Where are the Faithful Business Leaders?

Jun 20, 2020

This article is the first in a series. You can find the next article here.

Many leaders I speak to want to be faithful. They want to leave their organizations better off. They want to have made an impact on those around them, and in the world. However, these same leaders are easily distracted by other pressing concerns.

We often get caught up in the day to day survival, making just enough profit to get by. There isn't very much room for taking care of ourselves, let alone caring for employees or investing for the long term. Ironically, Wall Street looks toward short-term earning calls rather than lasting impact, but this is also true in privately held companies. 

I spent years in the grind of software development only to be crushed by the effort. After 9/11, companies stopped buying expensive software. With no vacations and mandatory overtime, the team worked countless hours to eke out enough profit to survive. The business model could not be sustained during a recessionary cycle, and my team was laid off. In the end, this left me burned out and disillusioned about business.  Was there a business model that wasn't so fragile? Were there ways of governing that did not exploit people, but instead left them better off? 

As I sought answers, I recognized that profitability is a means, not the end. Without profit, we can't make it anywhere. But, if we focus on profit alone, we lose our humanity. 

I started slashBlue, an IT services company, with the hope that I could provide a better place to work that could make a lasting impact.

And so the question is, "How can you leave a lasting legacy and impact through your work with competitive pressure and distractions?”

The Faithful Leader 

When I ask leaders about a life well-lived, faith often enters into the picture.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25), we see that there's more to it than just getting a good income for our work. God gives all people His talents to work for His purposes.  For leaders, that often means not only their abilities and resources, but the capabilities of those they lead, supply chains, and vast resources in their organizations. Those who are faithful are rewarded with satisfying joy, and greater opportunity to work for Him. It is a wonderful reward to live at the intersection of good work and joy in God!

What does it mean for you to be faithful with your God-given talents in your work?


Purpose, People and Profit

For many years, I have led my organization with explicit measures for purpose, people, and profit and taught many others to do the same.  It has allowed us to build a Christ-like culture in the workplace with high employee and customer retention fueled by double-digit growth in revenues. 

God's word applies to every sphere of life, including work.  When leaders pursue God's eternal purposes with all our marketplace resources and talents, we honor Him and bring His values and light to the workplace. Are some of God's instructions irrelevant for the workplace? By no means! All of life, including our work, should be done for the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). In fact, it is when we live out the whole counsel of His word in the workplace that we leave a truly lasting impact. To follow God's word is leading with purpose!

The people we lead are resources given by God, and how we lead them matters. We have the opportunity to decide whom to hire, what partners will join in our purpose, and how to encourage them to use their God-given talents well. Leading with consistent character and treating staff with care is a value to God (Jeremiah 22:13-16). 

I think we all intuitively know that money is a means to an end.  Money is good but dangerous.  We need it for organizations to survive and thrive. Profit is the essential fuel that allows organizations to run.  But, we must always beware of the desire for money. Paul warns in 1 Timothy 6:9, that "those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." Profit is good and necessary and part of God's ongoing provision for business and His purposes.  When we see money as a means rather than an end, only then can we use it wisely. 

Too often, we measure our success by money and profit alone. When we do, our people suffer and our purpose stalls. How common is it to live out the law of love in the workplace? Jesus said in John 13:34, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." Those leaders who live this out in the workplace create transformational cultures that attract and retain great talent. 

When an organization is operating with profit as fuel, care for people, and progress toward their purpose, I call this Meaningful Momentum.

Model, Move, Measure

Three things are needed for a leader to be faithful in leading their organization to achieve Meaningful Momentum.

1)       Model for Meaningful Momentum – Make the model of the organization's success. Create a scalable, repeatable model that ensures there is enough profit to drive growth, care for people well, and invest for lasting impact.

2)       Move with Purpose – Move with purpose, with everyone in the organization doing the right activities that result in the desired outcomes. It starts with the leaders deciding to take a step, then another to grow themselves and their organization's maturity through intentional, consistent investment.

3)       Measure investment - The best companies weigh their investment. Good decision making requires measuring the results that have been achieved and weighing stewardship against success criteria. 

By following this simple approach, an organization and its leaders can increase profit, create a Christ-honoring culture, and invest for lasting impact.

Are you ready to take a step towards Meaningful Momentum?

This article is the first in a series. You can find the next article here.


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