Report on the breakfast talk “Profit, Performance and Christian Values: Friends or Foes?” given by Mark Greene, Director of the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.
Mark spoke, in the Roxburghe Hotel on 2 March, to an audience of 50 professionals from the world of business and addressed the question of whether Christian values could make a positive contribution to the bottom line of a business.
You can listen to his talk (36 minutes) and to the Q&A session (10 minutes) using the icons at the foot of the page. We must apologise for the interference from a mobile phone signal which occurs occasionally throughout the recordings but hope that this will not lessen your listening experience.
He asked those present to think about the values which exist within their own workplace, to think how they might make a difference to these values and whether they believed that there is a relationship between the values exhibited by their companies and the profitability of the company and indeed employee satisfaction at their work.
Mark highlighted that each company has a culture; the core belief system/ethos of the workplace, the “way things are done around here” and, using examples from business research and also a recent company awards dinner he had attended, suggested that there was real benefit to be gained from valuing people and their achievements and loyalty, even when not perceived to be in “key” or “high-flying” roles.
The most benefit is gained, however, when that valuing/recognition takes place in the day-to-day workplace and not in the unusual atmosphere of an awards ceremony.
Mark suggested that individual behaviours can modify corporate culture and asked what difference Christian values bringing “wholeness” might make.
Mark referred to business research, specifically the Gallup Q12 tool, and suggested that the three key questions from this study are those asking:
- Do I know what’s expected of me at work?
- Do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- Does my supervisor/someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
He suggested that people like to be accountable, to be in roles which release their potential and to be valued as an individual and that the Christian value framework addressed these three important areas directly. He gave examples of where increasing trustworthiness of management could be correlated directly with increased profitability across comparable, matched parts of the same business – trust and truth in business leads to increased loyalty.
Asking the question “What are the key qualities of business leaders who consistently deliver sustained greater than average profitability?” resulted in a range of suggestions from the floor. Mark stated that, perhaps surprisingly, humility had been identified as the number one attribute with focus coming close behind.
On the other side of the coin the most identified cause of stress at work was resentment or lack of forgiveness.
Mark concluded by suggesting that Christian values align very strongly with addressing these issues and that we should regard them very much as “friends” and not “foes” in the world of business.
He then took a number of questions and comments.