François Michelin, for 51 years head of the Michelin Group, highlighted the importance of Catholic culture in valuing the person, who he said is fundamental to success in business. Addressing last week's "Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples," organized by the Communion and Liberation movement, the French entrepreneur revealed the secrets of his tire-making enterprise, demonstrating that a Christian can successfully apply evangelical teachings in the production process and in the market. Michelin, now his firm's honorary president, explained that "a true businessman responds to the client, and this is why he is always looking for a product of better quality that can be offered, while controlling the price." Vital for a well-functioning business is the ability "to bring out into the light the diamond that is in each person," he said. In this connection, Michelin said that one of the people who contributed most to the development of tires was a worker who had been hired as a printer. Eventually, the personnel office realized that he had many other qualities, such as imagination and the ability to do research. Referring to the importance of people, Michelin emphasized the specific contribution of Catholic culture and recalled the work of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who valued even the most seemingly miserable life. "Every human being is unique, irrepeatable," Michelin said. "Functions and labels don't count, the person does." "Both in the factory as well as in society, life is possible only if we listen to and understand the other's reasons," he added. "To love is to see in people what they are."
[Workers], obey [those in authority over you] with respect and fear, and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ. Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but like [workers] of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not men, because you know that the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does… And [managers], treat your [workers] in the same way. Do not threaten them, since you know that he who is both their [Lord] and yours is in heaven, and there is no favoritism with [God].