a workplace challenge…

I just finished reading an article in SalesForceXP magazine (May/June 2011) entitled “Suttonisms:  3 Counterintuitive Insights” by author Robert Sutton.  It examines several unorthodox management techniques that go against what someone would normally think is the correct approach to these situations.

They made sense in a certain degree, but it made me wonder about a different approach to at least on of the applications.

Two of the topics were “Managing by Getting out of the Way” and “Why Indifference is as Important as Passion”.  But it was the one called “Drinking at Work: It’s Not All Bad” that struck me even as it appeared typical of today’s culture .  I am not going to debate here whether alcohol consumption is good or bad, but  it did make me think.  The premise is that on a Friday afternoon, colleagues sitting down to share a drink before leaving the office can be a good thing.  The author discussed a few aspects of the different topics discussed (sick friend, kids, a cool wireless speaker someone had), and put in the context of after-work socializing, seems on the surface to make sense.  But it started me thinking, why did there need to be the aspect of “adult beverage consumption” to make people socialize like this?  And were there other socializing arenas that are less socially acceptable?

Later in the article, Sutton refers to the potential downside of this activity, and brings up the subject of abstention for religious reasons and how people shouldn’t be pressured to partake.  But what if we looked at this from another view?  Could a group of believers gather in the same office setting to pray for a sick friend or kids, or give thanks for a promotion?  Would sharing Scripture over the breakroom table be as acceptable as cracking open a bottle of single malt Scotch? Would prayer make the “drinkers” uncomfortable or pressured?  Is this an area that we could even explore in the workplace?  I would like to think so, but it does open some interesting challenges, and since I am just making a few casual observations at this point, I will contemplate further, and maybe write again on the subject.

3 thoughts on “a workplace challenge…

  1. Dan, I know I’ve been out of the workplace, per se, for (ahem) some time, seems to me that it’s almost always been more acceptable to talk about goin’ drinking (after work hours, of course!) than goin’ to church. It seems that you’re a prude it you’re uncomfortable with drinking discussions, but you’re being constitutionally violated if you’re uncomfortable with faith-based discussions :-/

    G

  2. One of the things that I pride myself on in the workplace is my ability to contribute to any discussion. There is practically no one in my office who does not know that I am a Christian and that I aspire to some type of ministry. But at the same time, I am able to comfortably discuss any topic – whether it is work related or not. And it is my ability to discuss the “not work related” topics that really sets me apart. I am comfortable talking about ANY secular topic – sports, drinking, politics, kids, marriage, racism, unclean jokes, etc. as easily as I can discuss my faith. And it is that comfort level that allows the same people who listen to me spew on secular topics to also listen to me talk openly about my faith.

    They view me (I hope) as more than one dimensional and that makes it harder for them to discount my faith, which is the biggest part of my life.

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