A company that is In Business For Life nurtures the dignity of all people, starting with its own people.
By Brad Lindemann
I recall interviewing a single mom who tearfully told me about the travails of her teenaged son. He had gotten so out of control that she had no choice but to put him in one of those very strict private boot camp like facilities. She was desperately trying to keep him out of the legal system, knowing that once he went down that slippery slope he may never come back.
Having our fair share of experience with rebellious teenagers, my wife and I are very sympathetic and empathetic to parents in such situations. We’ve felt the self-incrimination and the harsh judgments coming from the “perfect kids” parents. We know how it feels to be loathed by the ones you love so deeply that you’d gladly trade your life for theirs. And as a business person, I well know how difficult it is to focus upon the business at hand when you have a child with one foot over a cliff.
That’s why we embrace the whole person…bags and all. Sometimes it helps just knowing that you’re not alone and that others have gone before you. Sometimes your co-workers (even your boss) can be the best support system available, particularly in broken family situations. Sometimes it just helps to talk about the things that trouble you the most. Not so much because your listeners will be able to solve your problems. But rather, having been listened to with understanding, you will be better equipped to solve them yourself.
Don’t confuse “embracing the whole person” with minding someone else’s business. We’ve been very careful over the years to respect the personal boundaries of our employees. We don’t force transparency. We simply make it a safe and sensible way to be should our employees want or need to be so. Otherwise, the burden of keeping one’s personal baggage hidden becomes yet one more rock in an already very heavy bag.
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