JACKSON, Tenn. – May 2, 2006 – Business leaders need to exercise moral leadership in a modern workplace currently in “the best of times and the worst of times,” C. William Pollard said at Union University April 26.
Pollard, former chief executive officer of The ServiceMaster Company, spoke to a group of local business leaders, business students and faculty members at Union’s annual Business Through the Eyes of Faith luncheon.
“As Americans, we realize that our economic well being has not done much to resolve issues of uncertainty, morality and a search for meaning,” Pollard said.
He told students that as employees they will either contribute or detract from the soul of their firm.
“Our place of work can be a place of worship for the God we love,” he said, warning them not to live a bifurcated life between faith and work
Pollard spoke from experience as a best-selling author, leader of a Fortune 500 company and winner of Notre Dame’s Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Ethics in Business.
“Pollard was able to discuss his practical experience combining a very strong Christian faith with the highest levels of competitive business,” said Kenny Holt, associate professor of economics and management at Union. “He proves that it is possible to live out a Christian life in the world of business.”
Pollard said he couldn’t identify a specific example of his faith holding back his career. Although, he qualified, there were times when negative things happened and he had to trust in God’s plan.
After the speech, Pollard gathered with a handful of students and faculty for a small group discussion. He asked them “When is a business too big? ...When is enough [money] enough?”
Senior finance major Kevin Pratt said he liked Pollard’s realistic approach to money.
“He didn’t vilify business and money…so long as your heart is in the right place,” Pratt said.
Pollard shared his experience of leading ServiceMaster, whose four company objectives include “honor God in all we do.”
The question of when enough was enough remained opened-ended by the end of the discussion, but Pollard offered the words of ServiceMaster founder Marion Wade: “Money is like manure. It doesn’t smell any better the more you pile it up.”
By Chris Pearson (’08)