Diversity, Dignity, Culture & Spirit

Written by James O. Rodgers

I want to start a dialogue about seemingly unrelated matter that I find is at the core of every human interaction. Whether it’s business relations, family relations, social relations, community, faith community, associations, politics, romance, or the arts; the world runs on relationships. So I want to separate the components and comment on what we see and what we miss in each of the areas that affect relationships that work. For instance:

Business Management in the 21st century: I believe that managers, along with leaders, are the essential success factor for today’s enterprises. Managers provide the day-to-day, one-on-one, face-to-face support that every employee needs to be productive and to achieve peak performance. I believe managing people is  a “noble calling” and should be treated as such. Leaders are by definition a more detached sort. You cannot maintain a “heli-view” of an organization (the leadership perspective) while muddling through the mire of daily issues. But, managers need effective relationships if they want to be effective in getting the best from every employee.  Let’s start there, defining managers versus leaders and getting clear about the relative worth of each in a diverse world. What do you think?

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Dignity at Work: I believe every person deserves dignity in their work. My definition of dignity is “the capacity to live one’s purpose and be recognized as worthy in doing so”. This is based on the Aristotelian framework. People want to be heard. They need to be appreciated. They crave affiliation with others who share their passion. They want to matter. If the workplace provides an opportunity for these needs to be realized, every person will give their best (contribution and commitment) to that work. There is more…..

Group Culture: We often are unaware of how powerfully group culture affects our thoughts, feelings, and actions. Culture is a force to be reckoned with. I believe Group culture is like collective personality. It drives our behavior even when we are unconscious of that fact just like our individual personality and temperament drive our individual behavior. Examples abound of how decisions, actions, problems, projects, etc have been mastered or derailed by this invisible force. Let’s talk about it.

Spirit and Wisdom:  You are probably thinking, “what’s this got to do with business, work, play, socializing, or politics?” I believe that spiritual wisdom (however you may get to it) is at the center of everything we do. For example, the business practice of brainstorming is based on the spiritual principle of “two or more gathered together”. We create breakthrough when we trust and act on basic truths. I’ve got a lot to say about this. Won’t you join me?

Finding Yourself: We all at some time or other have been on a quest to find ourselves. Haven’t you encountered children who act up or stray from your teaching in the name of “finding myself”? Well, I believe that every person is called, gifted, equipped, and led to do unique things in life. Seeking to know who we are should center on discovering (and then recognizing) our uniqueness. Finding the Unique U (trademarked) is a guide to awakening to your gifts, your calling, your talents, and your passion. Can we have fun talking about this?…

But first let me remind you who I am and why I feel compelled to participate in this dialogue.

Professionally, I am a consultant, speaker, author, facilitator, and coach. Personally, I am a husband, son, father, sibling, and friend. Socially, I am an introvert, giver, leader, coach, and teacher. I feel fortunate that I live a relatively integrated life. That is, I feel no need to separate or compartmentalize my roles in life. I can be the same person in each area. I coach clients (business and civic leaders), family (sons and daughters, and yes grandchildren), peers, and anyone else who comes into my sphere of influence, sometimes whether they ask for it or not. I look for “teaching moments” with everyone. I write about relationships (manager-employee, etc.). I speak about diversity (management) and the relationship issues that come with it. And, I consult on the soft-skills of business management. It’s all tied together.

So many people have been touched and helped by these activities. I want to start a movement to make the principles used in my work available and accessible to millions more people.