Where Have All the “Good” Employees Gone?

Chivalry is dead.

At least, that’s what I overheard someone say last Tuesday in response to what they perceived as a lack of “good” employees.

Chivalry, at its root, is a code of conduct. There is no one code. It can be any code created and agreed upon by a group.

Code of conduct?

No wonder chivalry is dead. We took the teeth out of the word. Then spoon-fed it a thin broth of banalities. Non-specific words like courtesy, kindness, and gallantry. Benign platitudes open to personal interpretation.

Fed thusly, the once robust chivalry withered and starved.

Want to see chivalry with bite?

In 1891 Léon Gautier wrote his Ten Commandments of chivalry in the work, La Chevalerie. They are:

1. Thou shalt believe all that the Church teaches and thou shalt observe all its directions.
2. Thou shalt defend the Church.
3. Thou shalt respect all weaknesses, and shalt constitute thyself the defender of them.
4. Thou shalt love the country in which thou wast born.
5. Thou shalt not recoil before thine enemy.
6. Thou shalt make war against the infidel without cessation and without mercy.
7. Thou shalt perform scrupulously thy feudal duties, if they be not contrary to the laws of God.
8. Thou shalt never lie, and shalt remain faithful to thy pledged word.
9. Thou shalt be generous, and give largesse to everyone.
10. Thou shalt be everywhere and always the champion of the Right and the Good against Injustice and Evil.

I’m not recommending the above chivalric code. It also doesn’t matter if you agree with it or not.

What I’m prescribing is that you look at it. Study it for its strength.

What makes it powerful?

Don’t be distracted by the words church, infidel, and God. The code’s power comes not from religious ties. Rather it is given might by a specific list of dos and do nots.

Benchmarks to quickly measure whether or not you’re living up to what you said you would do.

Want the “good” employees?

You already have them.

You just have to show them the way. Give them something to believe in. Something they can be proud of. Give them purpose. Give them mission.

Is chivalry dead?

It doesn’t have to be.

Write your company’s chivalric code and watch Joan of Arcs and Lancelots emerge.

Shining bright stars who do what’s right and make you proud.

 – Zac Smith, VC