Doing Virtuous Business

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend a screening of the PBS documentary “Doing Virtuous Business” at the new Berry Performing Arts Center on the campus of John Brown University. The documentary is based on Dr. Theodore Malloch‘s best-seller Spiritual Enterprise and takes a look at fourteen traits that translate into success for modern corporations, even during tense economic times.

The fourteen traits are:
1. Leadership
2. Compassion
3. Humility
4. Forgiveness
5. Faith
6. Perseverance
7. Generosity
8. Courage
9. Discipline
10. Respect
11. Honesty
12. Gratitude
13. Justice
14. Patience

For each characteristic, the film takes a look at one major company and how it puts that trait into practice. The documentary will be shown on PBS in early 2011. I would highly recommend it to anyone involved at any level in business. To see some clips from the documentary, you can click here.

After the screening, there was a short panel discussion with Don Soderquist (former COO and “Keeper of the Culture” at Walmart), Bill Pollard (former CEO and current Chairman of Servicemaster), John Tyson (Chairman at Tyson Foods), and Dr. Theodore Malloch (Yale University). The men discussed the documentary and how the different virtues manifested themselves in their personal lives as well as their time at their respective companies. When asked by someone in the audience which of the traits the men thought was the most important, all four agreed that leadership was the key to implementing all of the others. Without leaders that embody the company’s mission, vision, and values, the rest of the employees in the company will have no incentive to follow them either. When talking about his experiences in various leadership positions, Bill Pollard said, “It’s not about what you get out of a leadership role, but what you put into it.” Don Soderquist added, “There is a cost to being an ethical leader” and went on to describe the rewards for the company for being willing to pay that cost.

All in all, it was a great night as I prepare to graduate in May of 2011 and join the business world full-time. As I leave JBU, it will be essential for me to maintain the values and ethics that have been instilled in me by my family and reinforced by my professors at JBU. So, check out the documentary in early 2011 and then begin (or continue) “Doing Virtuous Business.”

-Lawson
Learn It. Love It. Live It.

[One more insightful quote from that night: “One thing is certain about tomorrow: it will be different than today.” -Bill Pollard]

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About Lawson Hembree
Lawson is an entrepreneur, ministry leader, and outdoors enthusiast who also enjoys blogging about business, ideas, and theology. Want to continue the discussion or write a guest post? Let's Connect!

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