At one Company I worked for one of the long standing corporate values statement was; “we are a one-class society”. Of all the statements and values, this was the hardest one to look at each with a straight-face and claim it to be true. With the way companies and organizations are designed, if there is any type of hierarchy, I would say it is nearly impossible to be true to a one-class workplace. Just the fact that supply and demand in the talent space causes certain differences with senior executives versus the rank and file is enough to blow the whole cause and statement. That all said, there is nothing wrong with striving for this type of workplace and in fact I have come to believe that it is not in the title, the position, or the perks that separate one person from another. It is the person and their attitude and approach to other people. It is a dangerous part of human nature that we surround ourselves with others who are only like us and share the same socio-economic status, etc. Before long we find that we are in a clique, whether we know it or not, and we become out of touch or unapproachable to others. This is not always just the executives/well-to-do’s and their relationship with others in the company. It goes both ways. The front-line talent feels more comfortable with those like themselves and they don’t go out of their way to introduce themselves or sit down for lunch with management. At one place I worked there was an executive area on one of the floors and it was on the main walk through route from one side of the building to the other. All the executives sat on this hall and it was named “mahogany row” because the floor was wood in that hall and the desks and cubes were made of wood too. There was no barrier or reason that you couldn’t take that hallway route from one end of the building to another, but guess what, no one but the executives did. No one else felt comfortable making that walk and the executives rarely came out of that area. There was no one striving for one-class at that company. Yet, even if the artificial barriers have been created, it all comes down to the individual person. There are many a CEO or executive officer who are approachable by all and you can find them hanging out with anyone in the Company at any time. These are special people and I believe that is part of how God wants us to be at work. We see this in Romans 12:16 when Paul says; “Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!” Jesus modeled this better than anyone. While anyone else would have been hanging and socializing with those who could help bring influence and stature, Jesus used his time to be with those who were the everyday people, the people of the world. As we think about how we spend our extra few minutes at work let’s think about the impact it would have on others if we were to break out of our cliques and reach out to others who are outside of our social circles and share a lunch or cup of coffee. If nothing else, there is much to be learned about others, but even more so, I believe there will be much to be gained from that new interaction and potential relationship. Give it a try today and see what happens.
Reference: Romans 12:16 (New Living Testament)