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Friday, October 20, 2006

Evil Hr Lady Gets Religious

Okay, truth be told I'm already religious. But I'm not a Southern Baptist. I make no attempt to understand the finer points of Southern Baptist Theology. Still, I found this article, Texas Seminary: No Speaking in Tongues interesting--from an HR point of view.

It seems the trustees voted and, with one dissenting vote, they made the following declaration:
Southwestern will not knowingly endorse in any way, advertise, or commend the conclusions of the contemporary charismatic movement including private prayer language. Neither will Southwestern knowingly employ professors or administrators who promote such practices.

I support the right of any religious body--be it a school or a church--to set the standards for their curriculum and staff. I just wonder how you are going to enforce this.

The dissenter wants the Southern Baptist Convention to weigh in on the matter, which (I infer) means that the SBC doesn't have an official position on the doctrine of speaking in tongues. It also suggests to me that leadership isn't quite unified on this.

Any time there is change in an institution (be it religious or secular) you need unity from the leadership for effective change. I've seen numerous times where some corporate big-wig announces, "Our new policy is X" but meanwhile his executive team is going about undermining him. The end result is a more divisive workforce.

You need unity at the top for big change. (Although I admit, I don't know how big of a change this is. Was it happening often? I have no idea.) If this Southern Baptist Seminary had come to me for advice, I would have told them to get the SBC to weigh in first, then create it's new policy and get full support prior to announcing. If you can't get full support, well, that's why you "transition" people out of your organization.

It seems harsh, especially for a religious group, but successful companies do it all the time. Granted, if this isn't a major component of the school, it may not matter. But, someone thought it was major enough to alert a reporter at the Associated Press--and the Washington Post saw fit to publish it.

But overall, HR Advice, get your unity first.

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