Business leader strives to change corporate culture

| September 15, 2011 | 0 Comments
Bill Bojan

Leading With Faith winner Bill Bojan said an important decision he made for his company, Integrated Governance Solutions in Bloomington, was to build a chapel on the premises. Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit

On the wall of Bill Bojan’s office at Integrated Governance Solutions in Bloomington hangs a most unusual piece of art.

It’s a painting that shows Jesus talking with two businessmen and shaking hands with one of them. Below the painting are words from the Book of Proverbs: “Unending riches, honor and success are mine to give. . . . My paths are those of justice and truth. Those who love and follow me are indeed wealthy and I will fill their treasuries.”

That, in a nutshell, is what Bojan’s three-year-old company is all about. He tells his clients that their focus should not be on making money, but on practicing ethical principles of governance. If they do, as the verse from Proverbs states, wealth will come.

He believes his job — and his calling — is to help corporations and organizations build structures of authority and governance that will make them, in the long term, morally sound and financially prosperous.

Changing the culture

Bojan knows firsthand what can happen when the bottom line is strictly making money. He spent years working in the corporate world for companies like Arthur Andersen, once a top-five accounting firm before falling apart due to its involvement in the Enron scandal 10 years ago.

After witnessing unethical business practices, and once leaving a Fortune 25 company when executives reacted negatively to immoral practices he reported, he decided to try and change the culture of corporate America by starting a company of his own.

He began with a simple philosophy three years ago — do things God’s way. He steadily built a team of employees (now 12) to assist him, then made one of the most important decisions in establishing the culture of his own office: He built a chapel.

In it are, not one, but two crucifixes, including a large one placed prominently on the back wall with a Bible on a table directly beneath it. The spiritual aura of the space is palpable, and so is the faith of the company’s leader and his employees.

“It’s an incredibly humble, God-centered group of people,” said Bojan, 47, of his staff. “We meet in the chapel every morning and pray. We pray as part of our meeting and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.”

Beyond that, Bojan goes to daily Mass seven days a week, often at his parish, St. Hubert in Chanhassen, plus spends time in a eucharistic adoration chapel. It is here where his inspiration and ideas emerge.

“I have spent, over the last three years, hundreds of hours in eucharistic adoration,” he said. “The grace that I have received from the sacraments and my Catholic faith has strengthened me.”

Mapping the way

Bojan has spent the last three years developing a blueprint for how companies can structure their authority and governance in an ethical and moral way. For those company executives who are open, he will explicitly talk about how to do things God’s way.

“God is the ultimate wealth creator; our ability to create wealth comes from him,” said Bojan, who is married with two children. “When we follow God’s design, we believe companies will be abundantly blessed.”

Yet, Bojan can lay out the same blueprint for sound governance without using explicitly Christian terms. In fact, the four principles on which his program is based do not mention God directly, though they are, as he put it, undergirded by the Catholic faith — integrity, stewardship, accountability and transparency.

“It’s based on a Trinitarian model,” Bojan explained. “Our vision for this is to help leaders and their organizations become polished arrows for the Lord.”

That is, in fact, precisely the image he uses to help explain the concept to potential clients. In his archery model, God the Father is the archer that provides the power, Jesus is the bow that launches the arrow, the arrow nock represents our relationship with Christ that connects us to the string, and the Holy Spirit is the fletching that guides the arrow to its target, which is God’s kingdom —“on earth as it is in heaven.”

And, like an arrow shot from a bow, Bojan is laser focused in his quest to redeem corporate America. According to his nominator for the award, Wayne Waldera, he has what it takes to transform the corporate culture.

“Bill’s leadership has exemplified the requirements of a kingdom calling: faith, trust, surrender and obedience,” Waldera wrote.

“More than once during the development of IGS, Bill and his team have placed the organization itself on the altar, as they sought God’s will for the company. This required times of financial sacrifice, fasting and prayer to seek clarity about the Lord’s calling. In each situation Bill led by example, never expecting anyone to do that which he would not do himself. The result is a surrendered, yet courageous organization, which shares its blessings with everyone it encounters.”

Biography

Title: Founder and CEO of Integrated Governance Solutions, Bloomington

Parish: St. Hubert, Chanhassen

Spouse: Justine

Children: Katelyn and Brian

Activities: Vice chair, board of directors and mentor at Minnesota Teen Challenge; member of adoration commission at St. Hubert; Ultreya represen­tative at Twin Cities Cursillo; volunteer at St. Paul’s Outreach Men on a Mission

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Category: Leading With Faith