#011 – Integriosity – The Demand

With headlines suggesting faith is under unceasing attack by an increasingly secular society, it might be easy to conclude that pursuing Integriosity by aligning an organization’s mission, values and culture with Biblical principles would be business suicide–alienating stakeholders such as employees and customers.  We at Integrous believe that would wrongly be seeing a half-full glass as half-empty.

How full is the glass?

  • A number of important societal trends are absolutely in line with pursuing a bigger “WHY” for business:
    • People (particularly young people) are increasingly seeking greater purpose from work:
      • Witness the rise of the “B-Corp” model (which we actually believe is counterproductive to “business a better way” because it involves the government in overseeing the pursuit of a company’s broader goals and, more importantly, reinforces the faulty claim that other corporations can legally only pursue the maximization of profit).
      • Gallup’s 2016 report on “How Millennials Want to Work and Live” listed as its #1 “functional change” that millennials “want to work for organizations with a mission and purpose”.  In the book Completing Capitalism: Heal Business to Heal the World, the authors note a survey of employees by the Mars Corporation finding that working for a company actually living out its stated values was worth 30% in pay.
    • In 2016, the Modern Corporation Project issued a Statement on Company Law signed by dozens of legal experts refuting the misconception that corporate law requires the maximization of profits for shareholders.
    • In 2018, BlackRock (the world’s largest investor) issued a letter stating that companies needed to benefit all stakeholders.
    • In 2019, the Business Roundtable did an about-face by announcing that businesses should be committed to meeting the needs of all their stakeholders (since 1997, the Business Roundtable had endorsed a “shareholder primacy” view of corporate responsibility).
  • Despite headlines emphasizing the decline of religion and church attendance in America and amplifying protests of faith-inspired companies like Chick-fil-A, polls and surveys actually suggest that Americans still have faith and seem to welcome Biblical principles in business.
    • In a recent Gallup poll, 87% of Americans said they believe in God.
    • A 2011 Barna study found: for every American who said they were less likely to buy a product from a company that “manages its business according to Christian principles”, 14 people were more likely to buy; and the same ratio was 12:1 for a business that “embraces and promotes” the Christian faith.
For millennials, work must have meaning. . . . The emphasis for this
generation has switched from paycheck to purpose — and so must
your culture. (Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup)

When a secular group like the Business Roundtable declares that business should serve all stakeholders or when a secular-led organization decides to take care of its workers or define a purpose, we believe they are motivated principally by the recognition that serving all stakeholders, caring for employees or having a lofty purpose is, ultimately, good for the bottom line (e.g., to impress customers, attract top talent and minimize attrition) or, to some degree, by a general sense that it is the “right thing to do” (that “general sense” coming from the DNA of God contained in all humanity).   Integriosity is not about using purpose and caring for people as a means to an end–it is about seeing purpose and people as “the end” in accordance with Biblical principles–and that makes ALL the difference in the world.

SPOILER ALERT:  One of the key Integriosity “mind-shifts” is “Symbols are Secondary“.  The “fish” bumper sticker on your car is far less important than how you behave at intersections (of course, having the sticker and behaving badly is the worst combination).  Steps taken by an organization pursuing Integriosity may look just like those taken by an enlightened secular organization–but the “WHY” is different, and that makes ALL the difference.

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