Welcome to the Terminal Value Podcast
Nov. 2, 2020

#8 Faith Based Organizations with Craig Carter

#8 Faith Based Organizations with Craig Carter

To many people, faith and religion are the same thing. This is certainly true some of the time, but not in every situation.

Doug and Craig spoke the perspective of faith as deep belief and the way that belief can truly bring people together even if the nature of their beliefs are different. When we take this broader view of faith-based organizations, it becomes apparent that nearly everybody is engaged in some form of faith-based endeavor.

Doug's business specializes in partnering with companies and non-profits to create value and capture cost savings without layoffs to fund growth and strengthen financial results. 

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Welcome to the terminal value Podcast where each episode provides in depth insight about the long term value of companies and ideas in our current world. Your host for this podcast is Doug Utberg, the founder and principal consultant for Business of Life, LLC.

Doug: Welcome to the terminal value podcast, I have Craig Carter on the line. And Craig has the auspicious notoriety of being my former boss when I worked at Intel. But that's actually not what we're here, what we're here to talk about today, what we're here to talk about is Craig's life passion, which is running a face faith based organization within the Intel network. And in particular, what I'd like to talk about today is that, of course, the political environment is crazy right now. And you're trying to really stick to your mission of a faith based organization while navigating that political environment. Craig, welcome. And thank you for your time. 

Craig: Well, thanks Doug. It's good to be here.

Doug: So just tell us some of the experiences you've been having, you know, because of course, right, you know, the, there's, you know, it's interesting how what happens in the media is you always only see the crazy people on the media, you don't ever see, hey, these are normal people wanting to help people get through the the travails of their life that they feel like they can't talk about talk to anybody about that's not interesting. So nobody posts articles about that. 

Craig: True.

Doug: That's probably 99% of what you do. But of course, the the things you're going to hear are somebody who makes some sort of, you know, horrendously offensive racial remark, and people say, that's so terrible. And it's like, Well, okay, okay. Yes, it is terrible, but it's not representative of everybody who have a particular face. 

Craig: True.

Doug: I'm you You must have been dealing with this, Craig. Actually, I know you've been dealing with it, because we've been talking.

Craig: Yes absolutely.

Doug: To you a softball question.

Craig: We've you. We've been talking a lot over the years. So let me maybe give a quick recap. And that can kind of walk into this. And then we can take it from there, Doug. So I've been involved with the different Christian groups.

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: Here at Intel for probably two decades or so. And then just even I was about. 

Doug: You don't look anywhere ear that old Craig. Nice. I'm just so I'm, you look, you look every year that old?

Craig: Thanks, is I look at you through my aggressive lens this year. 

Doug: Exactly. 

Craig: Yes. And yeah. So I paint the ground there just to look a little old. 

Doug: Yeah. I do the same

Craig: So been doing this for like 20 years, and it's been really neat. And then this last fall, felt led to reach out to people of other faiths and to get to know these other leaders of the Baha'i Faith, Muslim faith, Hindu faith, I mean, you name it, these different groups that also have formal employee resource groups, er, G's, they're called it a big company like Intel, and getting to know all them. And it's been excellent, I thought, they wouldn't even want to talk with me or meet with me. But as we've built up relationships, and gotten to know each other, more 90% of what we're trying to do is really going the same way, including even the atheist group is that there's very passionate people that have a certain faith or a certain belief, and how can a large company give these people space to feel like they're included? That they're valued, that they're important? And do we agree on every matter of faith? Of course, we don't? Of course, we don't. But can we? Can we really still be good friends and that kind of stuff? Absolutely. And as we started to develop these friendships, and even doing things together, I don't really strong friendship with a buddy named hottie. He's the president of the Muslim Group here in Arizona. And do you think that a Christian and Muslim have some things where they think differently on Absolutely. But can we be really good friends? Can we support each other? Absolutely. And.

Doug: There’s no reason not.

Craig: Stating the obvious? Yeah. And the neat thing is, I feel like this has almost become a platform as we look at our very toxic political environment where people won't even talk to each other. Anything else? And I'm like, Alright, you think there's a bit of a separation between the two political parties? Yeah, that's nothing compared to different religious groups, which for 1000s of years of bicker to fight have killed each other. And yet, we can get along. And but we can agree to disagree, and we can dialogue and as you dialogue and get to know what other people really believe. Frankly, my respect for them just goes up more.

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: As I get to understand what people have different faith traditions, belief. 

Doug: And Absolutely. Well, because one of the things I'm fond of saying is that you're just because I believe something doesn't mean that I think you have to believe that. 

Craig: Yes.

Doug: And it sounds simple when you say it that way. But it's remarkable how few people think that way. 

Craig: Very few people do. And it's been wonderful to use actually this platform of religion to get people to really think about that if these different people for religious faiths can agree to disagree, but still do tons of stuff together and try to make the world a better place and help each other find the freedom to practice their belief system. Again, everything from atheism to the buy faith to the Christian faith, Muslim faith, Sikh faith. It's been really neat.

Doug: Yeah, absolutely. Well, and There was another thing that you touched on there that I thought was really interesting to, you know, because of course, there's the, you know, you can say agree to disagree or as or as I would say, you know, it's just that you know, okay, you know, if just because I think a certain way doesn't mean that you have to think a certain way. But the other thing that I've really been, or that's really been in my mind lately is that you're everybody talks about things at a national scale, or a global scale, or this scale or that scale. But when you get down to local, and it's people having conversations, generally speaking, most people locally, are pretty friendly. And so it's actually kind of funny how, like, when you actually get people having conversations, they tend to generally be friendly. But for some reason, when you get them on opposite sides of a camera on CNN or Fox News, they suddenly turn into snarling tigers.

Craig: You’re right. Your right.

Doug: It's like, okay, maybe we just need to have more local interaction, and less media interaction.

Craig: You're absolutely right, Doug, and you bring up a great point is that categorization of people is just horrible.

Doug: It's just horrible.

Craig: And yes, are there generalizations that are generally true at times? Yeah. But like categorizing people's awful, awful, I mean, there's only one Doug in the world. Thankfully.

Doug: Thank God.

Craig: But Yes, I will. Yeah, there are exceptions. Like there's only one right I mean, basically painting these pictures of putting people into different you know, how they look or what their religious beliefs are socio economic level, where they grew up what language they speak that I mean, everyone is absolutely unique. But the second we start categorizing people, it's a downward spiral. 

Doug: Absolutely. 

Craig: A tangent story on that I was at the mall a year or so ago in the same spot where they have Santa Claus Christmas, right. And, and but at this time, it was not Christmas time they actually had this is something on the Holocaust and genocide. I mean, very different than Santa on Christmas.

Doug: Wow. I was surprised about that.

Craig: Exactly the same area. And basically, the I don't remember the rest of it. It's like seven steps to committing genocide. And the first step was categorization of people dehumanizing people. And as I look at our society, especially politically, it's exactly what's happening now. Hopefully, we won't go to the seventh step. 

Doug: Right? 

Craig: You don't want to go there. 

Doug: Yeah. 

Craig: Well, but but something else that you had brought up Doug is how do we support people and love people and help people and stuff and in my years involved with the Christian group, and now with the other faiths and stuff, but speaking to the Christian group, it's opened up amazing doors for me just a love on people. And often it's when they're in their deepest, darkest moments. There's a guy on our team who is this close to committing suicide, actually, and yet, it was a friend at work, who said, swo, stop.

Doug: Yeah. 

Craig: God loves you. Don't, don't, don't go there. And so there's that there's people that have lost children. And this is someone you actually know, that we used to work with who lost her beloved son A number of years ago for a hunting, I was able to pray with her and just to be with her through this whole journey up until his death and, and about a month ago, got to pray with the lady who just lost her mom. Weird COVID time. And again, this isn't the most intimate, most wonderful, not wonderful, challenging moments in a person's life, but you're there just to show love, and express love to them. And were these people the same faith background as me, most of them not, but was able to show love human interaction in a very wonderful in a very wonderful way. Absolutely. And I'm thankful that Intel and lots of other companies actually are realizing that it's not just rhetoric, but letting people bring their full selves to work or be authentic, which part I don't like those terms, because they do some politically correct things. But the reality is, they are really good terms and bring your whole self to work, which includes a person's faith and, and loving people. And that shouldn't scare people. And, and to your point, Doug, I mean, the one anomaly right? It's funny my 20 years of involvement it a large 100,000 person Corporation, I've heard of one instance, one, one instance, where there's anomaly. And then in further investigation, this person wasn't even involved in the Christian group and never had been involved in the Christian group. But HR thought they were and asked me, How could this person be involved in EndNote. They're in Folsom, California, and never heard of the person knowing the fulsome leaders never had either. There's been zero instance where someone has went ballistic and calling people names and stuff. And yet, most companies get very scared of faith and very scared of religion and strongly held beliefs. But it's changing, which is really cool.

Doug: But I think there's something you there's something you tagged on there, Craig, which I think is worth a conversation, because I think the way that I think about faith is more in the strongly held beliefs. And I think the the marker that I say for it is what is the thing that you keep talking about, even when somebody is making very clear social cues that they don't want they hear don't want to hear anymore and you ignore them and keep talking whatever that is, that's your faith. So in your case, it is your it is your Christian faith and some of my other friends cases. It is their political beliefs and on my other friends cases, it is Real Estate Investing, but whatever you ignore people's social cues to keep talking about that is your faith.

Craig: Yes. Yeah, yeah. And there's a lobbyist I know, who knows surprises really into politics 

Doug: Surprises politics.

Craig: Surprising, and and they just feel beat the heck up because they're a minority in where they work on their political views. And to them it is their religion on almost on this and.

Doug: Which is funny because if you're talking lobbying that you can be of either political view and very easily be a minority because there are just as many lobbyists and the left is the right.

Craig: Yes, exactly. It's it's very interesting. But But you're absolutely right. It sounds like we need more freedom of belief, where people don't like what you had said, we don't. And it's ridiculous to think I mean, my wife and I do not think the same. I'm sure your wife and you believe all the same things. We all know who's right, your wife? 

Doug: Clearly, of course.

Craig: But but we don't believe the same things. But do we get along? Yes.

Doug: He wasn't married 25 years, Craig, I'm glad to see you've picked something up along the way.

Craig: Yes, most of the time, we get along very well. But we have a deep love and care for each other.

Doug: Absolutely. 

Craig: And that's where I feel like we need to go is in the corporate world and other things is that we can get along most of the time. And we can agree that Yeah, we have some different belief systems. But as you start to try to listen to that other person's belief system, likely there'll be less red flags, less things that you think are not that good. 

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: As you really hear their heart as they express what's on their mind and what they believe. Most people are pretty rational. And they got to that place due to either some circumstance that happened in their past, or in some belief they have and it's wonderful to hear.

Doug: Yeah. Absolutely. Well, and because Yeah, and that's, that's, you know, another one of my little sayings that I've started to adopted is that,I really believe that real life happens locally. You know, everybody likes to watch for national and global media and make a big harrumph out of this or that, but reality is local. You know.

Craig: It is.

Doug: Reality, it's your neighborhood, your community, your city.

Craig: It is.

Doug: Your weight, you know, when you get past that it's just voices on a radio or pictures on TV. It's not real. You know.

Craig: Yeah.

Doug: What happens real is what happens close to you. And generally speaking, people who are close to each other and interact with each other, tend to get along.

Craig: They really do. And these people that are that you're mentioning, whether it be in the media, or even politics, or even the corporate world and stuff, too. What are they trying to sell. And usually they're trying to stir the pot of dissension and decide. 

Doug: To sell advertising and.

Craig: Yeah.

Doug: Anything you watch on any channel is trying to sell advertising.

Craig: Absolutely. They're trying to sell advertising, they're trying to win votes, they're trying to, they're trying to sell you something so careful caution.

Doug: Right.

Craig: And there's a human tendency like all of us to exaggerate a little bit to help get your point across. But of course, we've seen that it's well beyond just a little bit of exaggeration. Yesterday.

Doug: One of my favorite t-shirts I saw I and my daughter's inherited this trait is you know, well, I've been known to employ hyperbole on a number of occasions, but it said Exaggerator is anonymous, a trillion strong and growing.

Craig: A lot people. 

Doug: I love that word. So, all right. Well, it's so so Craig, where can people go to find out more? Sir? Do you have a website or any any resources we can share with people? Because I think that what hopefully we're helping people to understand is that the notion of faith doesn't have to be constrained to a religion. You know, it's really about it's really about your personal beliefs. And it's it's really personal and doesn't, doesn't have to create different differentiation or separation between people can actually bring people together, even if your faith is different.

Craig: Yeah, absolutely. And again, when I say the word faith, I'm thinking more of the religious perspective, including the belief there is no God, atheism or agnosticism, and that kind of stuff. Right? Which again, if you throw those two together, that's called the human race. 

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: You're one of those camps. I mean, you have to be on if you're human, right, you have well, but But to your point, some deeply, deeply held beliefs, whether it be political or maybe the way a family should be run, or, and recently, we've even seen different racial related things.

Doug: Yeah.

Craig: Just just passionate beliefs of people, right. So I can't point people in all directions on that. Now there is called the World Wide Web. But you know, warning, warning what you see there, but as of this fall, there's an organization I've gotten involved with. It's called the religious freedom and business foundation.

Doug: Okay.

Craig: And that's targeted...