17 Jun #021 – Blue Pill Brokenness – Work As Usual – Money and Power
At Integrous, we believe another (in addition to Idol and Identity) of the four key aspects of toxic “work as usual” that leads to “work” becoming something far from God’s good and live-giving design in Genesis is that it is all about Money and Power rather than people.
“Work as usual” problems and “business as usual” problems feed each other. With business as usual focused on Profit as Purpose and work as usual being an Idol and Identity, it is no surprise that work as usual has become all about “making money”, whether for survival or for power.
Because people are not the focus of business as usual, they do not become the focus of work as usual. Just as people can be no more than tools of production when profit maximization is the goal to which the business is managed, people become tools for doing our “work as usual“.
- They are managers we must please.
- They are co-workers we compete with or need in order to succeed (or survive).
- They are subordinate resources we need to do our job.
The corrosive assumptions of the business as usual culture, such as Scarcity and Self-Interest, become the assumptions out of which people work and treat others. For example:
- Knowledge, information and influence are guarded as sources of power (or survival) and aids in making money.
- Those assumptions infect how people do their work and how they treat others.
Indeed, every organization comprises individuals who are already taking action toward some purpose. The question is: What purpose? (Chris Houston)
When the culture of a business embodies “Profit as Purpose” together with “Scarcity” and “Self-Interest” assumptions, people will come to understand, at some level, that they are ultimately tools for maximizing profit and that they will be rewarded or punished based upon their perceived contribution to that goal. “Work as usual” will flow from “business as usual”, and they will begin to see co-workers as either competitors in a zero-sum game or primarily as tools for their success or survival in that culture. We believe this was never God’s design for work or human relationships and that there is an ancient path to “business a better way“.
SPOILER ALERT: We believe that profit is necessary, but it needs to be put in its proper place–as a means to an end. Part of the first step toward Integriosity®—RENEW–is understanding that business a better way involves managing toward the maximization of human flourishing. Like the Marine’s mentioned below in the PERSONAL NOTE, when people understand that they are of utmost importance, they will rise to the occasion.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): I once heard a Navy chaplain share a difference he observed having served both on Navy ships and in Marine battalions. He attributed the legendary esprit de corps of the Marine Corps, at least in part, to purpose and priorities. He believed that sailors on a ship understood at some level that the most valuable asset in the Navy is its ships, and that they were there to maintain and operate those assets. He also believed that Marines knew, without a doubt, that the most valuable asset in the Marine Corps is the people, and that they had to have each other’s backs. As Michael Stallard argues in his book Connection Culture, people rise to the occasion when they see their work as part of a bigger vision, feel valued as human beings and feel they have a voice in how the organization pursues that bigger vision. Its not the nature of the work that makes all the difference–it is the bigger picture within which you see the work and the culture within which you perform it.