#096 – Integriosity – Restore – People

ESSENCE:  RESTORE is the fourth and final step in the path of Integriosity.®  It is about seeing the bigger WHY’s of work and business materialize and manifest in an organization that has been RE-IMAGINED and RE-ALIGNED with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities based upon a RENEWED understanding of God’s purpose for work and business.  It is the narrow “ancient path” back to God’s design.  God created humans to create organizations to organize humans to work together in relationship to create products and services that serve humanity.  First and foremostfaithfully “doing right” through business a better way is a path to RESTORING People broken by business as usual and work as usual.  Workplaces where lack of Purpose in employees is evidenced by widespread disengagement can be RESTORED to promote life-giving engagement.  Identities wrongly centered around WHAT people do can be re-aligned toward WHO they are.  Dehumanizing cultures in which people are merely tools can be RESTORED to cultures that treat people with DIGNITY.  Work that has become a Burden can be RESTORED to God’s design of work as a Blessing.

Back in post #084 (Re-Imagine-Culture & People), we said:

God created humans to create organizations to organize humans to work together in relationship to create products and services that serve humanity.  Because organizations are about people, organizational Culture needs to about people.

People, People, People–Humans, Humans, Humans.  God cares about His creation, particularly the one creation made in God’s image.  It seems only appropriate when considering what is Restored by faithfully “doing right” through business a better way that we look first on how People are Restored.

RESTORE PEOPLE: Why Do People Need Restoration?

Way, way back in post #009 (The Need–Workers Are Breaking), we pointed out that the United States is facing an epidemic of loneliness, isolation, confusion, distrust and dissatisfaction.  We also noted that over the last several decades there have been significant changes in the demands on workers in America, leading to increased hours and greater stress (and the impact of those changes on health, marriages and children).  It is clear that business as usual is not working for much of humanity.  Work is where we spend most of our waking hours, and it has moved far from its original design in Genesis as something good.  In posts #019-#023 we explored in detail the brokenness and toxicity of “work as usual“.

Lack of Purpose.  In recent years, roughly 75% of workers have identified as “not engaged” (in Gallup’s words, “those who are psychologically unattached to their work and company and who put time, but not energy or passion, into their work“) or “actively disengaged” (“those who have miserable work experiences and spread their unhappiness to their colleagues“).  Other studies have indicated that roughly 60% of the engaged workers do not feel aligned with their company’s mission.  That suggests only 10% of workers are effectively mobilized–experiencing an essential part of their humanity.

Misplaced Identity. American culture, in particular, glorifies our work as our primary identity, with work having come to DEFINE “who” we are, rather than being a place to EXPRESS “who” we are.  In post #020 (Work As Usual – An Idol and Identity), we described the problems that flow from work being our primary identity and source of worth and value.

Lack of Dignity.  Human relationships do not flourish, and human dignity is devalued, when:

  • People recognize that the most important “WHY” driving the organization is ultimately profit and that they are just tools.
  • People feel like they are just a means to that end–a replaceable cog in the machine.
  • Work relationships are hierarchical, adversarial and competitive, with management structures creating “WE/THEM” relationships and management techniques pitting people against each other.

Burdened by Work.  Our cultural obsession with finding “Work/Life Balance” is perhaps the best indicator that work has ceased to be the blessing God intended and has become a Burden.  We no longer view work as part of our life–part of the rhythm of life.  Because it has become all-consuming and spiritually unfulfilling, we see it as something that keeps us from life–an oppositional force.  Is it any wonder that people long to “retire” and spend their remaining years as far from God’s life-giving gift of work as possible.

It is not what a man does that determines whether his work is sacred or secular, it is why he does it. (A.W. Tozer)

RESTORE PEOPLE: The Fruit of Integriosity for People

As we pointed out in our last post, the Cambridge English Dictionary defines “restore” as “to return something or someone to an earlier good condition.”  The fruit of faithfully “doing right” through business a better way–the fruit of Integriosity–is to participate in God’s restoration plan for His Kingdom (post #045 Kingdom–Bigger Gospel).  We need look no further than Genesis to understand “an earlier good condition” (post#046 Kingdom–Lessons from Creation–Why Are We Here).  Humanity was created in God’s image to flourish, and work was created before the Fall as a good thing–a way to reflect our humanity as God’s productive and creative image-bearers.  

When an organization is committed to faithfully “doing right” through business a better way, God’s original design for work and its relationship to our becoming more fully human and experiencing human flourishing begins to be restored:

  • Purpose. In his book, Great Work, David Sturt asserts:

To reframe one’s job is to make a mental connection with a grander purpose: Its social benefit. Its worth to society. Its potential to benefit others. Thinking of the good our work can do, beyond our daily to-do list, helps us change how we relate to our work.

When an organization is committed to a Re-Imagined Vision, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture that align with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities AND prioritizes people by putting profit in its proper place as a means rather than the end, the people touched by that organization will begin to become more fully engaged.  It is not the nature of the work that makes all the difference–it is the bigger picture within which a person sees their work and the culture within which they perform it.  People who are more engaged are happier, healthier and more productive.

  • Identity.  Leaders committed to a Re-Imagined Culture that aligns with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities AND to prioritizing people will begin to see their employees as sacred beings created in the image of God–rather than tools.  When people are seen and treated in alignment with their true, sacred identity, they will begin to understand, embrace and flourish in that identity.  When a Re-Imagined Culture values their faith, the health of their family relationships and their physical health, they will regain permission to give those areas of their life the attention they deserve–balancing their life, with work as an integral component rather than an opposing force. Work will become the place where they express their humanity as creative and productive beings, rather than the place where they lose their humanity.
  • Dignity.  Leaders who see their employees as sacred beings created in the image of God–rather than tools–will begin to treat them with dignity.  Leaders committed to faithfully “doing right” through business a better way will understand the importance of Humility, which is critical because it permits the leader to learn from the people they lead and to unlock the God-given productivity and creativity of those people.  Humility allows a leader to recognize that they do not have all the answers and to unleash and embrace the unique contributions each person they lead has to offer, which enriches the leader, the organization and its people.  We believe being treated with dignity is closely tied to two of the components Mike Stallard identifies in his book Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work as necessary for a healthy culture of connection:  Value and Voice.
  • Blessing.  Leaders who pursue faithfully “doing right” through business a better way in an organization will begin to replace burdensome “work as usual” with work that more and more reflects God original intent for work–work that is good, work that is necessary, work that allows people to be more fully human by expressing who they were made to be.

Work matters!  Business matters!  Organizations matter!  We have the opportunity to Restore People through the way in which we conduct business and lead organizations.   Every decision has the potential to move God’s Kingdom a little closer to God’s perfect Restoration.  The alternative to faithfully “doing right” through business a better way is business as usual and work as usual.

It is time to begin executing “business a better way” in alignment with Biblical beliefs, values and priorities–it is time to begin RESTORING by faithfully “doing right” through Integriosity.®

SPOILER ALERT:   In our next post, we will explore how faithfully “doing right” through business a better way can RESTORE Organizations.

PERSONAL NOTE (from PM):   I love the image for this post (“Superman” revealing his true identity) because it captures several aspects of the Integriosity message and path.  We also used this image back in post #068 (The “WHO” of Leaders).

  • Followers of Jesus are meant to be dressed like Superman, with our primary identity being the Superman suit that represents WHO we are and the business outfit of WHAT we do serving as an easily shed disguise for operating in the world.  Unfortunately, many people have their outfits reversed.  They put on a “Godly” disguise while living based on worldly beliefs, values and priorities.  This “backwards” approach is seen individually in the phrase “Christian businessperson” (for an explanation, see post #068) and organizationally in the Side Road of Cosmeticizing.
  • Leading an organization to faithfully “do right” through business a better way allows people to understand and embrace their true identity as beings created in the image of a creative and productive God.  It unleashes their God-given potential, freeing them from the work as usual that is dehumanizing and far from God’s original design.
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Photo Credit: Original photo by Ollyy on Shutterstock (photo cropped)