Behave Appropriately

Mary Barra has worked for GM for four decades. Before she became CEO, she headed Global HR.

After replacing GM’s 10-page dress code treatise with a two-word appeal: “Dress Appropriately,” Barra received a scathing email from a senior-level director. “He said, ‘You need to put out a better dress policy; this is not enough.’ So, I called him—and of course, that shook him a little bit. And I asked him to help me understand why the policy was inept.”

The director explained that occasionally, some people on his team had to deal with government officials on short notice and had to be dressed appropriately for that.

“Okay, why don’t you talk to your team,” Barra replied. “He was an established leader at GM, responsible for a pretty important part of the company, with a multimillion-dollar budget. He called me back a few minutes later, saying, ‘I talked to the team, we brainstormed, and we agreed that the four people who occasionally need to meet with government officials will keep a pair of dress pants in their locker. Problem solved.’” Yahoo.Finance

Let’s not get boxed in by bureaucracy. Don’t forget the human touch.

Community Values

Shared Values

The difference between a community and a group is that “a community shares a set of common values, whereas a group may not.” The PSA hosts a variety of groups where diverse viewpoints lead to the best outcomes.  As part of the PSA Community, we share these core values of democracy. We are non-partisan, pro-democracy.

“When democracies fell in the 1920s and ’30s, they fell to the Right, not the Left.” Robert Kagan

Equality & Fairness: we are all equal. Equal pay, correcting systemic injustices, freedom of individuality, free and fair elections, the effective and appropriate collection and use of taxpayer resources, voting rights, and a level competitive playing field. Popular Sovereignty: the government is of, by, and for the people. Othering and inequality are the paths toward authoritarianism. ESG and DEI are virtuous; how we get there is the challenge.

Individual Freedom and Empowerment. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Our focus is on raising the power of the individual with respect to the power of organizations. We play the long game of education. A healthy democracy welcomes and encourages educated, empowered, and engaged citizens.

Truth, Justice, and the Rule of Law: in addition to our rights, we have obligations to be informed and involved in the care and feeding of democracy. A healthy democracy requires the separation of powers and an independent judiciary. Reason and evidence > faith. We are all equal under the law and accountable to the truth.


  • Be a part of the solution.  Be helpful, offer ideas, and build your network. This is a positive-sum culture.
  • Be who you say you are (use your real name), and don’t say anything you won’t stand behind.
  • The key to the success of our programs is for each of you to develop trusting, constructive relationships. Your job is to be responsive, actively engaged, and a contributing member in both online and offline interactions.
  • Be good listeners, honest communicators, inclusive, willing to be wrong, and grow. Behave with emotional intelligence.
  • Respect truth, honesty, evidence, and reason… all with compassion.
  • Freedom of speech means the freedom to present your ideas to address the problems being considered. This is different than Freedom of Expression, for which you are accountable and liable.
  • No personal attacks, insults, or name-calling. Consider that if attacking someone personally is all you have to say, then maybe you have run out of valid ideas.  Just keep it to yourself until you can find a better way of expressing yourself.
  • Disruptive and destructive members will be offered opportunities for growth and restitution and may be banned.
  • If someone is not treating you with compassion and love, they are just working out their own shit.
  • Fight fair: Argue with passion but keep your passion on point; don’t be manipulative or manipulated; allow space and time for ideas to percolate. Remember: the best ideas are forged over time from diverse perspectives.
  • Recognize the messiness of the ever-changing world: we must all navigate competing goals and values to co-exist peacefully.
  • Use humor constructively and compassionately. We are dealing with serious subjects, and we tend to get carried away. The judicious use of humor can soften a situation, enabling reflection and compromise.  A sense of humor helps us get through difficult times and help us to find common ground.
  • Strive for understanding first.  We may or may not always agree, but let’s at least get along.
  • Have the long view: understand and accept that the end of all disputes is inevitably diplomatic.

Be silly. Be honest. Be kind.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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