02 Aug #184 – Integrity Idea 029: Create a Team “Humanbook”
ESSENCE: Integrity Ideas are specific actions a faithful leader can consider in leading faithfully through business a better way.
INTEGRITY IDEA: Create a Team “Humanbook”
COVERT-OVERT CONTINUUM (six Continuums for action): Practices
COVERT-OVERT RATING (several levels from Highly Covert to Highly Overt): Highly Covert
STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees
Most Integrity Ideas are practical actions toward implementing a bigger WHY for the organization. “Create a Team Humanbook” is about creating a directory of team members that recognizes the unique humanity of each person by including personal details that help people feel known, affirmed and connected. It recognizes that people are more than their job title and contact details and more than what usually shows up at work. They have strengths, expertise, families, histories, passions, interests, goals and dreams. It encourages people to bring their “whole selves” to work in a healthy way and to get to know each other as humans rather than just as work colleagues. “Create a Team Humanbook” says “we care” and “you matter”. It is recognizing the Imago Dei in others and living the commandment to love others as God has loved you. It reinforces a business a better way culture that prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity. If done with the right WHY–the right heart–it is humanizing.
Integrity Ideas are specific actions a leader can consider during the Re-Align step of Integriosity®–actions that will begin to Re-Align the organization with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities. You can find more Integrity Ideas at Integrous | Integrity Ideas (integriosity.com)
Integrity Ideas are practical actions toward implementing a bigger WHY for the organization. We believe some are critical (and necessary) steps in the RENEW/RE-ALIGN/RE-IMAGINE/RESTORE process. Others are just ideas to be considered if they feel like a good fit based on what leaders prayerfully discern is best for stewarding the organization toward its WHY.
“Create a Team Humanbook” falls into the “if it fits” category. It is one way to help create a culture of connection and encourage people to bring their “whole selves. (In fact, this Integrity Idea was inspired by the publication 100 Ways to Connect by Michael Stallard, author of Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work). But it is just one way, and it might not feel right for a particular team or organization.
INTEGRITY IDEA: Create a Team “Humanbook”
“Create a Team Humanbook” is about creating a directory of team members that recognizes the unique humanity of each person by including personal details that help people feel known, affirmed and connected. Jenni Catron wrote in a YouVersion Bible plan called “Becoming an Extraordinary Leader”
Leading from the heart means understanding the power of connection: knowing that one of our greatest human needs is to be known. We want to believe that we matter. And we sincerely long for those who lead us to see us as individuals: to see our unique potential and contribution, to help call it out in us, and to affirm that what we bring and who we are really matter to the greater story.
We use the term “Humanbook” to contrast it with “Facebook”, which was originally an extremely shallow project at Harvard called “Facemash” that objectified people. The idea of a Humanbook is to humanize people, thereby humanizing the team and the culture of the organization. It is not an employee directory–it is a tool for connection and recognition.
“Create a Team Humanbook” recognizes that people are more than their job title and contact details and more than what usually shows up at work. They have strengths, expertise, families, histories, passions, interests, goals and dreams. Those aspects of a person’s “whole self” come to work with them one way or another. If they come hidden, they can miss opportunities to contribute, undermine relationship and create misunderstanding.
When they are known, they provide the on-ramp to deeper connection. When they are known, they provide opportunities for people to help each other and contribute in unique ways based on their skills and experiences.
It encourages people to bring their “whole selves” to work in a healthy way and to get to know each other as humans rather than just as work colleagues. “Create a Team Humanbook” says “we care” and “you matter”. It highlights talents and experiences that can help the team contribute to the organization’s purpose. It brings relationship into a place where the world usually only experiences transaction.
It is recognizing the Imago Dei in others and living the commandment to love others as God has loved you. It reinforces a business a better way culture that prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity. If done with the right WHY–the right heart–it is humanizing and promotes connection in a way that makes the world a bit more beautiful–moving it a bit closer to God’s design.
The Integriosity model organizes “heart change” along six Covert-Overt Continuums. There is nothing magic about these categories, but we believe they are helpful in thinking about practical execution of a Re-Imagined Purpose, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture. The Continuums are Prayer, Proclamation, Policies, Practices, Products, People.
Each Continuum represents an area in which leaders can begin to think about, plan and institute Re-Alignment changes to the heart of the organization.
“Create a Team Humanbook” is on the Practice Continuums. Practices reflect, and at the same time help shape and reinforce, an organization’s culture. 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.
On the Practices Continuum, “Create a Team Humanbook” reinforces an organizational culture that prioritizes relationships, community and human dignity by encouraging people to “be known” and to “know” others. In addition to providing the seeds for human connection and conversation, it also promotes a culture of excellence by letting people know the hidden strengths and expertise that exist within the team.
COVERT-OVERT RATING: Highly Covert
The Integriosity model breaks the Covert-Overt Continuums into six gradations–from Highly Covert to Highly Overt–that we believe are helpful in beginning to pray and think about what is most appropriate for an organization at a particular moment in time.
Most Integrity Ideas will have one place on the scale. Some can vary depending on how they are implemented. “Create a Team Humanbook” is Highly Covert (an action that would be taken by a secular company), because excellence and connection are cultural qualities every organization should promote. “Create a Team Humanbook” can be moved toward the Overt end of the Continuum by, for example, explaining its Biblical foundations or tying it to a business a better way culture aligned with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.
STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees
When we categorize faith-based actions, we also consider the stakeholders principally impacted by the action: Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, Community and Kingdom.
“Create a Team Humanbook” principally serves employees. It encourages them to bring their “whole self” to work relationships. It humanizes them by prioritizing relationship, dignity and love. It also gives team members an opportunity to live out Imago Dei in beginning to see another Human as God sees them. It also identifies skills and experiences that can help the team work more effectively and efficiently toward its goals.
Leading from the heart means understanding the power of connection: knowing that one of our greatest human needs is to be known. (Jenni Catron)
Implementing “Create a Team Humanbook” must be done prayerfully and thoughtfully. It must also come from a place of caring for people and not a manipulative human resources tactic. Remember, WHY matters! In several prior posts, we have noted the observation of Larry Crabb:
Biblical principles are reduced to basic principles of the world when they’re followed in order to gain the “better life” we demand.
Business as usual says to build relationships as a tool for economic advantage–keeping employees happy and making them more productive. Business a better way says to build relationships because it aligns with God’s design, is conducive to human flourishing, adds beauty to the world, and, as a result, glorifies God.
In implementing “Create a Team Humanbook” as a way to lead with faithful integrity through business a better way, here are some practical considerations:
• Name. What will you call it? You certainly don’t need to use the term “Humanbook”. We used that name to make a point. It could be a “Connection Directory”, for example. We do think there is value in reflecting some concept of “human” or “connection” in the title to distinguish it from the standard employee directory.
• Medium. How will it be distributed and updated? Will it be on an internal intranet that is easily updated or distributed in PDF or paper form.
• Participants. Who will be included? All employees? Only certain levels? Imago Dei suggests broader is better.
• Distribution. How widely will it be distributed in the organization? In a small organization, everyone might be “the team”. In a larger organization, perhaps there are separate HumanBooks for departments, groups or teams or at least ways to view a department, group or team. A Humanbook is meant to make people feel connected to those with whom they interact. How will you handle support personnel (e.g., IT staff, cleaning staff, mailroom staff) who interact across other teams or groups?
• Content. Who will be involved in deciding on the type of content to be encouraged? We think deciding what types of information will be requested from people is best done as a group effort, with the goal of getting input and “buy-in” from people at various levels within the organization. When introduced, it is important for the Humanbook idea to be seen positively as a heartfelt effort designed to highlight the unique experiences, skills and passions of each person and to promote connection. We recommend suggesting types of information for people to share but making the sharing completely optional. Possible prompts include:
• Consider sharing any special skills or expertise that might be helpful to your teammates.
• Consider sharing about your background, your family or your pets.
• Consider sharing any work or other life experiences that would help your teammates know you better or might be helpful to your teammates, either professionally or personally.
• Consider sharing any dreams, goals, passions, interests or hobbies outside work that would help your teammates know you better.
• Consider sharing what makes you “uniquely you”.
We also recommend specifically instructing people not to include political affiliations, activities or views. The Humanbook is intended to bring people closer together, not push them apart.
• Review. Will someone or some group review all entries to identify any information that is inconsistent with any guidelines (e.g., political information) or might divide, rather than connect, the team? If information is flagged, how will it be handled with the employee?
Leading with faithful integrity through business a better way 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 foremost, leading faithfully through business a better way is a path to RESTORING people broken by work as usual.
RESTORE is the final stage in the Integriosity journey of leading with faithful integrity through business a better way. Workplaces where lack of connection among 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.
And that leads us once again to the statement from James Hunter that we have probably quoted more times than any other in these posts:
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.
PERSONAL NOTE (from PM): It was astonishing to read how Facebook started. According to Wikipedia (internal quotations omitted):
Zuckerberg built a website called “Facemash” in 2003 while attending Harvard University. The site was comparable to Hot or Not and used “photos compiled from the online face books of nine Houses, placing two next to each other at a time and asking users to choose the “hotter” person”.
When I worked at a large Wall Street law firm, it was the practice to distribute firmwide a photo and bio of each new lawyer on the day they started. I kept all of them, which amounted to quite a collection over 23 years. Even this professional background information helped you know a bit about a new person–helped create a basis for connection. I didn’t know anything about the hundreds of non-legal humans who were essential to the firm operating–unless I asked (which was the topic of post #149–“Listen to a Life”). “Asking” wasn’t really the culture. “Us-Them” was more the culture–partners and associates, legal personnel and non-legal personnel. But I did try to make connections with those people with whom I worked most closely or most often (or after midnight).
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