Recently, I came across the book Work as Worship – How CEOs of Interstate Batteries, Hobby Lobby, PepsiCo, Tyson Foods and more bring meaning to their work, and as a devout Christian I was intrigued.
Mark Russell interviewed more than twenty CEOs from various companies to discover how these great leaders bring their faith and meaning to work. At first glance of this title, one might assume that these are Bible thumping Christians who demand all their employees believe the same way they do. But to the contrary, I found that most of them actually prefer an open atmosphere of varying beliefs so they can enter true dialogue. This tends to bring unity and respect within their companies versus division and disregard.
Some might believe that the secular and sacred are to be separate. Many are taught that to be “holy” one must become a minister or a missionary. However, these leaders believe that their faith is at the essence of their being and that God created them with certain desires, talents and skills. So why would God create them this way if they were not to be out in the work field? And after all, many of the great men and women of the Bible had careers in the “secular” world, such as fishermen, carpenters, blacksmiths and seamstresses. So the question for the Christian might be, as it was for Norm Miller, CEO of Interstate Batteries, “How do I integrate the claims of my faith with the demands of my work?”
These leaders suggest that can be done in a variety of ways:
• Living a life of integrity, honesty and humility in all business dealings
• Financial management that gives back to the community
• Doing the right thing even when it might cost you your job
• Praying for your business, supervisors, coworkers
• Stewardship to the environment
• Health and wellness initiatives for employees
• Keep the Golden Rule – Do to others as you would have them do to you
• Work/Life balance – honoring family time
• Allow employees decision-making power
I found it interesting that whether you are a Christian or not, most would support the above ways to operate business. These leaders found their employees to be more loyal and engaged in the development and success of the business. Some found reduced turnover rates; others better health and/or improved relationships.
Mo Anderson, of Keller Williams, suggested, “There’s a hunger in the hearts and minds of most of the people in this country to be affiliated with an organization that has integrity and cares about more than just profit.”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on faith in the work place.