04 Aug #080 – Integriosity – Re-Imagined Implementation – Culture of Shalom
ESSENCE: Faithfully “doing right” through business a better way requires an alignment of Purpose, Values and Culture arising from a commitment to Biblical beliefs, values and priorities that leads a person or organization, instinctively, to do the right things, in the right ways and for the right reasons. We believe such an alignment must result in a Biblical organizational Culture that prioritizes relationships, community, human dignity and flourishing of all people. It is a culture that embodies the concept of Shalom. But Shalom will not define the real Culture or the organization if maximization of profit defines the real Purpose. Profit as Purpose actually works against Shalom and devalues human dignity by necessarily viewing people as merely tools of production–a means to an end (rewarded, retained, discarded or punished based upon their perceived contribution to that end). Shalom requires a Biblical WHY, because Shalom itself originated with God and ultimately requires God. A Biblical Purpose is a pre-requisite to Re-Imagining a Biblical Culture of Shalom, and a Biblical Purpose must be one that has the maximization of human flourishing at its core.
In our last post (#079), we explored the relationship between Culture, Values and Purpose, emphasizing that Purpose and Values define the Culture of an organization; the Culture shapes the behavior of the people in the organization; and the behavior of the people drives the results of the organization. We also considered how an organization’s Culture may reflect a Purpose and Values that are very different than those stated on its website–a toxic and unhealthy Culture may develop even with the most lofty Purpose and Value statements. But if the core of Integriosity® is an alignment of Purpose, Values and Culture arising from a commitment to Biblical beliefs, values and priorities that leads a person or organization, instinctively, to do the right things, in the right ways and for the right reasons, what does a Biblical organizational Culture look like?
Re-Imagining Implementation: Culture of Shalom.
There is probably no book mentioned more often in our past posts than James Hunter’s To Change the World and there is probably no passage from that book quoted more often in our past posts than this one:
To manage a business in a way that grows out of a Biblical view of relationships, community and human dignity before God has divine significance irrespective of what else might be done from this platform.
We believe that a Biblical organizational Culture prioritizes relationships, community, human dignity and flourishing of all people. It is a culture that embodies the concept of Shalom.
At Integrous, we define Shalom as:
An environment in which truth, beauty and goodness are valued and people and institutional cultures flourish by doing what God designed them to do in the way God designed them to do it–assisting in God’s restorative plan for His Kingdom by adding to its beauty.
The importance to faithfully “doing right” of cultivating an organizational Culture of Shalom has been central to many of our past posts:
- A Culture of Shalom is at the core of the three bigger WHY’s of work and business – and the fruit of Integriosity – Humanize People, Beautify the World and Glorify God (post #006 and post #052).
- A Culture of Shalom is at the heart of faithfully “doing right”, because faithfully “doing right” means “doing right” by God, and that means living generously by loving others and stewarding creation–as a driving purpose–to maximize flourishing (post #041).
- Work was created as an essential part of the life of a creative and productive humanity, and a Culture of Shalom is central to creating a work environment that is conducive to people becoming more “fully human” by unleashing their God-given productivity and creativity (post #048).
- A Culture of Shalom is central to James Hunter’s concept of faithful presence, which is the best tool we know for understanding what it means to love your neighbor through the culture of social structures such as organizations and businesses (post #053).
- A Culture of Shalom embeds the Biblical principle of love your neighbor in an organization, which creates an environment in which people touched by the organization can experience their full humanity by mirroring God in “building for God’s Kingdom” (post #054).
- A Culture of Shalom is a way in which an organization and its leaders Love Others by creating an environment that Humanizes them (post #057 and post #062).
Shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness, and delight, representing the way things ought to be. The Old Testament prophets pictured shalom as . . . mountains streaming with red wine. (Anne Bradley)
Re-Imagining Implementation: The Purpose Pre-Requisite to Shalom
In our last post (post #079), we emphasized that an organization’s real Culture (the Culture actually experienced by its stakeholders) will be driven by its real Purpose (the Purpose perceived by its employees based on the actions, practices and policies of managers and leaders). Shalom will not define the real Culture if maximization of profit defines the real Purpose. We believe: Re-Imagining a Biblical Purpose is a pre-requisite to Re-Imagining a Biblical Culture of Shalom; a Biblical Purpose must be one that has the maximization of human flourishing at its core; and Purpose focused on maximizing human flourishing will prioritize relationships, community and human dignity.
We explained in post #013 (“Business as Usual – Profit as Purpose”), post #017 (“Profit Problems”), post #021 (“Work As Usual – Money and Power”) and post #023 (“Work As Usual – Unhealthy Relationships”) how Profit as Purpose actually works against Shalom and devalues human dignity by necessarily viewing people as merely tools of production–a means to an end (rewarded, retained, discarded or punished based upon their perceived contribution to that end). In post #018 (“Business As Usual Problems – Scarcity, Self-Interest and the Real Problem”), we discussed how the business as usual assumptions of Scarcity and Self-Interest are not conducive to human flourishing or to an environment of Shalom because they reinforce manipulative and dehumanizing managerial behavior.
It makes complete sense that Shalom requires a Biblical WHY, because Shalom itself originated with God and ultimately requires God. Skip Moen captures this idea powerfully:
Shalom is not simply the absence of conflict. It is rather the presence of perfect harmony between you, God, others and the world. . . . And it is only found in the gift of God. Don’t be confused. Shalom does imply that God’s intention is your complete, fulfilled well-being. But it won’t happen without Him. Shalom is the result of God’s promise fulfilled in your life and mine. If you want the truly blessed life that God has in mind, you must allow shalom to reign in all your relationships. To do that, you will need God’s reign on the inside.
We believe it is time to RE-IMAGINE the heart of the organization by pursuing business a better way in alignment with Biblical values and priorities–it is time to begin faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity®.
SPOILER ALERT: In the next several posts, we will explore how Culture relates to Products, Sustainability and Connection.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): I enjoy red wine, so the imagery of Shalom as “mountains streaming with red wine” is appealing–sign me up! But Shalom is a much more difficult concept (otherwise many people would be signing up), because it describes the perfection of God’s design in Genesis and Eden, and we are destined to never really know that perfection until the heaven comes down to earth. What we do know and can be guided by are the beliefs, values and priorities set forth in the Bible. Integriosity is about aligning an organization with those beliefs, values and priorities. Shalom (and by implication, streams of red wine) is part of the Vision of Integrous :
Our vision is that God’s restorative plan for His Kingdom would be assisted by a movement of leaders and organizations intentionally “doing right” through Integriosity®, curating workplace cultures of Shalom and enriching their communities by being a Faithful Presence, all in the Way of Jesus for the glory of God.