but if there are hungry people on the streets of my city, then all I am is selfish and all I am is self-centered and egocentric.”

Commandment No. 8: Remember the Sabbath. Take time for personal renewal -- and to remember what is important.

In all of his years visiting dying people in the hospital, Dosick said no one ever wishes they had spent more time at work. "In the end, no one, no one, gets a golden tombstone."

Amendment No. 9: Acquire wisdom. In an age when most people will not have the same job for life, it is especially important to seek happiness and satisfaction in what you do.

Amendment No. 10: Know before whom you stand. This is as preachy as the rabbi gets.

"I did not intend this to be a sermon or preaching, but I did intend it purposely and seriously to say that we live our lives not alone, not in a vacuum, not without consequence. That we stand before something higher than each of us."

In his bible, Dosick talks about a person's conscience or their God, either way, he said, there is something else out there. "In the dark of night or the light of the mirror you will have to give an account."

And in Dosick's bible, there is no heaven for the good workers and bosses. No hell for the swindlers and tyrants. He said he does not believe in that.

What he does believe is that in following his 10 new commandments, people can find meaning and value and ethics in their workplace. They can, he believes, do well and do good.