We advance a team culture that makes work purposeful and relational
We advance a team culture that helps people experience their work as neither ultimate nor transactional, but as purposeful and relational. We develop each person for and beyond their contribution to our mission, instead of treating them merely as resources to advance the organization’s interests.
Every organization intends to attract great people, build a healthy culture, and develop great leaders—yet most organizations fall well short in actual practice.
Particularly through the influence of the technology and knowledge sectors, we are all being pushed into workism, to borrow the coinage of Derek Thompson—in which our work carries too much weight in forming our sense of value and purpose. From the always-hustling culture of Silicon Valley to the Chinese “996” norm of working from 9 to 9, 6 days a week, there is an expectation that if you really want to rise, more work is always better. And if our work defines our identity, how can we refuse? Under the promise of “always-on” access and maximal productivity, we rarely have a moment where our inbox or most pressing work issue is absent from our minds. And our workism can affect others even more than ourselves: as those of us with the most margin and agency willingly exploit ourselves, we create norms that flow downstream to those with far fewer choices.
Organizational culture suffers when our work means too much, and also when it means too little. A companion error to workism is instrumentalism—the view that work is merely a means to money and freedom. Here too, organizations and individuals can conspire in what seems little more than an exchange of labor for money. Leaders use people as “human resources” to be allocated rather than as whole persons to be developed and blessed, perhaps especially in environments where the opportunities for impact or financial returns are significant. We may “invest” in our people’s usefulness to our venture, but this language can feel hollow if we demonstrate little regard for their lives outside or beyond their tenure at the organization.
Almost all human communities tend toward conformity and avoid confronting the most difficult truths, and our workplaces easily become places where certain truths are never spoken and many voices are never heard. As we pare down our ranks to those who are willing and able to tolerate an organizational monoculture, our firms gradually lose the honest edge at which real excellence is found. We may recruit and retain for a conventional “good fit” in ways that exclude the abundant diversity of human experience and limit our organization’s capacity for generative growth.
Instead, we long for our organizational culture to reflect grace and truth; and for members of our team to bring their whole selves to work and be energized by their work for their whole lives. We aim to create workplace cultures that cultivate and celebrate redemptive action, blessing people by giving more than we ask in return.
1. We steward people for and beyond the work of the organization, beginning with uncommonly thoughtful hiring processes, and making every effort to design assignments and development paths that balance each individual’s goals with business needs. Where people are not succeeding, we act quickly, first adjusting for better alignment internally, and if necessary, guiding and supporting them generously in leaving the organization.
2. We cultivate a “high excellence, high grace” ethos in our communications, decisions, and actions. We speak the truth in love through redemptive feedback—honest, developmental, and honoring.
3. We guard our culture by celebrating stories of redemptive and mission-aligned action, from the CFO to the intern; and by privately admonishing exploitative behavior, up to and including the termination of persistently damaging actors, no matter their seniority or influence.
4. We honor each team member through our HR practices, with a bias for generosity in compensation, equity, benefits, agreements, and resources that extend trust and enable people to commit wholeheartedly to their work in light of all aspects of their vocations.
5. We invest intentionally and search beyond default talent sources to build a robust diversity of experience, gender, ethnic heritage, skill set, and viewpoints at every level of the organization—seeking not only to improve our organizational performance, but also to embody the fullest possible picture of God’s glory in humanity.
6. We embody an ethos of principled public pluralism, where the expression of ultimate beliefs based on any (or no) faith is welcomed as essential to valuing the whole person; where spiritual resources such as corporate chaplaincy are offered non-coercively; and where the faith of the leaders is neither hidden nor culturally favored, and can be experienced by anyone as good news.
7. We practice healthy and sustainable work rhythms, encouraging intentional patterns of daily, weekly, and seasonal disconnection and rest. We encourage generous paid and flexible leave for parents and caregivers to devote themselves to those dependent on them.
THE GOOD NEWS
We can experience the profound satisfaction of loving and blessing people through all aspects of our organization. This work is not primarily a means to the end of organizational success—it is an end in itself, equally valuable in the sight of God as anything else we might accomplish through our products, services, or corporate social responsibility. Though we will stumble at times, we can be confident that our commitment to people for their own sake will be a compelling witness to our redemptive vision among the company’s employees, investors, and partners.
We can accomplish so much good by counteracting instrumentalism and workism in our culture. Our team members will be able to exert their creative best in service to the mission, all while working within sustainable margins over the long term, and accepting whatever outcomes may follow. And we as leaders will also sense our own greater freedom through this promise.
Our resolve to build teams that reflect true unity-in-diversity will set us on a path of inevitable discomfort, setbacks, and missed opportunities. Yet our vision for diversity will stretch beyond the conventional organizational benefits (in the form of greater innovation, resilience, and access to talent). Indeed, we can proceed in the hope that together we are becoming a humble expression of the beloved community and a demonstration of the reconciling power of the gospel.