Loving Neighbor: Business
It sort of should go without saying -- and it's surprising that it still doesn't go without saying at some companies -- if the person who works at your company is 100% proud of the job they're doing, if you give them the tools to do a good job, they're proud of the brand, if they were looked after, if they're treated well, then they're gonna be smiling, they're gonna be happy and therefore the customer will have a nice experience. If the person who's working for your company is not given the right tools, is not looked after, is not appreciated, they're not gonna do things with a smile and therefore the customer will be treated in a way where often they won't want to come back for more. So, my philosophy has always been, if you can put staff first, your customer second and shareholders third, effectively, in the end, the shareholders do well, the customers do better, and yourself are happy.
Richard Branson, CEO Virgin
Businesses of course are interested in money and generating profit. It's why they exist. However, good businesses follow certain principles, principles which reflect the Theology we find in dance. So while a business does need to make money, that's not the bottom line. A good company must be moral in what it does and how it does it, and should be a source of joy to everyone who takes part. If all three elements are not met it's a bad company and needs to be ended.
In business the leader is the business owner, who has a plan. In order to put that plan into action he will often need workers. He chooses workers based not only on their skills, but also their enthusiasm for for working for him and for carrying out the spirit of the company. The spirit of the company is defined by customers- the people that they serve- and the product or service the company offers. Customers and the product or service define the how ofthe relationship- who they inetract and talk to each other, even how they dress. A mechanic dresses very different from an accountant! Without this spirit he owner and the workers would not have a relationship (at least not this one!)
The plan/ pattern is the business plans. When I was first writing this I had thought about writing that customers would come before workers. But I came across a quote by Richard Branson (a far more successful business man than me) and he believes that an owner should put the emplyees first! Theologically I would say that the employee and customer are equal. But there is a practicality to Branson's thinking- if the owner's primary Whether the employer considers workers equal to the good business plans recognize the value and even the necessity of excellent workers. Such plans take care to provide for the recogniotion of ythe employee- they allow the employe to gain credit for enthusiasm and passionate response in carrying out the plan.
A business is beautiful insofar as it's moral, it's fun and reasonably profitable; It also should be well ordered. Certainly the look of the facilities should be pleasing, and the advertisements as well. It is musical/ spiritual in so far as it remains faithful to it's customers and it produces a great product or service. Comfort will be found in the element of trust between the owner and his workers They trust him to create great plans and he trusts them to carry out the plans. It's loving if the persons involve care for each other and put the good of the other over their own. In this phase it's important for owners to realize that their business will almost always be more important to them that it is to employees. It will rarely be so with employees. They need to respect that difference. It's the owner that takes financial risks, not his employees.
Good employers should lead in a way that is concise and direct. Vague plans do not help work workers do their job well. They should know and understand their employees. For this reason Christian teaching prefers smaller businesses since it allows for better personal understanding between owners and workers. This preference for small and local is called subsidiarity (large companies are not prohibited, small is simply prefered.) Good workers will have joy working for this company- the best jobs are ones someone would do, whether or not they got paid!
Poverty of spirit is seen in owners when they treat the time provided by the workers more as gift than as mere economic exchange. Workers can provide work in povery of spirit when they don't feel a need for this particular job. This allows for more freedom for both the owner and worker.
Good communication between workers and owners is important to any business.
It's the owner's business! That means he has a right to create a specific vision for the company.
Havng said that, good owners don't micromanage, but prefer employees who show great initiative, or perhaps more accurately, greater creativity in reponse to the small lead. Even though the owner creates the plan, the contribution of his workers to the company as something unique and appreciate provided it is in the context of the plan or contributes to the organic growth of the plan.
On the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labor, is an encyclical by Pope Leo XIII from 1891. While it could be easy to write of a document that was written over a century ago it shows a deep and clear understanding of the human heart as well as a compelling vision of human society.