Gabby's Entry #7

"Winning with Dell"

Last week we were at our retreat.  We were sitting in a sunny courtyard in hammocks and lawn chairs discussing a recent chapter we had read in the book When Christ Lives in Us.  It was describing how God calls us and how it's not just a one-time flash-in-the-pan kind of thing.  It's a lifelong journey.  It takes a diverse group of people to do God's work.  And this got me to thinking. 

It's amazing how life is such a cycle.  A learning environment.  In Spanish there is an expressive word, "educador".  I have been told there is no literal translation or equivalent in English.  We have to use two words.  It means to learn and to teach.  

Often people think of companies such as Dell as the evil doers in this world - only out to make money, taking advantage of the poor with total disregard to the environment and people. While sometimes this may be true (because, afterall, perception is reality) these places are also home to thousands of people striving to do right by their families.  There is always room to find yourself if you're willing to look, willing to go the extra mile, spend your time and exert your energy.  

I spent many hours working on the concept of appreciating diversity.  I did this at Dell with countless other souls, hoping to make our company one of the best in the world at appreciating it's people.  This isn't an easy task for a global, multi-billion dollar company, but people from Michael Dell on down believed this was the right direction for the company.

So why does this deserve a write-up on our mission website?  Well because of a slogan, a mission statement, that Dell coined.  It is: "When there are no gaps between what we say we value and believe and our behaviors."  

Copyright Dell, May 2003

What struck me was how this is, or should be, a lifelong goal for all Christians around the globe.  I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have acted in ways other than one who is trying to live a Christ-like life.  I'm sure some of you can think of some samples.  Like the time in high school in my junior year when I thought it would be funny to tie my friend's shoelace to his desk.  Funny?  Yes, but maybe I should have spent more time on the Spanish than on gags that got the whole class into trouble.  Granted, this teacher also taught me stuff like, "Callate su boca!"  (Shut you mouth!), but I'm sure I could have learned more if I'd paid closer attention.  Perhaps if I spent less time chewing gum that got me standing in the front of the class with it on my nose, I wouldn't be telling Scott the wrong word for nails and continually calling him mi esposa (my wife). 

I think of how many people (like me) SAY they are one thing but then act totally opposite of the morale or belief they claim to have.  Christianity, to me, is more about how you ACT and how you make people feel than how many times you pray or go to church. 

I am proud of my time at Dell.  And no this isn't part of a six-step self-help program I have entered into, it's the truth.  In six and a half years I believe I walked away a better person then I began.  Our friend Charity says that you should take ownership of things.  Really OWN them.  I believe this goes for your past as well.  I think we should all focus on taking the good out of our experiences and owning them and growing with them.  I read somewhere recently that all our experiences are blessings from God, some are just more apparent in the midst of it then others. So, I could sit back and bellyache about the struggles and challenges I had, or I can think about all the people I met, know, and love because I worked at Dell.  I can remember the positive impressions people there made on me.  And I can remember that even a global computer company has something to teach me if I just listen. 

Sometimes God teaches us in the most unusual tools. 

Bible Verse
Matthew 23: 1-4 

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat.  So you must obey them and do everything they tell you. But do no do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. They tie up heavy loads and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them."