Having recently moved from an employer of a dozen people to one of 55,000, I had the normal reservations associated with changes in the corporate culture. One never knows certain things about a new job until experiencing it, so I was most interested in attending my first major company event, where one of the Heavy Hitters was brought to town to address the area employees.
Somewhat expecting a rah-rah stir ‘em up and inspire the salesman presentation, I was surprised to hear such things as:
1. The people who live under the same roof as you are more important than your job.
2. Forty nine per cent of Americans do not use all their vacation time. Don’t be one of them. Take all the time off that the company gives you.
3. Take time for yourself.
4. When you get your high-schooler’s soccer schedule, put the game times in your calendar and don’t let anybody schedule over them.
Those were just a few of the gems of wisdom in her presentation, and those are words I never expected to hear from an employer, especially a large one. But there it was, with handouts and in public, for everyone to see and hear.
It will be fun testing the company’s commitment to a balanced life, and I sense, based upon a later conversation with a fellow worker, that this is the real deal. Having known the speaker for some time, I was told, "She really believes what she says." And then, "I like her and will do about anything for her."
This company – and this executive in particular — whether by design, by accident, or by instinct has discovered a distinctly Biblical principle, that it is more blessed to give than to receive. To see people as something more than a name on a timesheet or an organization chart, to understand that they have their own hopes and dreams, their own loved ones, their own joys and trials, and that employees are more than a cog in the corporate wheel, to be used up and discarded, is to respect the inherent dignity that we each carry as God’s unique creation.
By doing this, by infusing the company with an element of humanity, they foster a loyalty and a sense of teamwork that connects on a personal level. With this leadership, people will go the extra mile because they want to and not because they are compelled to.
Solomon tells us to "cast your bread upon the waters, for you will find it after many days." (Ecclesiastes 11:1). Jesus says, "Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be poured into your lap." (Luke 6:38 NIV).
Christianity works when it is tried. It just isn’t tried enough, and sadly it isn’t tried enough even in churches. Some churches seem to exist as social clubs. Some are extensions of the leader’s ego. Some are family businesses. Some are used as a means of control. Every church to some extent or other falls short of the ideal. But, imagine, if you will, how churches would change if the giving principle infused every church in every town, from the youngest child to the eldest elder. Religion would transfigure itself from a consumer item into an agent of transformation. Instead of pews filled with the disgruntled searching for problems, the church would be filled with brothers and sisters striving for solutions. Instead of preachers looking to build empires, we would have
servants looking to build the temple of God.
Here is a good place to start. Remember the executive who came to Kansas City to speak? She recalled the advice her father gave her every day before she left for school. It catches the essence of the servant attitude that can transform the world. "Remember to do something nice for somebody today." If everyone did that, the world would be turned upside down. And the world could use that right now.