Inner Office Memo

Inner Office Memo

Date: September 18, 2002

To: All company employees

From: The CEO

Subject: Business strategy for increasing company effectiveness

Priority: Urgent

Message:

Please note the following recommendations for improving our effectiveness as a company. While performance has been good, I know we can do better at our task of infiltrating the world with our message. Please study this memo carefully, as it contains business insight that’s out of this world. Implementation is to be immediate. Here’s the plan:

1. Live in harmony with one another.

Why on earth would anyone be attracted to our business, if they see us bickering like presidential candidates? As potential customers observe the sense of community we experience within our company, they will feel compelled to join us.

2. Be sympathetic.

I am reminded of the old story of a farmer who was out plowing his field one spring morning. The spring thaw had just occurred, and there were many muddy valleys in the field.

Through one particularly wet place, his tractor became stuck in the mud. The harder he tried, the deeper he became stuck.

Finally, he walked over to his neighbor’s to ask for help. The neighbor came over and looked at the situation. He shook his head and said, “It doesn’t look good, but I tell you what. I’ll give it a try pulling you out. But if we don’t get it out, I’ll come sit in the mud with ya!”

I would like for our company to be known for its sympathetic mud-sitters. What do you say?

3. Love one another as brothers.

In the words of Mother Teresa: “Spread love everywhere you go... Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness; kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile, kindness in your warm greeting.”

Do her words describe you at work around here?

4. Be compassionate.

Remember, in this company, compassion means action. Think about these words: “I was hungry, and you formed a humanities club and discussed my hunger. I was imprisoned, and you crept off quietly to your chapel and prayed for my release. I was naked, and in your mind you debated the morality of my appearance. I was sick, and you knelt and thanked God for your health. I was homeless, and you preached to me of the spiritual shelter of the love of God. I was lonely, and you left me alone to pray for me. You seem so close to God; but I am still very hungry, and lonely, and cold” (author unknown).

5. Be humble.

An admirer once asked the famous orchestra conductor Leonard Bernstein what was the most difficult instrument to play. He responded with quick wit: “Second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find one who plays second violin with as much enthusiasm, or second French horn or second flute, now that’s a problem. And yet if no one plays second, we have no harmony.”

In the same way, if our company is to succeed, every person must do his or her part, no matter how trivial it seems.

Summary

Here’s what this memo is about: “Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble” (1 Peter 3:8).

November 01, 2002 / Fresh Start
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Karl Haffner is senior pastor of the Walla Walla College Church and writes from College Place, Wash.