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Reflect on your workplace

Are you the owner or senior manager in a business or organization? Then please allow me to share a few ideas with you.

As we end the Lenten season, I was reflecting on the hundreds of people I have known personally in businesses. I prayed for them with the hope that each person would find God a little more each day through his or her work. But sometimes it is the workplace itself that can make that difficult to do.

Here is where you come in! A steward is a person who acknowledges and cherishes their gifts, and uses them for the common good of others. We are told that Adam and Eve were placed in the garden to “cultivate and care for it.” That was their work. So let us imagine that your business or organization is your garden. Does your garden mostly benefit you? Or is it beneficial to others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable in your workplace? If organizational success is defined by how well the workplace enriches and develops the full potential and dignity of each person, then the role of a successful organizational leader is to assure a workplace where that can occur.

Here is a brief survey that will help you reflect on your workplace. Think about your business/organization from the viewpoint of all the members. Put yourself in their shoes. This includes employees and their families, customers, suppliers, competitors, etc.

Answer True or False to each of the following statements.     

The practices, policies, and attitudes of my workplace:

1 Reflect a high regard for the dignity of people.

2 Demonstrate that people have a voice in all decisions which affect their work and daily life.

3 Support the rights of people to have decent and productive work, fair wages and full use of their gifts and talents.

4 Demonstrate a commitment to protect people and the environment.

5 Assure that the most vulnerable, powerless members of the workplace are not systematically ignored or made to suffer. (Hint: Do the same people or groups carry the burden whenever “hard decisions” are made?)

6 Emphasize the high value we place on how our work impacts families.

What patterns do you see? Where is the greatest opportunity for change evident? You may also want to include others in answering these questions and discuss your responses as a group.