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Sam Waltz: Community and faith a bulwark to entropy in business

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Sam Waltz
Founding Publisher

We live in chaotic times, and it seems to have an impact on the quality of business leadership, from the leaders of family-owned businesses to the corporate C-suite.

One definition of the scientific term entropy is a decline into disorder.

A new book by Timothy P. Carney, “Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse,” recounts how people often turn to informal or personal networks when broadly shared social values collapse. Carney offers a remedy to entropy that focuses on faith and faith-based organizations as a bulwark in times of disorder.

In early April, a series of meetings will take place in Wilmington aimed at spreading this message to business owners, C-level executives and professionals.

“What Mr. Carney writes about is what we’re seeing,” said Dave Holly, CEO of Truth at Work, an Indianapolis-headquartered nonprofit.

“Business owners and executives too often seem to be losing the reference points that are anchors of shared values, and they’re left to fend for themselves,” Holly told me recently. “What’s left for them is to fall back on their own personal values, really to rely on the importance of faith, as Mr. Carney writes.”

Given the success of the “strategic peer advisory board” model, readers are likely familiar with its secular sponsors, such as Vistage (which has benefitted Today Media), TAB (The Alternative Board), and ActionCOACH.

All of these organizations convene a monthly roundtable of about 15 business owners and execs who work collaboratively over time as a board of advisers to each other.

It’s a tremendous model, and members tell me they take away much greater benefit than the cost of membership, which can range from $15,000 to $25,000 a year.

Truth at Work is a faith-based counterpart to those secular organizations, and its members rely on their Christian faith as “an organizing principle in their lives.”

“Truth at Work is not an evangelical group, to bring others to the Lord,” said Holly. “It’s not a Bible study. It’s not a prayer circle. Rather, Truth at Work is a roundtable of business executives working together to help each other navigate all the usual business issues, and some really unusual ones, as well.”

Holly is scheduled to speak next month at the arrival of Truth at Work in the Delaware Valley. Introductory meetings are planned at the University & Whist Club, 805 N. Broom St., in Wilmington on April 10 at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

I’ve attended three of its roundtables in the last six months as it enters the mid-Atlantic, one in Maryland, one in Northern New Jersey, and one in the Midwest. I’ve been impressed by the genuine camaraderie and social capital among members, and the diligence they bring to helping each other.

It’s worth a visit when Holly is here in Delaware and Philadelphia.

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