When I set out to establish the core values for our company 20 years ago, the first was easy. Faith is our first and most important core value. The word itself conjures different thoughts and reactions from different people, and I am asked frequently what it means for our first core value to be faith.
The dictionary definition of faith is as follows:
Faith – noun
- Complete trust or confidence in someone or something
- Strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof
From the scholastic perspective, faith is our first core value because we must be worthy of others’ complete trust and confidence if we are to be a valued resource for our manufacturer clients and customers. As a professional services company, if we do not have the faith of those we serve, our business forecasts will be bleak. Every person in our company must be committed to earning the faith of those we serve, and having faith on every business card and list of manufacturer clients we present is a reminder that we hold ourselves accountable for being worthy of this faith.
Looking at faith from a more spiritual point of view, I think the dictionary definition has it wrong. When I think of faith in God, it makes more sense to me that faith is a verb rather than a noun. A noun is just a something that is, and it can be inanimate and passive. Spiritual faith cannot be like this. Spiritual faith must be synonymous with action. For people of the Christian faith tradition, we are reminded of a Bible passage from the Book of James, Chapter 2 Verses 14-19. Summarized, the message is that faith without action is not faith at all, and to truly have faith requires action. In this view, the faith we profess in God is the way we behave, the way we treat others, the way we serve others. This is why faith is the most important of our core values. Our actionable faith gives us hope, guides us in the way we treat others, creates a framework for our relationships, and teaches us to honor one another.
Faith is not just a business value, faith is a life value, and we want the people we serve to know that we are authentic, vulnerable, and consistent in the way we conduct ourselves. It is very important to me that the people of our company are the same person on Monday morning as they are on Sunday morning at church and Saturday night with their friends and family.