Balancing Faith and Work Sample Session

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Based on the Insights of Chris Lowney, Author of Heroic Leadership

Stephen J. Connor

© RENEW International, 2017 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any manes, electronic, mechanical, photo-copy, or otherwise, with the prior written permission of the publisher. The Scripture quotations contained herein are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible (containing the Old and New Testament with the Apocryphal/ Deuterocanonical Books), ©1989 by the Division of Religious Education of the National Council of Churches of Christ in the U.S.A., and used by permission. All rights reserved. Material in this publication was condensed from Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-year-old Company that Changed the World by Chris Lowney, published by Loyola Press, ©2003. Used by Permission. Pope Francis: Why He Leads, the Way He Leads: Lessons from the First Jesuit Pope by Chris Lowney, published by Loyola Press, ©2013. Used by Permission. NIHIL OBSTAT Dianne Traflet, J.D., S.T.D. Censor Liborum IMPRIMATUR Joseph W. Cardinal Tobin, C.Ss.R., D.D. Archbishop of Newark Cover Design: Kathrine Forster Kuo Text Design: Kathrine Forster Kuo ISBN: 978-1-62063-135-5 RENEW International 1232 George Street Plainfield, NJ 07062-1717 Printed and bound in the United States of America

CONTENTS Foreword.............................................................................................................. v Introduction....................................................................................................... ix Session 1 — Leadership is a vocation.............................................................. 1 Session 2 — Know Yourself............................................................................. 11 Session 3 — Withdraw from the world daily: The Daily Examen............. 22 Session 4 — Leadership is Service.................................................................. 32 Session 5 — Learning from failure. Leadership is a journey...................... 42 Session 6 — Live in the present, but revere tradition.................................. 51 Session 7 — Envision the future. Lead from the future you envision....... 59 Session 8 — Respect. Dignity. Love-Driven Leadership............................. 68 Session 9 — Immerse yourself in the world: Diversity and Inclusion....... 76 Session 10 — Empower others to lead........................................................... 85 Session 11 — Values in Action: Heroic Leadership..................................... 94 Session 12 — Learn something. Do something. Lead............................... 103 Small-Group Guidelines................................................................................ 113 Presenting RENEW International................................................................ 116 Resources from RENEW International....................................................... 117


FOREWORD I’m grateful to RENEW International and to the Ignatian Business Chapters for inviting me to write this foreword. More importantly, I’m grateful to them and to all of you readers and participants for this important initiative that you undertake. Rather than offer some highly theoretical formulation of why this project seems critical, let me express it in terms of my personal story. I was blessed to work for some seventeen years at JP Morgan & Co and fortunate enough to serve as a managing director in Tokyo, Singapore, London, and New York. That work was usually rewarding and exciting. But every once in a while, frankly, it was draining, stressful, or soul-deadening. I particularly remember some lonely moments. I vividly recall a few evenings in London, walking home from the train station to my apartment, surrounded by lots of other pedestrians and commuters but feeling alone in the world, preoccupied, and burdened by some work problem. (There were various problems over the years, believe me: it could have been a looming layoff, my moral qualms about some compensation program we were contemplating, resentment over some political back-stabbing that was coming my way, or misgivings about how I had treated one of my subordinates). Don’t get me wrong: I’m not inviting a pity party because I had to deal with problems. I was very well paid, in part, precisely to deal with difficult problems rather than to complain about them. Besides, more generally, I was keenly aware that life had handed me wonderful opportunities to learn, grow, and be rewarded. As a little boy on the streets of Queens, I would not have dreamed of getting to fly on an airplane, much less getting to work abroad. Yes, I had grown up in a lower middle-class neighborhood, but, even so, as Warren Buffet puts it, I had won the birth lottery. As an American who had access to great education, health care, and a vibrant economic marketplace with lots of job opportunities, I had advantages that the great majority of my brothers and sisters in the world could never have imagined. So, no complaints: I always understood that I ought to suck it up and deal with the problem of the day and not be a baby about it. But on the other hand, during those walks back to my apartment,



thoughts might go through my mind such as gee, it would be nice to talk about this with someone else, in particular someone who shared some of my beliefs and way of thinking about the world. Granted, I had great colleagues at Morgan, but those who have worked in big corporations can probably relate to the strange tribal and political nature of such places: it’s easy to form alliances for camaraderie or to get ahead in the company. It can be far less easy to sit down with a colleague to share one’s misgivings or simply for a free-wheeling, generative conversation about what it means to be a Christian in this or that workplace. So, for the most part, I bore my burdens alone during those walks back home each evening. Years later, I learned that like-minded colleagues who shared my worldview were not rare but, rather, were all over the place. I had decided to leave JP Morgan, in part to write Heroic Leadership. In my final weeks at the company, word spread about my reason for leaving. Heck, folks left JP Morgan all the time, but typically to take similar jobs at competing financial firms. That wasn’t news. It was hardly worth talking about. But a guy leaving to write a book about Jesuits? A guy who had studied to be a priest before coming to Morgan? Well, that was unusual. Word spread. During those last couple of weeks at Morgan, a number of closetedCatholics or closeted-Jesuit college and high school grads showed up in my office. A couple were guys I never knew; a couple others were folks who had roamed Morgan’s corporate jungles as members of “tribes” that were not particularly friendly to my own tribal network. No matter. Somehow, the very fact of our shared heritage—whether as Catholics or as fellow Jesuit grads—was enough to break down the walls or even, in a case or two, open a floodgate to deep conversation. I remember thinking at the time: gee, it would have helped me to know that you guys were around during the time of some of those lonely walks. That, in my very pedestrian way, encapsulates some of what I understand this broader initiative, and this workbook, to be about. One objective is for folks to find each other as part of a supportive informal tribe, and the companion objective is to grease the conversational skids to enable discussions about workplace, vocation, and the joys and burdens that work brings to us.


In the years since I left JP Morgan, experience has further convinced me of the need for these kinds of forums and discussions. Consider another venture that I’ve been involved in: I helped to launch “Contemplative Leaders in Action,” or “CLA.” It is targeted at young professional Catholics and is now active in some half-dozen U.S. cities (I am happy to be in touch with you about that initiative if you wish to learn more: my email address follows this foreword). Among other topics, the initiative focuses on leadership, spirituality, and Catholic social teaching. I presumed that rising young professionals would be hungry for the “leadership stuff” and would merely tolerate the “Catholic and spirituality stuff.” I had it totally wrong! What they have most valued is the opportunity to sit and chew over issues with a supportive community of fellow believers. Apparently, that lonely feeling of being a believer in the workplace has only gotten worse in the intervening years. I share that anecdote about CLA for two reasons. First, it reinforces the point that the need for what you are doing is becoming more rather than less acute. But let me add this second point: as you work through these pages and the discussions that accompany them, in addition to the support you each can give each other, you might also think a bit of the rising generation behind you and the opportunity—let me rather refer to it as a “calling”—to help mentor and guide those who come behind us. I once heard a pastor of a Presbyterian church say that he wants his congregants to think of themselves as “leaders who are forming other leaders.” I really like that idea. You are leaders, honing your leadership skills and worldview by this book and program. And you are also forming other leaders: what you get out of this program is not to benefit only you but also to help you to be a powerful Christian leadership role model at home, work, and in the community. Which reminds me of one last idea. It’s not just your home, work, and community that need the enhanced leadership vision you will develop. I recently published Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church. The book argues that the Catholic Church is enduring what, in many ways, is its greatest crisis in five centuries, when you think about declining participation, dwindling interest of young adults in organized religion, and so on. Part of the solution to the Church’s challenges is: Everyone


Leads. That is, everyone who participates in this program brings so many skills and such potential to the table. We are marketers, lawyers, bankers, builders, designers, website builders, analysts, communications pros—you name it. The Catholic Church needs all these skills, and more, if it is to thrive in this complex 21st century. Hence, I hope that you might also think how you can “lead heroically” not only to affect the workplace but also to help the Catholic Church tackle its challenges, whatever that contribution might look like. I’ll end here and congratulate the team who have prepared this program and all who are embarking on the journey of becoming better leaders. Chris Lowney


INTRODUCTION As a young man, I watched my father, —like Chris Lowney as he describes himself in his foreword—don his suit and tie and go off to work and live out his Catholic values in solitary witness. And, like Chris, my father, educated by the Jesuits at the College of the Holy Cross struggled in a successful career with his share of exemplary leaders, and a few narcissistic leaders and micromanagers. We who have been educated by the Jesuits were formed to think critically; be principled, ethical, and compassionate in our dealings at home and at work; lead integrated lives in which our faith informed our values at work and at home; and become “men and women for others.” But when we enter the workforce the values of the workplace begin to form us—values such as efficiency and profitability, capital over labor, and shareholder value. Success is the lure, and money the reward. Our values are challenged. There is a temptation to compartmentalize our lives in order to manage the tensions of work, family, community, and faith. And faith can be easily abandoned given the array of choices in front of us. I have studied the gospel of wealth in the Executive MBA Program at the Kellogg School of Management, at Northwestern University, and I have studied the Gospel of the Lord at the College of the Holy Cross, at the Institute for Pastoral Studies at Loyola University of Chicago, and at St. Mary of the Lake University in Mundelein, Illinois. Like Chris Lowney, I spent time as a Jesuit novice. And, like Chris Lowney, I professionally cross the boundaries of Church and world, currently working in both in leadership and in organizational development. There is rich language and imagery about God in our churches and families but little language or imagery about God at work. The program that is the basis for this book, the Ignatian Business Chapters, believes with Carl Jung that, “bidden or unbidden, God is present.” This means that God is present in the places where we invest ourselves—and we do invest a great deal of time at work. So, the challenge of the Ignatian-formed leader is to see “God in all things”; thus, we must make the connections between faith and work, so that the workplace is a locale of both human and divine



activity. We can see the movements of God in the workplace and thus root our spirituality in our lived experience of God. Part of the secret sauce of being a Jesuit is that you do not go alone but have companions for the journey of life who share and challenge your values and decisions. In this vein, the Jesuit sociologist John Coleman S.J. says that the small group “has the capacity to hold together secular mission (work) and religious identity. This book is an invitation to establish or join a small group that will lean into the tensions of the workplace guided by Ignatian values and spirituality and challenged by the decisionmaking process described by Bernard Lonergan S. J.: “to be attentive, to be intelligent, to be reasonable and be responsible.” Since the founding in 1991 of the Woodstock Business Chapters (newly named Ignatian Business Chapters) groups have been meeting once a month to follow a structured format to connect work, family, and faith in an intentional way. The chapters are grounded in the Roman Catholic intellectual tradition and in Catholic social teaching with a Jesuit slant. But chapters welcome believers who are open to and respectful of one another’s religious traditions, for our focus is on the work place where diversity reigns. The chapter sessions are leadership conversations based on actual business cases and business articles; the sessions engage participants in seeing problems through others’ eyes and listening to deliberations and the experience of the group members. They are asked to reflect so that they can be adaptive leaders at work, at home, and in their respective communities. Over time these groups become circles of trust in which members bring current problems to be discussed. A closing question for the group in each session is, “How will you, as a leader, apply this conversation today in your workplace, in your home, in your community, and with your friends?” Publication of Balancing Faith & Work: The Dynamic Leader has brought together two organizations—the Woodstock Business Conference and RENEW International, to create a new identity for Woodstock as Ignatian Business Chapters with the intention of opening up the faith- and-work conversation to a larger audience. For RENEW International and Ignatian Business Chapters believe in the power of small groups to change lives, at work, at home, at the parish or community. We believe that a small


group of committed people can change the world, and we have no further to look than story of Jesus and his apostles. From our conversations has emerged a renewed organization with a new identity and the opportunity to bring this small-group model not only to Jesuit institutions but also to Catholic and other religiousbased colleges and universities, Catholic parishes, and Christian congregations across the globe. Chris Lowney’s book, Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World, is an excellent primer for understanding the Jesuits, their history, spirituality, and values. Our book, Balancing Faith & Work, takes Chris’s concepts and creates opportunities for reflection and application. It sustains the key Jesuit formation ideal of becoming “contemplatives in action.” The challenges of the twenty-first century—daunting technological growth, globalization, war and other violence—beg the need for leaders formed in the Jesuit mold as presented by Chris Lowney and practiced by Pope Francis. This book is an invitation to take action. This process is not about proselytizing but about engaging the workplace in such a way that we produce good work while we attend to the Spirit present in the group. Experience tells us that a new participant will conclude, “The meetings are my monthly shot in the arm to link my faith and my work, and I can’t do without it!” Dive into each session that Stephen Connor has meticulously crafted to capture the experience of the Jesuits, the experience of Chris Lowney as a present-day interpreter, and the call and challenges of leadership at any level in an organization. Stephen is taking you on a leadership journey that will be enriched by your experience in a group, and George McCauley S.J. has written, “Our God is a God of the group!” Fare forward! John Fontana Executive Director Ignatian Business Chapters @ RENEW International

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Stephen Connor is assistant editor at RENEW International. Prior to arriving at RENEW, Stephen worked at Loyola Press in Chicago, Illinois. During his 10 years at Loyola, he was the director of trade, overseeing the development of books and online resources in adult spirituality and parish ministry. Stephen has over 30 years of pastoral experience ministering in parishes, campus ministry, and facilitating workshops and retreats. He holds a master’s degree in divinity from The Catholic University in Washington, D.C.



Leadership is a vocation.

“Leadership is not a job, not a role one plays at work and then puts aside during the commute home in order to relax and enjoy real life. Rather, leadership is the leader’s real life.”

FOCUS A vocation is a calling that brings together the whole person: body, soul, and mind. The vocation of the business leader is an authentic human and Christian calling.

GATHER ♦♦ Welcome ♦♦ Group leader’s statement that this is a place of hospitality, civility, and dialogue. ♦♦ Introductions

MISSION STATEMENT The facilitator reads the mission statement of Ignatian Business Chapters: The mission of the Ignatian Business Chapters (IBC) is to establish and lead a national and international network of business and professional leaders to explore their respective religious traditions to assist the individual executives in the following ways: ♦♦ to integrate faith, family, and professional life

Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company That Changed the World. (Chicago, Loyola Press. 2003.) 20.

♦♦ to co-create a corporate culture that is reflective of their religious faith and values ♦♦ to exercise a beneficial influence upon society at large.



The Chapters, grounded in the Roman Catholic tradition, welcome believers who are open to and respectful of one another’s religious traditions. They are committed to the conviction that ethics and values have an impact on one’s decision-making.


Ephesians 4:1-3

I therefore, the prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (NRSV, Catholic Edition)

1. Read the Scripture. 2. Allow for five minutes of silence. 3. Leader and/or members of the group respond to the Scripture. 4. Questions: a. Share the word, phrase, or image from the scripture reading that touched your heart. b. What does “vocation” mean to you? How do you understand your vocation as a business leader? How do St. Paul’s words—humble, gentle, patient, and loving—fit into that understanding?

ARTICLE Michael J. Naughton. “The Ethical Executive: The Vatican’s strategic plan for the business community.” America Magazine: May 21, 2012. Vatican Document On March 30, 2012, Cardinal Peter Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice released a document titled Vocation of the Business Leader. Based on Catholic social teachings of human dignity, the common good, solidarity, and subsidiarity, the document helps to bring these principles to

Session 1 — Leadership is a vocation.


business leaders, not just as guiding principles, but as executable goals. The document, approved by Pope Francis, was coordinated and drafted by business executives throughout the world. The author of this article, Michael Naughton, who coordinated preparation of the Vatican document, is the director of the John A. Ryan Institute of Catholic Social Thought at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Business Leadership is a Vocation The core of the document is the premise that business executives are called not just to do business, but to bring a specific quality of leadership to their work. This is because what businesses do and what business leaders do affects their work communities and the world beyond. Some business writers have described the role of a business leader as a vocation or calling. And the Vatican document states that being a business leader is an authentic human and Christian or religious calling. It is a calling to do more than just adhere to the law. It is a vocation to make “an irreplaceable contribution to the material and even the spiritual well-being of humankind.”1 The usual understanding is business leaders are charged to create wealth and focus on shareholders without an understanding of justice or human dignity. The goals of growing financial security for both a company’s stockholders and the company are not in themselves wrong. Rather, it is how those goals are attained that The Vocation of the Business Leader addresses. Are those leaders in charge of achieving these goals doing so with an awareness of justice, the distribution of wealth, and the dignity of their employees and their customers? It is the understanding and awareness of these principles and how they influence business decisions that The Vocation of the Business Leader addresses.

How to Proceed The Vatican document is organized around the process known as “see, judge, act.” These three steps can be summarized as follows: ♦♦ see the situation, taking time to reflect and understand it from different angles and perspectives;

1 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vocation of the Business Leader (Vatican City, 2014), para. 2, pg. 4.



♦♦ judge what are the factors you need to bring to the situation—such as ethics, justice, profit, risk, and faith; ♦♦ act, make the decision and outline the plan of action for accomplishing the goal. These principles form the foundation of the Catholic Church’s social teaching and are applicable in many situations. Any business leader knows the implications of our global economy. The abundance and immediacy of information means that flexibility and adaptability are vital. However, the principles that affect our leadership do not change. In the Vatican document, the writers focused on four challenges facing a business leader: globalization, communication technology, financialization (movement in a capitalist economy from production to finance), and cultural changes. These challenges present a variety of choices that are “a complex interplay of light and dark, of good and evil, of truth and falsehood, of opportunities and threats.”2 This reality challenges the business leader to make decisions on the foundation of the following three principles: meeting the needs of the world; organizing an enterprise that emphasizes the dignity of human work; and creating wealth that is sustainable and distributed justly.

Being a Leader is a Vocation. The Vocation of the Business Leader identifies clear and specific practices with which business leaders can bring their faith into their vocation. Achieving this requires the ability to reflect on one’s situation, decisions, and actions—see, judge, act. This means a process of contemplation and prayer, the ability to be self-reflective and to bring principles of faith into the way one leads. The publication of Vocation of the Business Leader is the beginning of an ongoing dialogue, creating a bridge between one’s beliefs and one’s vocation and leading to integration within one’s life. The document points out the dangers of leading a divided life. Many people talk about their lives as if there were a different person acting in each realm. It can be easier to talk separately about our professional lives, our personal lives, and our faith or spiritual lives. It helps us to concentrate on one aspect that is dominant in 2 Ibid., para. 15, pg. 7.

Session 1 — Leadership is a vocation.


a specific conversation. However, there is a danger in separating our lives in this way. It can lead us to live divided lives in which where we can rationalize our behavior when the values affecting one realm conflict with the values affecting another. This can lead to a rationalization and justification of unethical actions.

REFLECTION What a leader does. We expect leaders to be take-charge people who can make decisions, organize a department or a company, and have the vision to project where the organization will be in five to ten years. Leaders get things done and motivate others to share their vision and enthusiasm. Leaders do not run from change but thrive on it. And leaders can manage obstacles like a runner jumping over hurdles. In his book, Leading Change, John Kotter, an expert on leadership, (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1996, p.26) describes leaders as those who establish direction or vision for the future and define what is needed to achieve that vision. Leaders gather teams to embrace the goal and lead others in achieving it. Leaders inspire and energize those they lead, helping them to overcome barriers. And they often do this amid tremendous change. The leader understands where we need to go, gives us direction to get there, inspires us to agree that this is a vision we want as well, and encourages us to overcome any obstacles to achieving the goal. This is a good description of what a leader does. The difficulty with the description is that it is all about doing and not about being. That doesn’t mean that the description is not valid, as far as it goes. In fact, it explicates well what leaders do, but it describes only one part of being a leader. The Jesuits have a different approach to leadership, and it is not about “doing” or “achieving.” It is about who a leader is, how he lives, and how he becomes a leader. And, it is not about a vocation to the priesthood or to the life of a religious sister or brother. Rather, for Jesuits, it is about the vocation of leadership in any sphere.

Why the Jesuits? Chris Lowney, in his book Heroic Leadership: Best Practices from a 450-Year-Old Company that Changed the World, looks



at leadership from the perspective of the Society of Jesus, the Jesuits, founded in Spain by Ignatius of Loyola. In 1540 ten men with little or no money, influence, or authority formed a “company” that in one generation became a major influence in the world. At the foundation of this small company the world was going through radical changes ranging from the invention of the printing press to the Protestant reformation. The Jesuits, aware of these changes, fostered leadership qualities to respond to them with qualities such as innovation, flexibility, and adaptability. The Jesuits achieved much, because they set high goals, they went into the world moving quickly, and they took risks. Their world was analogous to the rapidly evolving landscape of business today with its globalization, communication technology, and cultural changes. And the qualities the Jesuits stressed—innovation, flexibility, and adaptability— are cited in hundreds of books and articles on leadership today. For the Jesuits, a vocation does not mean only the call to priesthood. It is a call to the mission of the Jesuits through their training in leadership. It is more than a job, more than what one does. That a vocation is more than a job is implied by a definition of the term: vocation is a person’s employment or main occupation, especially regarded as particularly worthy and requiring great dedication. Synonyms: mission, calling, one’s life work, purpose, function. In his article, “The Ethical Executive,” Michael Naughton makes clear that being a business leader is more than a job. It is a vocation. This distinction is in the very title of the document: The Vocation of the Business Leader. Many people think of “vocation” as something reserved to those who enter ministry, such as a priest or a minister or a rabbi. There is some literature that describes business leadership as a vocation, but the concept still meets with some resistance. One reason for this may be the fact the word “vocation” has a connotation of being called by God. But, if we believe our faith is what underlies all we do in life, then our work, the activity that occupies most of our waking hours, is our vocation. And this vocation, as Naughton writes “is an authentic human and Christian calling.” It is not just what you do, but who you are. In the scripture passage for this session, St. Paul is writing from prison to remind the people of Ephesus of their vocation. He is reminding believers of their calling, describing qualities

Session 1 — Leadership is a vocation.

of humility and gentleness and bearing with one another so unity can be maintained. In this passage, Paul is reinforcing the understanding that our vocation, our calling, is our life whether we are leading a company or working in a factory. Paul sees the faith of these believers holistically.

Jesuit View of Leadership The Jesuits knew that, to do what they set out to do, they would not focus on what leaders do but on who leaders are. Lowney writes, “They have a lot to say about who leaders are, how leaders live, and how they become leaders in the first place.”3 This Jesuit approach sheds a distinctive light on what it means to be a leader. Lowney writes about four principles that distinguish the Jesuit view of leadership from the widely-held top-down view: Four differences stand out: ♦♦ We’re all leaders, and we’re leading all the time, well or poorly. ♦♦ Leadership springs from within. It’s about who I am as much as what I do. ♦♦ Leadership is not an act. It is my life, a way of living. ♦♦ I never complete the task of becoming a leader. It is an ongoing process.4 This viewpoint is unique because it is not about one’s work; it is about one’s life. It is not about what one does; it is about who one is, it is not just about making a company or an organization better; it is about making each individual person better. This type of leadership requires leaders to know who they are and stay true to the set of values and principles that guide their lives. A leader needs to spend time in reflection to develop and reinforce those values and principles. Lowney writes that “a leader’s most compelling leadership tool is who he or she is: a person who understands what he or she values and wants, who is anchored by certain principles, and who faces the world with a consistent outlook.”5 This can happen only when leaders are willing to spend the time and energy to reflect on themselves, and when they are not apprehensive about bringing their values into their 3 Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership (Chicago: Loyola Press, 2003.), 15. 4 Ibid., 15. 5 Ibid., 163.




workplace—seeming themselves, who they are, and what they do, as an integrated whole, a vocation. As pointed out in the summary of Naughton’s article, there is a danger in splitting one’s life into different categories. It can be helpful to talk separately about one’s professional life, one’s personal life, and one’s faith life, but not if this approach suggests that somehow one is a different person in each of these “lives.” One can run the risk of allowing certain rationalizations and excuses for one’s behavior to undermine one’s foundation. By Leadership is not reserved knowing who we are and what for a few Pooh-Bahs sitting we value and believe, we can atop large companies, nor do bring the same foundation to all we do, whether at the office, in leadership opportunities arise our neighborhood, or with our only “on stage” at work. We can family. Lowney describes this as be leaders in everything we whole-person leadership. It is not do-in our work and in our daily a divided life but a unified whole lives, when teaching others or acting from the same principles and beliefs no matter where that learning from others. And most action is taking place. Vocation of us do all those things in the and the Business Leader states, course of any given day. “Obstacles to serving the common Lowney, Heroic Leadership, p. 5. good come in many forms— corruption, absence of rule of law, tendencies towards greed, poor stewardship of resources—but the most significant for a business leader on a personal level is leading a divided life. This split between faith and daily business practice can lead to imbalances and misplaced devotion to worldly success.”6

Four Pillars of Success When we speak of success in business, most people direct attention to the bottom line. And, though profitability is important, because there is no “business” to lead without it, there are other ways to gauge success, including the impact of leadership. Naughton writes of three core values enumerated in the Vatican document: meeting the needs of the world, organizing work that emphasizes human dignity, and creating wealth that 6 Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Vocation of the Business Leader, “Executive Summary,” (Vatican City, 2014), pg. 2.

Session 1 — Leadership is a vocation.


is sustainable and distributed justly. These are underlying principles of Catholic social teaching. They deal with the values and principles underlying decisions made by business leaders. Lowney, in his experience of how Jesuits are trained, uses a set of principles or pillars that deal with leaders and how they are formed. Lowney writes, “Jesuits eschewed a flashy leadership style to focus instead on engendering four unique values that created leadership substance: ♦♦ Self-awareness: understood their strengths, weaknesses, values, and worldview ♦♦ Ingenuity: confidently innovated and adapted to embrace a changing world ♦♦ Love: engaged others with a positive, loving attitude ♦♦ Heroism: energized themselves and others through heroic ambitions.”7 The spiritual approach to life and culture of the Jesuits, Lowney distilled into what he calls the four pillars, which are meant for everyone. The word “pillar” is appropriate here, because these are the anchors that support a Jesuit, and a business leader, throughout life. These pillars are not reserved for those formally chosen to lead. The Jesuits trained each recruit to lead, because they believed all leadership stems from self-leadership. As Lowney puts it, “More simply, what springs from within makes the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk.’’8 A business leader can make decisions that are based on the common good, that produce work that emphasizes human dignity, and create wealth that is sustainable when they take the time and effort to develop these four pillars. As Naughton points out, it takes reflection, contemplation, and self-scrutiny.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION Share your responses to the following questions. 1. Be attentive: What does the word “vocation” mean to you? Do you understand your role as a leader, especially in business, as a vocation? Why or why not?

7 Lowney, Chris. Heroic Leadership. (Chicago, Loyola Press, 2003) 9. 8 Ibid., 19.



2. Be intelligent: Lowney explains the four pillars of leadership from the Jesuits as the foundation of success. Looking over these pillars, how are you using them or not using them in your leadership? 3. Be reasonable: Pick one of the four pillars and develop a plan to consciously practice it. After a month, evaluate how it helped or didn’t help you as a leader. 4. Be responsible: What lessons are you taking with you from our conversation today that you will apply as a leader in your workplace, in your home, and with your friends?

CLOSING PRAYER Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, and my entire will, all I have and call my own. You have given all to me. To you, Lord, I return it. Everything is yours; do with it what you will. Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me. —Ignatius of Loyola

LOOKING AHEAD Prepare for the next session by prayerfully reading: ♦♦ Session 2: Know Yourself. ♦♦ Scripture: Luke 5: 10-16

SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING Access a copy of the Vatican document: The Vocation of the Business Leader. (Search: The Vocation of the Business Leader.)

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