Where’s a good place to meet today’s successful American business managers? Try a church or synagogue.
Forty percent of all Americans say they worship at church or synagogue “on a regular basis.” However, a recent survey of 100 executives at large companies reported by Moody Bible Institute indicates that 65 percent of senior people at those companies do — and it’s the tip of a trend that holds true among small business owners and executives as well.
All respondents, no matter the size of their organizations, were eager to dispel the myth that they go to worship services simply to make contacts, to “see and be seen.” Several respondents emphasized they went because their careers placed them “under stress,” and they were “seeking meaning, inspiration and guidance for their lives.”
Involvement in a house of worship is particularly beneficial for small business executives, who often find themselves under concentrated stress and without a built-in support system that is part of many larger corporations.
One respondent to the survey said he believes his gifts and skills were entrusted to him by God for “maximum self-development and useful service to one’s fellows – to live a rich life and be a credit to his Creator.” Other respondents said viewing business decisions in a spiritual context helps place “decisions of the moment” into proper perspective.
An example of a renewed interest in things spiritual among America’s business people is a weekly Bible study held in a midtown Manhattan hotel, led by a rabbi, which brings people of all faiths together to examine Biblical stories for their practical application in the business world. The emphasis is decidedly non-sectarian (“Go to your house of worship for that,” the rabbi says), but on bringing out such practical lessons as Moses’ negotiating style with Pharaoh, and how it led to the results achieved.
Survey respondents who described themselves as “spiritual” said they drew a close correlation between spiritual values and running organizations where “power is shared, and given away to other talented members of the team,” instead of being tightly, hierarchically controlled — a hallmark small business advantage. They also reported a “deep respect for associates,” lower emphasis on fixing blame and “winning” or “losing” internal battles, and rated “team building” highly.
Many spiritually active survey participants said their spirituality afforded them perspective and judgment they would not otherwise have, and said it helped them “deal with mistakes in a creative way” encouraging growth, instead of seeking to punish the person responsible.