American clergy man and author Maltbie Babcock once said, “Business is religion, and religion is business. The man who does not make a business of his religion has a religious life of no force, and the man who does not make a religion of his business has a business life of no character.” Often a business owner or entrepreneur may need to look or lean on their religion to deal with the hurdles of their business. Religion may also impact their business as a whole. How an entrepreneur practices their business or the rules they follow, their ethics and guidelines, some of this can be attributed to their religion. So how exactly does religion affect your business?
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Taking everyone's beliefs into account
Running a software company in South East Asia comes with its own challenges, especially when it comes to religion. Whether it's prayer breaks for Muslim employees, custom holiday requests, blessing of office locations by local monks or re-using holiday decorations for a total of three new years every year (Western, Chinese and Thai). You want to take everyone's requests and beliefs into account while at the same time making sure there is no preferential treatment either. As a whole this works very well, especially if it's a very homogeneous group, a very liberal one or a very diverse one with no dominant faction. It can be a source of light-hearted worries if certain rituals require attendance of a specific number of people of a specific religion and gender – not uncommon in a primary Buddhist country – and you are struggling to find the necessary employees.
Thanks to Karsten Aichholz, Fintaras Co., Ltd
Knowledge and philosophy give me an advantage
Since I wear a head-covering, my religious affiliation is very apparent from the get-go. My entire business coaching philosophy is rooted in Jewish beliefs that each individual has a unique mission in life and has been endowed by God with the talents suited for the task at hand. Jewish teachings are replete with amazing insights on human psychology and business ethics. These are the materials I bring to the table as part of my coaching sessions. My knowledge and philosophy set me apart from other colleagues. While this approach may not be right for everyone, it works very well for my clients, who are for the most part people of faith.
Thanks to Leah Aharoni, LoveYourBiz
Transforming the world in accordance with our values and worldview
Simply if you're not in business because it is the fullest and most complete expression of your soul, you're part of the problem. Once you internalize your values and start living them as Patagonia or Buck Knives or my company, EVR1, does, there is no such thing as “work” or “retirement”, you are on a crusade, one to serve not just your customers, but all of humanity and the planet. We are practicing our religion all day everyday, seeking to transform the world in accordance with our values and worldview. In organizations where this is not made explicit, personal values and vices triumph. As such religion is essential to success or the business drifts and bloats, folks begin to see their days as wage slaves, working for paychecks or “the weekend”.
Thanks to Brandon Peele, EVR1
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Honoring Biblical principles
As a Christian, I believe it's important to honor the principles that are written in the Bible in every business transaction and to set the best example on honesty and integrity that I can.
Thanks to Denielle Lue, Stitch to My Lue Promotions
My LDS religion impacts my desire to help
As the president and founder of Familius.com, a transmedia publishing company focused on helping families be happy, my LDS (Mormon) religion significantly impacts my business decisions from the desire to help families succeed to the daily interaction I have with staff, authors, and vendors. In the seminal business book *Good to Great*, author Jim Collins repeatedly talks about values and how companies and leaders with strong values tend to out-compete their competitors. For me my religion has provided a strong value system and a foundation on which to make good, long term decisions. I realize that the customers are everyone I work with, whether an author, a book buyer, an outsourced designer, or a distribution partner. I find that if I govern my relationship with these partners according to the principles of integrity, honesty, hard work, respect, and even love, that the relationship is stronger and can withstand economic and other challenges. For me, these values, while universal, were ingrained in me through my religious upbringing.
Thanks to Christopher Robbins, Familius
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Being true to my religion and core values
Within my executive consulting and coaching practice, the part religion plays is specific to my core values. I make it my goal to be positive and giving and sometimes even forgiving. My belief is if I am not consistent with my religious values (Lutheran), how will I have the moral courage to advise my clients when something is wrong or turn down those clients that are not a good fit for me or my solutions? One does not need to verbalize one’s religious convictions to live them on a consistent basis. People judge you based on your behaviors, what they observe and for me my religion is embedded within those behaviors.
Thanks to Leanne Hoagland-Smith, Advanced Systems
Demonstrate faith through actions
As a pastor, Christian and president of my own training company, my faith plays a large role in my business’ vision and practices. My goal is to demonstrate my faith through my actions in every training and coaching engagement—mostly in the way I conduct business, the way I treat clients, and my use of language. The way I do business from paying bills on time, to treatment of vendors, as well as dealing with clients, need to fit in with my beliefs and demonstrate Jesus’ love in action. In addition to incorporating my faith in my actions, I also tithe from my business income.
Thanks to Henriet Schapelhouman
My faith serves as a reminder to demonstrate servant-leadership
As a devout Catholic, my faith affects my daily life as a wife, mother and chairwoman and chief executive officer of The Dwyer Group, an international enterprise that acts as the parent company for seven service-based franchise companies. Although I don't oversee a religious-based company, my faith serves as a constant reminder to focus on the things that are important to me and demonstrate servant-leadership. Like many companies, The Dwyer Group has a mission statement and a vision; but we also have a Code of Values, which each employee is urged to know and follow by heart and with heart. Our Code of Values are based on principals like treating others with respect and showing integrity. I focused on our Code of Values themes of respect, integrity, customer focus and having fun in the process as a roadmap to achieving success when I wrote my book called Live R.I.C.H. Last year I appeared on the Emmy-winning CBS reality show “Undercover Boss” as Faith Brown. I chose the name because of my faith. From following service professionals on the field to seeing our Code of Values in action, I relied on my faith throughout my journey on the show. My faith has greatly affected and impacted my business and business choices like following Our Code of Values, writing Live R.I.C.H. and appearing on “Undercover Boss.”
Thanks to Dina Dwyer-Owens, The Dwyer Group
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Religion is my business
Religion is my business. Sounds odd- I'm not a Priest or Rabbi. I'm an author and speaker talking to families about trusting their gut and standing up for themselves. I spend big chunks of my time making a footprint on the net just to get out there and connect with moms. So, where does religion come in? Ready to get philosophical? Well, religion is where our values come from. Push comes to shove, values can only exist in a society based on God – otherwise, values become relative and just another preference. I speak to moms about how to talk to doctors, to their children, how to approach their challenges. These “how tos” of human behavior are ultimately grounded in values and therefore religion.
Thanks to Haleh Rabizadeh, Little Patient Big Doctor
The ministry of moving people to new homes
I accepted years ago my ministry was moving people to new homes. ( I wish prophet was available or miracle worker, but they must have been taken already) I realized that I was in a unique position to help people going through a very stressful time. So I try to bring empathy and grace to the day. I think of St Francis words every day, “Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words.” We use our tagline in all our advertising, “Faith can move mountains, for everything else there is BD Movers!” It's been an ongoing discussion with business friends that I'm aliening customers with that line, yet we see we are attracting clients that share our views.
Thanks to Tony “Tiger” Baumer, BD Movers
Making a vessel
I'm Jewish, and Judaism makes clear that to obtain God's Blessing (for material welfare)-which in a way is always given-one needs to make a vessel to receive and contain it. On one hand, making a vessel means following God's Commandments, like loving your fellow like yourself, giving charity, honoring your parents, and praying for sustenance. But on the other hand, making a vessel also means working harder in the business side of things to achieve your goals, while keeping the perspective that, even where I exert my own effort, my livelihood comes from God and from God alone. And so when my business produces sustenance for my family and me, even though I worked hard to achieve it, at the end of the day I am thankful to God for providing.
Thank you for Ian Aronovich, GovernmentAuctions
Thank you for sharing and all the great and insightful responses.