Jodi’s Journal: If you’re a leader during the workweek, lead on Sunday too

Aug. 5, 2018

“It’s really neat to see you at church.”

Someone said that to me several months ago after a Mass at St. Joseph Cathedral, and I really wasn’t sure how to respond. I subsequently have had others comment that they’ve noticed me in church, and I still don’t have a ready reply.

I think it’s because, to me, this is nothing unusual. I grew up going to church, I’m there nearly every week, and I don’t really consider it an optional thing. I occasionally go to daily Mass, which I’d encourage anyone to try as a valuable pause in the workday.

I will acknowledge, though, that I’m not exactly part of a strong majority.

There is a distinct divide in America between those who attend religious services and those who don’t. A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found 51 percent attend regularly – at least once per month – and 49 percent attend rarely.

I suspect the numbers in Sioux Falls might be a bit higher, but as I thought about the observation that I attended, I thought further about who else I see in the pews.

I always enjoy seeing fellow business leaders. It’s a reminder that no matter how our paths cross professionally during the week, we share a common faith. But if I’m being honest, I don’t really see that many of them. And I don’t always go to the same location or at the same time, so I think I get a decent sampling.

Based on those off-handed comments I receive, I will suggest to my counterparts who maybe don’t make it as much of a habit to practice their faith publicly to consider it.

It clearly gets noticed. And while we don’t do it for that reason, I don’t think it hurts when people see those they consider leaders in the community regularly connecting to their faith. It certainly doesn’t hurt us, either.

There’s a great opportunity to do that this week, with Thursday’s Faith & Business conference. I’ve moderated this event the past several years, and I always enjoy the sense of community and insight that’s fostered there.

The theme this year is Business: A Force for Good. The event’s consistent message has been about taking Sunday into Monday. That’s something that can always stand reinforcement. Sometimes, I feel like people leave Sunday’s teachings behind before they even navigate out of the church parking lot, much less by the time they get to the office Monday.

The event is organized by the Catholic Men’s Business Fraternity, but it’s open to all, and those of any faith are encouraged to attend. To learn more and register, click here.

I am amazed in Sioux Falls by the growth of churches that don’t strongly affiliate with any particular denomination. I’ve wondered for years now what they’re doing to attract a huge base of young adults when more traditional churches find it challenging.

The Pew research presents some important insight there too. Among U.S. adults who have looked for a new place to worship, these were the factors that by far played the most important role in their choice:

  • Quality of sermons: 83 percent.
  • Feeling welcomed by their leaders: 79 percent.
  • Style of services: 74 percent.

I think there could be some takeaways for businesses here too. Think about the messages you send to your employees – from who delivers them to how they are communicated. That can go a long way toward building loyalty and community in your workplace, much as it appears to be doing in these growing places of worship.

One of the speakers at the Faith & Business conference will be GreatLIFE CEO Tom Walsh Sr., who has built strong loyalty with his employees over the years. I remember when he was CEO of Dakota King how many of his Burger King employees stayed with his restaurants for decades. You have to be doing something right to keep people in an industry with that kind of turnover.

I told him I was writing a column ahead of the event and asked what he was planning to discuss. I should have been able to guess.

“God-cidence and servant leadership,” he immediately wrote back.

“God-cidence” might be one of his favorite words. I’ve definitely heard him use it many times. He has said it in the context of his business ventures and how people and partnerships have come together. I’ve heard him say it about his philanthropic endeavors and how he has been in the right place to help people at the right time.

When we lead businesses, sometimes we give ourselves a bit more credit than we might deserve. We think it’s our own skill, strategy, ingenuity or cleverness that lead to success, instead of gifts we’ve been given to use for good. Call those moments when things come together a “God-cidence” instead, and you’re reminded of who’s really in control.

I look forward to Tom’s talk and to the others who will be there – especially my counterparts in the business community. I hope you can join us too.

Jodi’s Journal: If you’re a leader during the workweek, lead on Sunday too

There is a distinct divide in America between those who attend religious services and those who don’t. But if you’re a business leader, consider publicly practicing your faith.

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