Seeing, Judging, Acting (#14)
14. An important part of the business leader’s vocation is practising ethical social principles while conducting the normal rhythms of the business world. This entails seeing clearly the situation, judging with principles that foster the integral development of people, and acting in a way that implements these principles in light of one’s unique circumstances and in a manner consistent with the teaching of the Faith.7 The rest of this document is organised accordingly: see, judge, act.
Observing the principles of Catholic social doctrine necessarily changes how we see, judge and act in our organizations.
We need a pair of glasses with a new set of filters that enables us to see how our policies are affecting the dignity of our employees and other stakeholders. If we once saw them as mere “inputs” to the work process instead of its central purpose, the adjustment of our vision might be quite substantial.
There is no denying that judging performance using financial metrics is cleaner, and that creating new measures tied to the promotion of human dignity is difficult. But with some thought, new tools of measurement can be established in conformance of our new understanding of the purpose of work. We might consider applying for the Fortune 100 Best Places to Work (or its many small business equivalents), or taking an inventory of employees’ skills outside the functional area where he or she works so we can match those skills with the company’s needs, or quantifying the amount of training each employee receives.
Finally, acting on all of this requires fortitude and perseverance. We’ll be misunderstood. Senior executives, board members and shareholders won’t understand this at first. And maybe never. Nonetheless, we need to act in a way consistent with our faith. Pope Francis is urging us on, seeing the need to restore capitalism to its dignified foundations.