An Interview with Mark A. Griffin: How to Build Kingdom-Minded Organizations
Mark Griffin leads In His Name HR. With over twenty years of experience in the field of human resources at both Fortune 500 (Kodak, Quaker Oats, and Merck) and small and mid-sized companies, Mark has seen it all. He recently published a book, “How to Build Kingdom-Minded Organizations.” You can connect with Mark at Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Paul: What motivated you to go into Human Resources?
Mark: I was in the U.S Air Force while working on my Bachelor’s degree during the evenings. I looked at several different career fields, including criminal justice, HR, and avionics management. I talked to people in the field to learn more the different aspects. I talked to people who knew me, who were older and wiser, and many said I would be perfect in HR because I do well with people.
Paul: How do you define a kingdom-minded organization?
Mark: Simply stated, a kingdom-minded organization is an organization that puts Christ first. As Christians, we should be honoring God and Christ—thinking of Christ first. At the end of the day, when we receive our earthly pay, all the money is God’s money anyway. It’s really God’s business, not our business. Many people forget that and don’t pay attention. God wants us to be prosperous, feed our employees, and go out into the world to support our communities and our churches, as well. As good stewards of God’s company, we need to build a good foundation. When I was at Quaker Oats Company, in the Gatorade division, we were really big on mission, vision, and values. Kingdom-minded organizations have a clear mission, a clear vision, and core values. When I present this to secular organizations, I call it a “high-performing organization” and, to a Christian audience, I present it as “kingdom-minded organizations.” The only difference between secular and Christian organizations is whether or not the organization was founded on Christian principles.
Paul: What does it really look like, putting Christ first?
Mark: Not only do these organizations create compelling missions, visions, and values, but they also integrate Christ-centered practices into different HR practices. They put performance processes in place to give employees feedback and to allow companies to prosper through the development and growth of their employees. They put policies and procedures in place that honor the employees. They are good stewards of benefits and compensation systems and ensure their people are being treated fairly and competitively.
Paul: What advice would you give to emerging leaders who want to build a kingdom-minded organization?
Mark: Here’s where it gets fairly complicated. A Christian leader in a Christian-owned organization absolutely has the right to run a company through biblical principles. What they don’t have is the right to force people to believe as they do. You never should do that anyway. In reality, many secular companies run their operations based on biblical principles; they just don’t realize it! So, in a nutshell: live your life and lead others the way that Christ would.
Paul: What does it mean to be a salt and light of this world?
Mark: This world is filled with darkness. The past several years has been almost like watching one of those old, cheesy, end-of-times movies. But, if you really stop for a second and reflect on what is going on, it really is quite revealing. We easily see that we have problems—pornography, decline of the family, economic collapse, lies and deception from governmental and political leaders, and immeasurable unemployment—the list goes on and on. So, what are we to do? I believe, as the world gets darker, it is easier to see the light. I believe we need not be defeatists but stand for Christ in this dark world. So, my challenge to your readers who are Christ followers is that, if Christ were to return tomorrow, would He, in fact, call you a good and faithful servant?
Mark is a Founder and President of In His Name HR. In His Name HR provides human resource consulting for small and medium-sized organizations. Mark has served in the US Air Force, possesses extensive educational credentials, including a BA in Human Resources, an MBA, and several Executive Education certifications from the University of Michigan. Mark has worked in a variety of HR leadership roles for Fortune 100 companies, such as Merck, Kodak, and Quaker Oats, as well as privately held and employee-owned companies, including Woolrich and Townsends. Connect with Mark at InHisNameHR.com, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.