An interesting spotlight on a topic rarely discussed, via the BBC:
Saying prayers with colleagues would feel a bit uncomfortable, too intimate an activity in the workplace for many people. Yet at Chinese real estate giant Tiantai Group, known as Tentimes Group in English, that is exactly what they do in the boardroom before making important decisions. Three-quarters of the firm’s eight-strong senior management team are Christians and founder and chairman Wang Ruoxiong, who himself became a Christian seven years ago, says that when the company has to make difficult decisions, it turns to the Bible for guidance. In fact, he goes as far to say that it’s not him but God running the firm. “He controls everything. I am merely a housekeeper of Jesus, assisting him in taking care of the company,” he says. Mr Wang admits that Christian beliefs alone have not driven the firm’s success, acknowledging that employees’ technical skills such as marketing and sales capability have also played a big part. But he believes that following Christian values have helped to make the firm more effective. He says that employees feel cared for, helping them to perform better, and that treating the company’s suppliers more fairly has created stronger relationships with them, for example. He also believes his approach is unique, which he says will help the company to survive despite increasing competition. “When the senior managers at the top are willing to use the values in their own work and life, the values are passed down. Eventually they become the shared values of the common employees of the entire company. “At that time, the company becomes truly irreplaceable,” he says. Nonetheless meeting a company boss who is so open about his religion at work is rare. While organisations themselves must make allowances for their staff to be able to practise their religious faith, providing prayer rooms for example, those at the top normally keep their beliefs private. Typically they’re wary of being seen as promoting their own faith to those below them.
This reminded me of one memorable Ash Wednesday when I was working at CBS. I brought in a small container of ashes to the newsroom, and sent out a mass email, alerting a couple dozen people that I would be available to give out ashes in one of the offices during the lunch hour. About a dozen people showed up—including the President of CBS News.