#208 – Integrity Idea 038: Recall Your Faithful Purpose

This week marks four years since the first Integrous blog post in January 2020.  It seemed like a good time to go back and “recall” what we said we wanted to do–the WHY of these posts, which reflects the WHY of Integrous.  This is the “faithful purpose” we proclaimed in post #001:

We believe there are many leaders who are guided by the Bible in their personal lives and sincerely want to live an integrated faith life at work. They have heard about “faith/work integration” in a sermon or conference or book and genuinely want to pursue God’s purpose for their work and for the people and organizations they lead.

Sadly, many are confused or frustrated or even intimidated. Some have given up. Others think they are doing it, but they are actually missing the mark. These problems frequently are the result of hearing a misguided message, an incomplete message or a purely theological message (and then wondering how it practically applies “back at the office”). . . .  In these blog posts, we will explain the need for a different approach to faith/work integration . . ., debunk the “myths” that create confusion, frustration and intimidation, identify the “faith as usual” misses . . ., and explain the path to Integriosity® and its fruit. Integriosity is a new word, but these are not new ideas.  It is going back to Biblical basics and then rolling up our sleeves to see how to actually implement them “back at the office” in a way that humanizes people, beautifies the world and glorifies God.  It is seeking an “ancient path” referenced in Jeremiah 6:16.

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.

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” falls into the necessary category because the kingdom of world will constantly push the organization and its people to move back to business as usual.  Faithful leaders must take steps to reinforce and remind people of the organization’s WHY, or that WHY runs the risk of becoming nothing more than a slogan on a website or a plaque on the wall.

INTEGRITY IDEA: Recall Your Faithful Purpose

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is implementing practices to remind your stakeholders about your WHY–your organization’s Re-Imagined Purpose as reflected in its Re-Imagined Values.  Those practices will help in the implementation and cultivation of a Re-Imagined Culture reflecting that purpose and those values.

Of course, “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” assumes the organization has already implemented Integrity Idea 002 to “Proclaim a Faithful Purpose”, which requires having gone through the first step toward leading with faithful integrity–RENEW–and then having RE-IMAGINED a purpose and values aligned with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.  As you may recall, the importance of defining a clear purpose, committing to it in writing, and proclaiming it actually comes straight out of Scripture:

And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.”  (Habakkuk 2:2)

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” recognizes that people will not keep “running” with a vision unless they are continually inspired by it, and that requires continually reminding them of it in inspiring ways.  “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” also recognizes that the world will keep pushing your owners and employees back toward business as usual, and an organization is more likely to remain on the ancient path of business a better way if its stakeholders are constantly reminded of the organization’s counter-cultural WHY.

Throughout the Bible, we see this pressure and people’s tendency to “forget” God’s way and drift back to the world’s way.  The Israelites continually forgot God’s commands, and they continually forgot the miracles God had done for them.  Consider these reminders and practices to help people remember:

Then take care lest you forget the Lord, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery. (Deuteronomy 6:12)

And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths, when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. (Deuteronomy 31:10-11)

Speak to the people of Israel, and tell them to make tassels on the corners of their garments throughout their generations, and to put a cord of blue on the tassel of each corner.  And it shall be a tassel for you to look at and remember all the commandments of the Lord, to do them, not to follow after your own heart and your own eyes, which you are inclined to whore after.  So you shall remember and do all my commandments, and be holy to your God. (Numbers 15:38-40)

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. (John 14:26)

Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have.  I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder. (2 Peter 1:12-13)

Leading with faithful integrity through business a better way toward Biblical flourishing takes time, intentionality and perseverance.

CONTINUUM: Practices

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.

While “Proclaim a Faithful Purpose” is on the Proclamation Continuum, “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is on the Practices Continuum. It involves practices the organization can adopt to recall, affirm and protect its commitment to prioritizing its Re-Imagined Purpose by continually reminding its stakeholders of the WHY that should guide and inform “how we do things around here”–the organization’s Re-Imagined Culture.

COVERT-OVERT RATING: Highly Covert or Highly Overt

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.  Even secular businesses should declare a mission and take steps to ensure its stakeholders remember that mission, which means that whether “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is Highly Covert (An action that would be taken by a secular company) or Highly Overt (an overtly faith-based action involving community, website, sales/marketing materials) will depend entirely on the faith overtness of the Re-Imagined Purpose that has been proclaimed.

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Kingdom

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.

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” ultimately benefits all stakeholders, because the bigger WHY of business a better way should be the maximization of Biblical flourishing for all people touched by the organization; however, recalling that bigger WHY is about ensuring that the organization remains in alignment with the Kingdom of God rather than succumbing to the constant pull of the kingdom of the world.

It has been said that ``a great oak is only a little nut that held its ground``. (Nicky Gumbel)

IMPLEMENTATION

In his Bible in One Year devotional, Nicky Gumbel wrote:

It has been said that “a great oak is only a little nut that held its ground”.

In many ways, “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is about faithful leaders helping the organization and its people “hold their ground”.  It is holding their ground against the tendency of people to forget what matters.  It is holding their ground against what is warned in Romans 12:2–the push by the kingdom of the world to “be conformed to this world” rather than be “transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

A Re-Imagined Purpose and Re-Imagined Values–what faithful leaders discern is “the will of God” and what is “good and acceptable and perfect” for their organization–only come after RENEW, but the world does not stop pushing for conformity and people do not stop forgetting.

When Frank Harrison of Coca-Cola Consolidated says “our purpose is our culture and our culture is our purpose“, he is expressing something very important–the purpose of the organization has become so ingrained in the hearts and minds of Coca-Cola Consolidated’s employees that it informs and guides their actions every day and in all they do.

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is about calling people back again and again to what matters until doing the right thing, in the right way, for the right reasons becomes second nature. It is helping the Re-Imagined Purpose and the Re-Imagined Values “hold their ground” until the great oak of a Re-Imagined Culture has matured.  When that happens, all the people in the organization will help each other “Recall Your Faithful Purpose”.

There is no magic formula for helping people recall.  As faithful leaders prayerfully consider ways to reinforce the organization’s Re-Imagined Purpose and Re-Imagined Values and inspire people to recall them and live them out, here are a few ideas:

• Display the organization’s purpose statement and values prominently in its facilities.  For example, Coca-Cola Consolidated has their mission on the wall of their reception area and on the walls of other communal spaces.

• Display the organization’s purpose statement and values on “swag” such as coffee mugs, t-shirts or “challenge coins”.

• Display the organization’s purpose statement and values on letterhead, invoices and packaging.

• Read aloud the organization’s purpose and values at the start of internal meetings, including Board meetings.

• Include a card sharing and explaining the organization’s purpose statement and values with each product shipment.

• Create a resource such as a Code of Conduct or a set of FAQ’s to help employees understand how to live out the organization’s purpose and values.  For example, Tyson Foods has a code of conduct explaining how to apply their “5C’s” (Caring, Candor, Creativity, Collaboration, Commitment) in “the most common legal and ethical issues” employees may encounter.

• Provide employees with free resources (such as books or access to RightNowMedia@Work) that will help them understand and live out the organization’s purpose and values.

• Consider ways to highlight to visitors how employees live out the organization’s purpose and values.  For example, Beryl Health installed TV monitors in its reception area highlighting the company’s culture.

• Periodically circulate to employees explanations of the purpose statement and values with examples of how they translate into day-to-day behavior.

• Periodically circulate to employees real-life examples of the purpose statement and values in action.  For example, Zappos has published an annual Culture Book that highlights the company’s core values and unique culture in action during the year with employee reflections on what the core values mean to them.  Zappo’s website says, “We’ve learned that if you identify your company’s core values, hire by them, onboard team members by them, and truly live them, then you can get out of the way.

• Create a forum for employees to share examples of co-workers exemplifying the organization’s purpose and values.

• Create ways to highlight the purpose and values by recognizing employees for exemplifying the purpose and values of the organization, such as in a newsletter, on a bulletin board, on an intranet, in an e-mail or other electronic communication, or at employee events.

• Encourage managers to recognize employees for exemplifying the purpose and values of the organization.

• Ensure that all new hires understand the purpose and values of the company.  For example, at Coca-Cola Consolidated all new hires hear the CEO explain the purpose and values of the company, which reinforces that they are valued from the very top of the organization.

• Create a confidential way for employees to report conduct by others in the organization that compromises or undermines the organization’s purpose or values.

• Encourage employees to report conduct by vendors or customers that compromises or undermines the organization’s purpose or values, and consider how to address such conduct with those vendors or customers (and whether relations with those vendors or customers should be terminated to protect the organization’s culture).

As we have said many times in prior posts, 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.  Seth Godin eloquently captures the need for “Recall Your Faithful Purpose”:

Culture is a posture that lasts. It’s corroded by shortcuts and by inattention, and fed by constant investment and care.

“Recall Your Faithful Purpose” and hold your ground.

PERSONAL NOTE (from PM):  This past weekend we watched the film Boys in the Boat (which I highly recommend). I have never been a rower.  During my senior year in college, my dorm room looked out over the Charles River, and I recall waking up and seeing rowers out on the river even before I had brushed my teeth.  I thought to myself–“eight nuts in a shell”.  Obviously, I didn’t know much about what the coxswain did other than steer the boat and set the pace.  Without giving away anything from the movie, what I learned is that a good coxswain inspires by helping the rowers “recall” the vision–remembering who they are and what they already know.  In this case, it was reminding them that they were to be “As One”.  This was particularly poignant for me because the battle cry of the New Canaan Society has for many years been “As One”.  It was inspired by a video produced for NCS by my friend Lance Wallnau.  You can watch it below–then go watch Boys in the Boat.

ESSENCE:  Integrity Ideas are specific actions a faithful leader can consider in leading faithfully through business a better way.

INTEGRITY IDEA: Recall Your Faithful Purpose

COVERT-OVERT CONTINUUM (six Continuums for action):  Practices

COVERT-OVERT RATING (several levels from Highly Covert to Highly Overt): Highly Covert or Highly Overt

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Kingdom

Most Integrity Ideas are practical actions toward implementing a bigger WHY for the organization.  “Recall Your Faithful Purpose” is implementing practices to remind your stakeholders about your WHY–your organization’s Re-Imagined Purpose as reflected in its Re-Imagined Values.  Those practices will help in the implementation and cultivation of a Re-Imagined Culture reflecting that purpose and those values.  Of course, this assumes you have already implemented Integrity Idea 002 to “Proclaim a Faithful Purpose”, which requires having gone through the first step toward leading with faithful integrity–RENEW–and then having RE-IMAGINED a purpose and values aligned with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.  “Proclaim a Faithful Purpose” recognizes that the world will keep pushing your owners and employees back toward business as usual, and your organization is more likely to remain on the ancient path of business a better way if its stakeholders are constantly reminded of your counter-cultural WHY.  Leading with faithful integrity through business a better way toward Biblical flourishing takes time, intentionality and perseverance. 

Lance Wallnau - NCS "As One"

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Photo credit: Original photo by Photo by Cristofer Maximilian on Unsplash.