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What’s More Important?

In a business, what is more important, people or process, relationships or product? Or to clarify, what is more important in a commercial enterprise, people and relationships or process and product?

My guess is that some of us would say that this is a no-brainer. But I’m also guessing that among those of us who think the answer is obvious, we’d find ourselves on both sides of the issue.

Maybe I’m wrong. Would love to hear a good discussion about this over the weekend, and hope we can hear from those who have had experience from both “management” and “the floor.”

Would also like to hear how people on both sides (if that happens :-) would support their comments from experience, management training, and or the wisdom of the Bible.

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43 Responses to “What’s More Important?”

  1. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    Thanks, God!

    March 29, 2010 — by Dave Branon
    From Our Daily Bread

    Read: Psalm 105:1-5

    At RBC Ministries, our human resources team has developed an effective and encouraging program that centers around gratefulness.

    When an employee notices something good another employee does here at the office, he or she can take a special “Thank You” card provided by human resources and write a note of appreciation. It’s a good feeling to walk into your office and find one of those cards on your desk.

    Isn’t it great to be thanked for a job well done? Doesn’t a good, hearty “thank you” brighten your day? And doesn’t it make your relationships a little more special—just to know that your work is not being taken for granted?

    Everybody loves to be thanked. Even God. Our heavenly Father finds pleasure in our expression of thanks to Him. It’s His will that we tell Him “Thank You.” “Give thanks in all circumstances,” Paul said, “for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (1 Thess. 5:18 niv). The writer of Hebrews took it a step further by saying, “Let us be thankful, and so worship God” (12:28 niv).

    Keep looking for ways to improve your relationship with God. Don’t forget what may be the most basic way to worship and honor Him: Tell Him “Thanks.”

    Then let us adore and give Him His right,
    All glory and power, all wisdom and might,
    All honor and blessing, with angels above,
    And thanks never ceasing for infinite love. —Wesley

    The worship most acceptable to God comes from a thankful heart.

    I remembered this ODB Devotional as it blessed me at the time as I was not appreciated in my last job and never once thanked.
    Surely we work to benefit ourselves and to provide wealth for the community.
    There must be a fine ballance between the two as people and relationships must be more important than wealth
    I know in the UK that, under Maggie Thatcher we adopted allot of US business practices that seemed to put process and profit before people and the joy has totally gone from the work place here.

    Maybe we should bring Christian Love and principles back into the work place and then we will avoid disasters like the bank collapse and people will smile again at 5pm when the they leave work and not run for the pub to take away the pain of life.
    Thank God Jesus is coming back soon as He is the only one who can achieve this.


  2. wearetheservice says:

    Thanks Mart!

    Bob in Cornwall’s comment was inspiring. There does need to be balance between “people and relationships” and “process and product”.

    We have discovered that in commercial enterprise “process and product” comes first. It is life blood of the commercial enterprise.

    Notwithstanding, people and relationships are the bodily organs of commercial enterprise.

    The management or head of the commercial enterprise is responsible for keeping the people and relationships in good shape to maintain its life blood or process and product.

    Bob’s comments refer to our preference of a “heart of Christ” to influence all of it so that the commercial enterprise can glorify GOD.

    For our company, we are working on a better process and product synergy.


  3. SFDBWV says:

    Bob, I thought your statements were excellent. Always, experiance is the best teacher.

    Mart, My first thoughts on the topic *What’s More Important?* is, that it is relevent.

    I have the pleasure of experiance on both sides of the topic. Human resources and profit.

    Whithout the bottom line being profitable, there is no people employed.

    Without people there is no product and no profit.

    The two must work together for the benifit of both.

    Any company training discussion will agree that a company’s best assets are their employees.

    Smaller companies have a much better track record in the ability to have a family atmosphere, with reguards to it’s employees. Having a more personal relationship with each other.

    While larger corporations tend to seperate the employee from the *suits* upstairs. that seperation creating distrust.

    However larger companies have the fianacial resorces to spend on benifits that are a large part of an employees wage package.

    I have seen large corpoartions slash tens of thousands of employees, saddly it is interesting to watch the action cheered on at the Wall Street level. Meaning I guess, that there will be profit for the stockholder as a result of the action. People not mattering in the final result of profit. While their CEO gets a 100 million dollar bonus.

    Bob, the last company I worked for had a similar employee recognition system, in it any employee could recognize anothers good work and as a result the company would issue the recognized employee with a little bonus check, usually good at some area store.

    The company also had other incentive bonuses that rewarded good work as well as good work attitude.

    It was very successful.


  4. marma says:

    Having worked “on the floor” and now working in kind of a middle management position, I find that it is not so much a balancing act as a pull in different directions, at least at the middle management level. I try to help those who rely on me for immediate help, but then I also have to perform project tasks to benefit the whole group eventually, and that may mean neglecting the immediate. My heart goes to the people just trying to get their work done, and I want to alleviate those people’s frustrations, so my tendency is to give them priority over product or process. However, my bosses are interested in product and process so I can’t neglect those, either.

    My experience right now is that a lot of work is done that is more political — make my group look good, make so and so happy because they are higher up in the chain and can make your group’s ability to get things done harder; the new boss’s philosophy of what the priorities are are different from what mine or what his predecessor’s were and now that drives the time we put into certain projects.

    Of course, I’ve also worked with Christian orgs that have had similar dynamics, though not harsh and soul-less as my secular workplace seems to be.

    I think that when it comes to people, process, etc., it still comes down to seeing God as my boss, working to please Him, and that sometimes means spending more time helping a coworker and being willing to take the flack (or lack of recognition) for that, and then sometimes having to say, “I’d really like to help you, but I have this due for my boss. If we could get together later, then I’ll have more time.”

    People must come first, but what that means in open to interpretation. If our priorities are aligned aright, then the processes and the product will follow.

    “Important” seems a little vague because all those things are important; however, people must always be the priority.

    Here is the idealist talking: If people are a priority, then I won’t manufacture something junky that will fall apart, I won’t make decisions that would make me rich at the sacrifice of my employees ability to feed their families, and I won’t advocate a process that though efficient, puts my employees in physical danger.

    God has to give the wisdom and provide the balance. I’m not including any scripture here, so I’d appreciate others input in that way.

  5. bubbles says:

    There was once an administrator at a place of former employment. He told us in a group meeting that no one was tenured where we worked. He said we were all “contracted” for the one single year to work there. As a group, we were made to feel like no one was doing their best, and had meetings about being excellent. The tone was that no one was doing their best and the best was unattainable. What we did was never good enough or pleasing to him. This administration made me confused because deep down I was trying to do the best that I knew how to do. The product was tenfold more important than the PEOPLE.

    Another administrator came along a few years later. Most of the same people were working there. This man poured out encouragement and affirmation to us. He left little notes of kindness on our desks aobut small things we were doing. The morale of everyone made a complete 180 degrees. His encouragement edified all of us. Like Eph. 4:39b says he “. . .ministered grace unto the hearers.”

    When I’m at work, I just want to do my job right and well. I don’t expect thanks or kudos. When I go to sleep at night, just knowing that I did the best I could that day is enough. But, the 2nd administrator showed he really cared for all of us–as a PERSON and not just a worker. It really made a huge difference.

    The Lord used Solomon to tell us that A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

  6. marma says:

    Amen, Bubbles.

  7. marma says:

    SFDBWV said: “Smaller companies have a much better track record in the ability to have a family atmosphere, with reguards to it’s employees.”

    I think what you are saying is true, but I’ve been in small companies where the leadership was all about the money, and I’m currently in a large organization that, depending on who the boss is, cares about the people, a job well done, but also in some areas, care more about the politics and getting ahead. In a large organization it can be a mixture, and the leadership set the tone for that.

    Sometimes small companies or departments in large companies exhibit a clickishness that is exclusionary unless you are in the inner circle. There is no guarantee of the family atmosphere just because a business is small.

    I feel as though I’m being really negative on this subject, but I am speaking from experience rather than the ideal.

  8. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    You are right about some small companies.
    My previous job was with a small “family” business run by a husband and wife.
    The wife only worked part time, but everything had to stop if she wanted something done. Sometimes it was impossible to answer her questions on when a job could be fitted in. There were only five employees who were mainly friends and family, me being the only outsider.
    I was there nearly five years and was slowly pushed out of any decision making and was expected to perform my job with no input from above.
    I was the service manager and ran all the servicing and repairs on mobility equipment in care homes etc.
    When I was sacked, God told me that week that He had hardened theirs hearts just like He did with Pharaoh in Egypt because, if He hadn’t, I would still be there being bullied and under oppression.
    The same with Israel, they would still be in Egypt and the wrong side of the Red sea if Pharaoh had not pursued them.
    Sometimes we put up with situations because we can see no alternative, luckily for us God sees everything!


  9. SFDBWV says:

    I have had the priviledge of working for the best and the worst people for huge corporations and small family businesses.

    I worked for a fellow who insisted nothing leave the shop unless it was done right, as perfect as we could do the job. He and his wife were wonderful people to work for, often when we had to work late his wife would fix us dinner and bring it down to the shop so we could eat. However, they were limited in how much they could pay as well as unable to offer such things as retirement or medical benifits.

    I’ve also worked amid the thousands of little people who made up the workforce of huge corporations. In this environment, the tensions of work were intense. Always the threat of being fired or laid off, there being plenty of hungry others out there who want your job.

    I have a long lifetime of examples and experiance, but no matter where you are, or which side of the workforce you find yourself, it is about how you treat other people or how you are treated, that makes the difference in whether or not the experiance is pleasent or not. As well as whether or not there is a better product, or just… *Good enough*.

    I believe it was in Job that it is stated, whatever you do, do to the best of your ability.

    With this kind of attitude, as an employer or employee, you do your best for the goal of your business.

    There is the full range of personalities in every work place. You or I can only be responsible for our own attitude and accomplishments.

    For me, what’s more important is that I do the best I can, in whatever work I do, that I make being with me in the work place a happy and safe expreiance for others. That as a Christian I share my faith with others and show my faith in my work attitude and treatment of others.

    In this I want to please God and inso doing be successful, in all I undertake.


  10. SFDBWV says:

    Yes, in every work place there are others who, take credit for your work, blame you for their failures, lie, steal, cheat, and manage to escape what you consider judgement.

    This is how the world is, and the same dirty things that sin creates are found there at work.

    Yet the Bible gives us reason to have patience and faith that in the end, good will win out over evil, that we can have peace.

    Keeping our minds and eyes fixed upon Christ, nothing else matters. That we might share in His wounds and afflictions, His insullts and humilliations…to His glory.


  11. BruceC says:

    Steve makes a very good point. The workplace is a reflection of the world. I can be like urban life or rural life. People are usually at their worst in a crowded enviorment. It becomes more “dog eat dog” and competitive. In a smaller atmosphere people are usually more laid back and relaxed. Worked in both type of places and prefer the smaller type. I was blessed to have worked and retired from a small law enforcement agency that was like family; although part of a larger local goverment that had benefits and retirement. Wish I was still there; it grows on you. But you can only do that work for so long; and 27 years is enough I guess. I had three jobs after retiring; and two of those were of the large type of business and very unpleasant. It is tough to keep up Christian values in those situations.
    In my experience people are more important because in the end they will likely put forth the best product or service.


  12. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    I do my very best as if it is for Jesus, sometimes I come home from work so exhausted I just fall asleep to wake up the next morning ready for the same.
    Other times I fail and go to the pub for a pint, just to wined down.
    Even Jesus had a glass of wine to relax!


  13. dja says:

    Good Morning All!

    Steve: The verse that came to my mind when you wrote about doing whatever you do to the best of your ability was one of the verses that I helped my 1st graders (in a Christian school, of course) commit to memory. It’s Ecclesiastes 9:10 – “Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might, for in the grave, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.”
    My husband just retired from a large army depot where he was a shop steward in his last few years. I asked him why he wanted this pressure. He said he took the job because he felt they needed someone who could see both sides. And that is what he did. Sometimes he would have to gently tell the worker that he was wrong and had to take responsibility for his actions. Other times he would have to speak with management about their unfair treatment of a worker. When he retired both management and the union president said they were sorry to see him go and thanked him for his service. I, of course, was thankful that he no longer had all that pressure:-) Although he could not quote Scripture, he found he could certainly use the principles of God’s Word to determine the action for each case, and helping him to be patient and understanding. I also believe the Lord used previous employments, some good, some not so good, to help him have a better understanding of both sides.
    Have a blessed day!

  14. Regina says:

    Good Morning All,

    I hope all is well in your lives. Haven’t been available to chat with you in awhile but I’ve been reading the blog posts and comments in an effort to catch up. :-)

    I have a praise report and a prayer request.

    Praise Report: The Lord worked out my situation with my Lender (student loan). They were SO much nicer and willing to help me when I contacted them last week and this week. I’m now paying my loan back (by faith), and I submitted my first payment this week! Thank you for your prayers, foreverblessed, and all who prayed for me.

    tandgmartin (7/23 11:04 am) – You’re welcome! :-) That hymn was a blessing to me too!

    Prayer Request: I have a friend who’s going through a “valley of the shadow of death” experience in her life right now. Her name is Lisa, and she confided in me that the tribulation/battle in her life is so great right now that she’s considering giving up…giving in to the temptation to quit fighting.

    Please pray with me for her…she’s going through horrible marital situations, and other family situations that are draining her of spiritual strength. Thank you for your prayers, and I’ll talk to you soon.

    Love & Blessings,

  15. rokdude5 says:

    Mart, What comes to my mind and heart is 1 Corinthian 12 where Paul use the analogy of comparing different positions that one would find in a church with the various parts of the body. Each part is essential and should be honored and have equal concerns for one another including “…the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor.” verse 23

    Every place that Ive worked at had one of those who we think shouldnt be honored at all but we are called to do the opposite. Easier said than done but its the least we should do considering the ultimate price Jesus paid for us. RJ

  16. poohpity says:

    One of the places I worked which was a medical detox unit, the supervisor made us all read the policy and procedure handbook before we ever began to do our job. She went by it for every employee no matter what position they held. It was an excellent guideline and all employees knew where they stood. The company grew and the employees were treated with respect. When she left to run a nonprofit food bank the next person worked on the principles of favoritism which created a lot of dissension among the workers. That in turn caused back biting and scratching to see who could rally for positioning in the company.

    That reminded me of what people do when they do not read the policies and procedures written in the bible. We all have a guideline to follow and God is that just leader who gives all the same rules to go by because they work. Even with all the different personalities the only way that there will be continuity in care is to understand the policies and procedures which fit every circumstance and every person. That allows each individual to celebrate their uniqueness while not hindering another to grow.

  17. marma says:

    poohpity–your post reminded me of Ephesians 5 and 6. Ephesians 5 where we are told to be imitators of God, as dearly loved children, and the admonition in Ephesians 6 where Masters and Servants are told what their behavior should be one to the other.

    I think a fair employee’s handbook and consistency from bosses goes along with how Masters should treat their servants–honestly and not abusing them. For servants, as for employees, they are to respond in working wholeheartedly, whether their bosses are fair or not.

    Jesus came as a servant and had to put up with unbelief, reviling, and being accused of all sorts of things, yet, as he served his Father, he always did what pleased Him. What an example for us! Through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus lives through us those very behaviors and attitudes.

  18. pegramsdell says:

    I work for a family business that hires around 200 and I work in the office. The family is christian and they are very generous. They take the time to really know all of the employees. Some of the employees out in the shop and in the office are in their 80’s now and still working full time. Some have been there 40 plus years. We have a devotion service every Tuesday morning and sometimes we have guest ministers and groups come in. We have someone in the office who makes birthday cakes for every employee. She bakes almost every day. I love it there and I know when I had the cancer and the down time, they never forgot me, and took care of me, even though I was only there 1 year. They said they want me to work there for the rest of my life. Awesome. Thank You Jesus!

    also….a little off topic….just saw DOD, “Living in the wilderness of life.” Wow! Thank you Mart. I was watching and listening and the next thing I know, I was crying. I felt that God was speaking to me and telling me that He knows right where I am and that He is aware of everything going on in my life right now. That He is not going to leave me in my wilderness. I felt very special and loved and cleansed after watching that program. Thanks Mart and team. I love you all for ministering to me. Wish I could put a thank you card on your desks. :)

  19. bubbles says:

    (A little off-topic)
    Like Peg 2 posts above stated, I too saw your wilderness program with Michael Card on DOD this morning. Thank both of you for your honest and genuine thoughts that were shaared this morning. I’m sure many, many believers were encouraged by you this morning.

  20. SisVee says:

    Peace and Blessings to you Mart and RBC!
    First giving honor and praise to God and thanking Him for you all as this ministry is a true blessing to the world and one that I can truly say is “genuine” to the core of your faith.

    I can speak to both sides of the issue as I have also been a supervisor. Either way, it’s a challenge to be a Christian in the business world, whether it’s the process or the product. As an underling, I have had to face being underappreciated and made to see and feel the almighty dollar as the bottom line; if the customer is happy then fine, but that was NOT always the major, or sometimes even minor concern. Unfortunately, I have had to leave jobs because of having to face immoral and sometimes even illegal practices that employer/owners would not budge from. The main focus for me was always to follow Jesus’ commandment to “love one another”…and that was not easy on either level.

    As a supervisor, I had to deal with a regional manager that was a hard-nose and didn’t care directly about our reps, only that they did sometimes incredible feats of making deadlines and made him look good to the “powers that be”, while I tried to make sure they got what they needed as far as just compensation and fair treatment. And although they rarely if ever got “kudos” from anyone else, I always made sure they got it from ME!

    When dealing with customers and products, I have had to chose between using unscrupulous marketing practices and pushing products on customers they couldn’t afford or didn’t need, and using my heart and good customer service and put them first which would sometimes not allow me to meet quotas and thus the department’s bottom line (financial goal) would not be met.

    On the other side, as an employee dealing with the “process”, I have had to “fudge” numbers to make sure that clients got the desired results on the submitted reports; and was specifically told by my manager (who was under direction of the owners) to ignore any discrepancies I would find and fudge results, which went directly against my Christian values, and honesty/integrity period! Receiving kudos/bonuses for our “good work” was bittersweet as it was due to the methods/practices we were forced to utilize to get those results. I tried to stay with the job as long as I could, praying all the time; one good thing that came out of standing my ground as a Christian was having a positive affect on my co-workers, who some of which were also Christians and/or new converts. They would even start playing gospel music on their computers, and would even ask me to see my “Our Daily Bread” which I would have on my desk daily!

    The main point in dealing with both the process and the product is to do like anything else, put God First!!! Let Him direct our paths and know that there will be times when we will be faced with making tough decisions in all aspects of business. The most important thing…PEOPLE! Whether it’s employees or customers, we must not lose sight of that! The Word tells us to work as if unto God, so do your best and let Him handle the rest!!! Hallelujah!!!

  21. saled says:

    pegramsdell, you are blessed! Wish all work places could be like yours.

    I do not work for a commercial business; I work at a school. Schools everywhere are having to cut back on personnel, and our principal shared with the staff what her school management class taught as the method of cutting people. Most school contracts have a process for cutting the new people; however, the new people might be the best teachers. In that case, you make life difficult for the people that you want to leave. If it is like this in a small school, I can only imagine how bad it can get in a commercial business.

    Do we want the best teachers in school? Yes. Does this method of getting rid of the less talented teachers smack of Darwin’s survival of the fittest? Yes. Glad I am one of the small people instead of one at the top.

  22. bubbles says:

    This teacher has observed what you have described many, many times.

  23. Elaa says:


    In my thinking and experience, it beocmes necessary to balance “people and relationships” and “process and product” when people don’t really understand “people and relationships”.

    I’ve found the the thinking that when you focus on “people and relationships” it is possible for it to be read to mean there aren’t any goals and objectives here, so the “process and product” doesn’t really matter. In the end, “process and product” suffers, and the basis for this, a healthy “people and relatioships” background, eventually suffers.

    Diane was so committed to me as a person, and we have a healthy work relationship, that her vision for the organization became rather personal to me, and I was very committed to our “process and product”. Her appreciation for my commitment further strengthened our relationship which in turn continued to challenge my productivity, and round and round we kept going. And so, even though I’ve moved out of state and stop working for her over three years ago, she still took one hour of her Sunday not too long ago, to catch up with me, and how things were fairing in my personal life!

    On the other hand, I know a boss, who is just so weighed down by her employee taking advantage of their relationship to be minimally productive, and an employee who feels sad her commitment is being abused by an unrewarding process of operation.

    What is more important? Am not sure. But I do believe striking a balance is vital.

  24. mlj says:

    People or Process? It must be both. You have to insist on moral, ethical – lets call it what it should be – Christian behavior from your management and hold them accountable for enacting Christian principles and process.
    Having served on both sides of management and non-management in some of the top 100 commercial, contractor and government service companies in the US over the past 28 years, I would like to respond to that question! Each of them claim that “Our people are our greatest asset”. However, in practice nothing could be farther from the truth. A brief overview of the history of American business in the 20th century alone shows a very clear picture of the results of replacing the God centered society with that of a almighty dollar one. What is sadly comical is the almost universal attempts of businesses across the board to sporadically try to enforce “ethical” behavior (read as godly, Christian, Biblical based morals without giving credit to the source) on employees while those in command continue to rape, pillage, defraud and otherwise break every single code of ethics in the company at an alarming rate. They seemingly recognize the value/need for the Christian morals but don’t have the guts to say so, much less model them themselves. I have participated in numerous leadership, High Performance Organization, quality and management training programs where the discussions usually end up (if not start) with the topic of the hypocrisy involved. Leaders must be held to a higher degree of accountability than their staff. To whom much is given, much is required. When you ignore this fact, you subvert your organization and doom it to failure.
    Organizations can never expect their staff to exceed the morality or performance of their leadership. It is not likely that a
    I saw a quote on a bumper sticker yesterday that I thing is quite applicable. To paraphrase it “Tyrants are only limited by the endurance of those they oppress” In like manner, the staff must be held accountable. This mamby-pamby touchy-feely non-confrontational, politically correct farce has gone on long enough. Either act like responsible adults or get out of management. Yes, I understand that there are legal HR guidelines and I am not advocating ignoring them. Usually, problems exist due to inconsistent application or refusal to apply the existing codes to begin with.
    If Christians made more of an effort to carry out our beliefs in business (particularly 1 Cor 13 and Matt 5-6) ourselves and held our staff to the same standards we demonstrated, I believe that we would see an economy stronger than we have ever seen in our lifetime.

  25. poohpity says:

    I wonder what would happen if people did not seek products for instant gratification? I wonder what would happen if there were only a few choices when folks wanted something instead of every product type under the sun? I wonder what would happen if people no longer looked to stuff to satisfy their deepest needs? I wonder what would happen if peoples appetites were quenched by something other than stuff? I wonder what would be more important then?

    There is nothing wrong with free enterprise and making money, how else would people eat. I say yea for those who are in business and no matter what anyone says the most important thing to any business is to make a profit.

    In today’s economy people are dispensable. Only those who do the best job for the least money are desired. If I ran a company I would hire someone to do a job and if they did not preform I would fire them. I have watched over the last 15 years of employees doing only what they needed to do to get a paycheck never anything above or beyond to help the company grow but only what benefited themselves. Employees it seems complain about everything, “If I were running this company, I would,” much to the neglect of their job. I think the bible says that everyone should mind their own business and do their own job well.

    In the bible when Israel was told to take over the promised land God told them when they finished with their own work to help everyone else to clear their land. Wouldn’t that be note worthy to see that in an employee but just like the Israelite’s did only what they could get by with doing which we see the effects of that still today. That is not true of everybody but of the majority it is.

  26. SFDBWV says:

    I said earlier that I could produce a liftime of experiance as well as recount the experiance of others who came before me.

    Because I worked for so long in the coal industry, my experiances and the experiance of those before me is a story of hardships, struggles and confrontations.

    Just in the 20th centry alone, over 100,000 coal miners lost their lives at work.

    In my grandfathers days in the mines it was not uncommon when a miner was killed by falling rock from the roof above, that the miner’s body would be set aside until the end of the shift then taken out with the other men at the shift change.

    The horses or donkeys that were used in mining in thoes days were said to get better treatment than thoes of the miners.

    What is relevent I suppose is whether things have changed for the better treatment of the miner today.

    The miner today is a highly skilled, trained employee and the company has a lot more money invested in keeping him alive and well.

    Yet if you have followed the story of the latest mining disaster, it seems that the company is up to its old tricks of altering safety equipment and violating laws in order to get more production.

    The risk being to the miner, if there are ever fines involved as a result of the deaths of the 23 men involved, it will never be a replacement for their lives.

    So I would guess not much has changed afterall in the mining industry.

    Yet what are we to do?

    People need work in order to live. So they take their chances wherever it is they work. Some trusting their lives to the care of our Lord, others to the technology around them, others to themselves, and yes some to just blind fate.

    In this life we have many choices, in the matter of employment, we can choose to stand up against wrong wherever it is found or ignore it.

    The employee certainly owes it to their employer to do an honest days work for an honest days wage.

    The employer certainly owes it to their employees to provide a safe work environment, the practice of fairness toward all, and a decient wage.

    But we live in a fallen world and the fact is that people, lie, steal, cheat and abuse others, for whatever self serving goal they have in mind.

    What is more important, is, that in the end of all things, we will have to answer to God for our treatment of others….even as an employer or employee…the bottom line, won’t seem very important at that moment.


  27. Dusty-B says:

    Profits or people? I believe we have evidence before us in the present situation in our country what happens when profits are put above people. Disaster!

    I have always believed if people are fairly treated the profits will naturally follow. Simplistic? Yes, but the things God presents to us have always been that way. We complicate matters and fail to see it God’s way.

    In my present situation as an employee of a fifty plus year old family owned company, till now, we enjoyed a great balance of people and the profits that followed.

    What changed? The economy which created an excuse and a change of family leadership which is utilizing the excuse to the profit benefit for itself and ultimate neglect of the people who have made the company what it is today.

    This change has created a frustration level the employees cannot comprehend. They have never experienced this before. The long timers cannot recall a time past where this profit/people concept has occurred.

    The main reason for this frustration is the company was built on Christian principles by the original founders and operated on them the past fifty years.

    When we ignore God’s principles people pay the price.


  28. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    Poohpity – I know my condolences are late, but they’re definitely heartfelt. ..so sorry for the loss of your father.


  29. marma says:

    I think there is fear, too, which is an irrational reason to change business practices. However, before the economic crisis, over confidence perhaps ruled the day and so policies were adopted that were impractical as well.

    I look at that even in regard to my own life; I don’t want to react to the economic situation in fear by making rash decisions that would hurt my family more than the economic crunch already is, yet, at the same time, I need to pay a lot more attention to how I spend my money, and how God would have me be a steward of all my resources, not just the financial ones.

    As others have said, in ones personal life or work life, there needs to be a balance between the needs of the household/company (profit) and the needs of the family/people that run the household/company. I think the best families/companies probably know how to do both.

  30. poohpity says:

    Thank you so much, Regina.

  31. Bob in Cornwall England says:

    At the end of the day, despite how we all may think what should be done, greed rules and the bottom line of profit over people will alway take presidence until Jesus returns to Earth.


  32. davids says:

    Sorry to come late to this interesting discussion. I worked for several years in a large US multi-national, and then some time in medium-sized companies. For almost a decade I have owned and run a company with five employees located in other countries – most of whom I have never met in person.

    “What is more important in a commercial enterprise, people and relationships or process and product?” For me, this question has no meaning.

    Paul used the analogy of parts of the body, but I will use a more modern example of members of a sports team. Some are coaches, some are star players, some take care of the equipment. They are all necessary, but not all receive the same compensation or attention.

    What is more important for a team, winning games or people? If you don’t win games, then the entire team suffers. The manager and coaches have to make hard decisions that might not be in the best interests of one person, but are in the best interests of the entire team.

    Where does a Christian fit into this? One might have the gifts and resolve to be a star player; another can be happy to play a supporting role. None should be jealous or prideful. I would not seek out Christian employees instead of skilled ones, but I demonstrate my faith by treating them with respect and fairness. I do not use deceit to gain business, or even to get information about a competitor. By showing Christian values I send a message about what kind of team we are and what kind of behavior is acceptable.

  33. marma says:

    davids: You make a good point; that is, we are talking mostly about a capitalist systme, and “winning” means staying in business–or no one gets paid for the work they do.

    How far do you take that? Is making a modest income good enough, or do you start trading out good employees for better ones in order to stay competitive. Sounds like in a capitalist scenario that the tendency is to put product first.

    I’ve been reading through the posts and I’m not sure where the discussion is leaving us–we want to value and respect people, but at the same time, in a capitalist system, that doesn’t seem to be the most important thing.

    Where does the church come into all this? Do you fire a fellow believer who supports a family because there is another person out there who you want to hire and who can do a better job and make more money for the company? Doesn’t seem to fit in with our duty to the church.

  34. marma says:

    Thought I’d better add that I’m just “stirring the pot” a little and am not picking on the business owners and managers. I’m just curious as to what they think about those types of decisions that cut to the heart of Mart’s questions as to what is important.

  35. Dusty-B says:

    As I think more about this and how it affects me directly I wonder WHEN I should speak up when I see someone or even myself being “mistreated”.

    I question my motives, I want to approach the situation in a Godly, Christian manner that would honor Christ yet be firm enough to let the boss know I am not just whinning.

    However, it seems no matter how positive I approach my superiors on this subject I am looked at as just another complainer and if I am not happy working here I am quite free to leave.

    This frustrates me because I want to be an implement for God’s use to the place He has led me. I know I may very well be planting seeds for God to grow later but it really grieves me to see my fellow workers “suffer” due to this profit attitude when we believe it is not necessary based on past company performance.

    My King is in control of my life and I must accept that as hard as it may be for me when I desire to see changes made. He must do the work through me.

    The company is founded on Christian values yet realistically not everyone there is a Christian including those in management.

    That begs the question, when is a Christian based company not longer so? When do Biblical values that once guided the company cease to do so?

    The preacher of Ecclesiastes says this, “Although a wicked man commits a hundred crimes and still lives a long time, I know that it will go better with God-fearing men, who are reverent before God.” Also, “There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: righteous men who get what the wicked deserve, and wicked men who get what the righteous deserve.” (8:12,14 NIV) Amen.

  36. poohpity says:

    “Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.”

  37. marma says:

    And sin is still sin, profit motive or not.

  38. marma says:

    That is, we tend to see profit motive as being in some ways righteous, but not when it inspires one to sin. Other values should take precedence.

  39. davids says:

    Marma, you raise good questions. I suppose that I don’t really believe in Christian companies (RBC excepted :))any more than I believe in Christian countries. I might call my country Christian, but that does not prevent my fellow citizen from acting in an un-Christian way.

    We prefer a republic to a theocracy because a state is full of flawed individuals. Similarly, a capitalist economy might not give economic justice to every individual, but it is the system that best copes with flawed people.

    Only people can be Christians. So in business as in every other part of our life we must accept that some people will put their pride and greed above others’ interests. That is a fact of business, not a requirement. We just have let our light shine and someone asks the reason for the hope that is in you…

  40. Regina says:

    Good Morning All,

    I really wanted to share some thoughts on this blog topic. Haven’t read any of the other comments yet, so I hope I’m not repeating anything that’s already been said. Mart asked,

    “In a business, what is more important, people or process, relationships or product? Or to clarify, what is more important in a commercial enterprise, people and relationships or process and product?”

    If I were a CEO of a business, I would treat my employees the way I would want to be treated (if I were the employee). When employees know that their employer cares about them and desires to have a good relationship with them. It inspires them to want to help their employer take care of the business.

    In other words, they care about the company,and product on a different level than they would if their employer was unkind, indifferent and they sensed that he/she didn’t really care about them or desire a relationship with them.

    I believe that an employer can show that he/she cares about their employees without (necessarily) bringing them to their house for supper or inviting them to go bowling with them. He/she can show care and concern by extending a helping hand when their employees have a need, being considerate of their time, paying them a fair (or even generous) salary, etc.

    Just a few thoughts (esp. since we’ve already moved on to a new topic)… :-)


  41. davids says:


    I’ve been thinking about your question. “Do you fire a fellow believer who supports a family because there is another person out there who you want to hire and who can do a better job and make more money for the company? Doesn’t seem to fit in with our duty to the church.”

    I haven’t been in that position. But in a more general way I ask myself the question, “What is our duty to the church?” We must support the church and help fellow believers, and indeed all people.

    If I come up to some fruitstands and the fruit at one stand is more ripe and better quality than the one next store owned by a Christian, which do I buy?

    Or, if a military commander needs to send a man on a dangerous mission, does he avoid sending the one he knows to be a Christian?

    I don’t think that I am comfortable with the idea that we “take care of our own” to the exclusion of others that God also loves.

  42. infiniti07 says:

    In a business, what is more important, people or process, relationships or product? Or to clarify, what is more important in a commercial enterprise, people and relationships or process and product?
    My answer is :

    People and relationships, process and product are all important and not mutually exclusive. Individuals do not have the capacity to function independently to handle all business matters on their own. Each person relies on others even in the simplest of businesses. Process and product have no purpose without people.

    People will always follow a process to produce a product to satisfy basic needs of sustaining themselves. It is important to get the highest good (performance) from people to product a top quality product. To do so requires the most efficient process and best means of motivating people.

    Therefore, relationships matter in order to bring out the best qualitative and quantitative results in the most efficient and effective way. Understanding the product and what it takes to market the product to its target requires the best practices or process and procedures in order to achieve the best results and again this requires people working in concert with one another, understanding the mission statement of the organization they’re working in to actualize the goals of that business.

    1Cor 3:6-7
    6I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow. 7So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
    – This speaks of a value system that people agree on so that whatever is done when done harmoniously and having dependence on God, the best results are achieved
    – In a business where the management does not have these values based on a foundation of God, the principles of business still holds true; the difference is that the business often achieves these results because people are motivated to work to simply earn a living
    – Having a value system that offers a reward that is intangible or priceless is a better motivating factor and this is what a person of faith has which is not measured in material worth
    Whether there is a well defined mission statement or just well defined goals, sales growth results from properly executing a business plan (the process). Profitability is derived from understanding and executing all elements of systems, procedures and guidelines, none of which can be accomplished without engaging the people who operate the business. When people’s needs are largely fulfilled, their positive interaction together with time proven processes brings the best results.

    Thank the Lord that He does not measure our worth in terms of material output. He loves and offer so much to us and accepts us just the way we are.

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