Does introducing an honor code presume that the people involved have honor, or is it designed to create a space where honor can develop?
An honor code: The simple expectation that we trust you, that you call your own fouls, that you act honorably even if you think no one is watching…
As we think about implementing this, we need to decide between, “people are so dishonorable, it makes no sense to trust them” and, “the only way to help people become more honorable is to trust them.”
A similar question: Is it foolish to build a school that relies on students to take responsibility, to learn for the sake of learning, to lead–even though we know that this isn’t what they’ve been trained to do since birth?
The chasm is, “kids only want to do the minimum, what’s on the test…” vs. “if we want students to develop a desire to actually learn, we’re going to have stop rewarding them for just what’s on the test.”
Should employers say, “the people who apply for jobs are distrustful and are so used to being overworked, manipulated and mistreated that we need to offer work that treats people like cogs, with tests, measurements and demerits,” or do we take a risk and trust them to lead? Perhaps the long-term approach of, “let’s treat people as we’d like to be treated, and trust them to use their best judgment” will actually change things…
And in all three cases, when it doesn’t work the first time, we have the same choice again. And again.
To trust people, to raise the bar, to insist on people finding their best selves.
Because that’s the best way to make things better.