Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Ambition, Egos And Leadership

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    April 24, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy   These days we seem to assume that ambition, inflated egos and leadership go together like a yolk, egg white and shell go together to comprise a fresh egg. Leaders want desperately to advance their organizations and themselves, so strong, even overbearing egos appear necessary if their ambitions are to be realized. In fact, their boards and stakeholders often encourage a “whatever it takes” mindset for governing their leadership tactics.

    However, my friend Randy, a pastor, recently offered some thoughts that challenge such thinking. Why should business and professional people be concerned about what a clergyman says? Because, as he wrote, “We are like small business owners fighting to get the people’s attention through advertising. Part of attracting folks…is attracting them to ourselves. Our advertising, whether through constant participation in social media or hyping our stories, can easily blow up our egos, sense of competition, and conceit.”

    One particular danger, Randy pointed out, is the temptation to give preference to those in a position to help us to maximize goals and ambitions. “When we are loved by powerful, important, influential, well-known, or wealthy people, it is quite easy to make them a priority and steal time from the poor, the isolated, the insignificant, and the overlooked.”

    Without question, powerful, influential and affluent people – often customers or investors – are critical to the survival and growth of organizations. But if as followers of Jesus Christ one of our foremost goals is to serve Him and point others to Him, then we must remember what He said: “…the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Matthew 20:28). In a similar way, one of the best ways for representing Jesus is to serve others, especially those that cannot reciprocate.

    This may run counter to the philosophies and values of many in the marketplace, but the truths and principles presented by Jesus often ran counter to the cultures in which He and His followers lived as well. The apostle Paul, for example, wrote, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others as better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3). In no way did he suggest there might be exceptions for those engaged in business or commerce.

    To be honest, the employers and bosses that impressed me the most over the course of my working career were those who seemed to regard me as more important than themselves, who made special efforts at times to seek me out, ask how I was doing, and even assist me in my job if the need and opportunity presented itself. I can assure you, knowing they genuinely had concern for my well-being inspired me to work even harder in trying to fulfill and exceed their expectations.

    As Paul wrote elsewhere, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited” (Romans 12:16). This works for people regardless of their status or the work setting, whether in the marketplace, education, politics, media, or vocational ministry. 

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books, including Advancing Through Adversity by Mike Landry. Bob’s website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you think force of ego can be a positive factor in a leader’s effectiveness? Why or why not?

     

    1. If we concede that we all have egos and self-interests, at what point can we recognize when ego and pursuit of goals and ambition have gone too far?

     

    1. How can we consciously achieve a balance between worthy ambition and profits, while also ensuring that people of less importance and lower standing are not ignored or mistreated?

     

    1. What in the life and example of Jesus Christ would inspire you to “in humility consider others better than yourselves”?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:2, 15:33, 16:18-19, 18:12, 21:24; 22:4, 29:23; Colossians 3:12

  2. ‘Cowboy Logic’ About Calves – And People

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    April 17, 2017 – Ken Korkow   Even though I have spent many years in the business world, some of my greatest, most profound lessons about life – and work – have come from my time as a “cowboy,” spent on a family ranch in South Dakota, U.S.A. For instance, I have learned a lot about relationships with people while working with young cows – and observing other people working with them.

    Experience have taught me that in working calves, there are three places to be:

    1. When working with calves, most people not familiar with them do not want to get to close. So they stick a hand out and try to make the calf do what they want from an arm’s distance away. But the calf kicks and often, at the apex of the kick, strikes the person in the leg. Bottom line: minimum accomplished, and maximum pain.
    2. A few people actually charge the calf. They get one hand on the ear, and the other hand on the tail. They put their clean blue jeans up close and personal to the calf’s unclean hind end. Bottom line: the calf still kicks, but they are so close it does not hurt. And usually they can get the calf to go where they want it to go.
    3. The other alternative to do is stay out of the pen and away from the calves entirely. Bottom line: The person does not get hurt, and their clean jeans do not get dirty. But no work is accomplished.

    My cowboy experience has also shown me how working with people is a lot like working with calves. If you are not willing to get very close and personal, you might as well stay out of the relationship.

    We often become frustrated with what people do. We wonder why are they doing this – or that? Without being willing to go deeper in relationships with them, getting below the surface to uncover the relevant issues, we will never get the answers. This is why, if we desire to build meaningful relationships with people, approaches #1 and #3 will not work. We must get close – and must risk getting dirty. This applies to employers and their employees; business and professional people engaging with their colleagues at work, and even in interactions with customers and suppliers.

    We see in the life of Jesus Christ that He made the decision not to focus on large crowds or confine His attention to people with influence and affluence. Instead, He went extremely deep – the equivalent of a 3½ -year camping trip – with a handful of unlikely individuals, men He chose to become His disciples. No staying an arm’s length away; no hiding out. Neither was an option. Everything in their relationship was open and transparent.

    But we cannot go deep with everyone. We have neither the time nor the energy. And we cannot invest in every good opportunity that presents itself. We must follow God’s leading, starting with our relationship with God. In Mark 12:30, Jesus said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” This is the foundation for all other relationships.

    In the next verse, Mark 12:31, Jesus cited the next relationship priority: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This includes our spouse, family, people where we work, friends, even people who live in our neighborhood. The order of priority Jesus gave is important, because we cannot truly love our “neighbor” – whoever that might be – without first loving God as fully and deeply as we can.

    Then, even in the workplace, we can carry out the final instructions Jesus gave His followers in His last moments on earth. We can “make disciples of all nations…teaching them to observe everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). We can only do this if we’re willing to get close, and risk getting dirty.

    Ken Korkow lives in Omaha, Nebraska, U.S.A., where he serves as an area director for CBMC. This is adapted from his “Fax of Life” column. Used with permission. 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever been on a ranch or a farm, and interacted with the animals? If you were asked to approach a calf, which approach do you think you would take?

     

    1. Korkow observes that in working with calves – and with people – it is necessary to get close, and be willing to get dirty. What is your reaction to this?

     

    1. Why do you think willingness to get close to people can be so difficult? What has been your experience in doing this?

     

    1. It is stated that the key to developing deep, meaningful relationships with people is first having a deep, meaningful relationship with God. Do you agree? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 12:26, 17:17, 27:9-10; Philippians 4:9; 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8,11-12; 2 Timothy 2:2

  3. Success And Self-Control

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    April 10, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy   “At no time is self-control more difficult than in times of success.” I do not know the originator of this unattributed quote, but it seems to carry a lot of wisdom. Success has an annoying habit of feeding egos, puffing up those who succeed with pride and overconfidence.

    We can see this every day in the news – entertainers, professional athletes and other celebrities strutting about proudly, basking in the adulation they receive and reveling in media spotlight that shines on them. Few things have the effect of bloating one’s self-image more than success.

    This phenomenon manifests itself in the marketplace as well. Sales executives closing important sales in rapid succession and then finding great difficulty containing their egos. A person receives a promotion, and suddenly becomes tempted to regard himself as more important than he was before. Someone else receives a prestigious award and before long she proceeds to “lord it over” her peers and colleagues.

    This is hardly new; it is a problem that has spanned the ages. More than 150 years ago, then U.S. President Abraham Lincoln observed, “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” In his view, strength of character is revealed not in the brutish exercise of authority, but in one’s ability to retain a sense of humility in the wake of success.

    Many centuries earlier, the apostle Paul wrote about this to Christians in ancient Rome, admonishing, Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment” (Romans 12:3). In other words, we should strive to keep our successes and personal victories in proper perspective.

    Even before Paul made that observation, Jesus Christ taught about the virtues of genuine humility. He said, “For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:12).

    And thousands of years before Abraham Lincoln offered his thoughts about how power and status can test character, the writer in the Old Testament book of Proverbs made a similar observation. “The crucible for silver and the furnace for gold, but man is tested by the praise he receives” (Proverbs 27:21). As Lincoln noted, while we tend to perceive adversity and hardship as severe tests, how we respond when things are going very well can be just as revealing.

    How then should we respond when success comes our way, whatever that endeavor might be? We all want to succeed in our work, as well as in our personal lives. But that does not warrant practically breaking our arms patting ourselves on the back. If we refuse to let success go to our heads, we may well find commendation coming from other sources: “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; someone else, and not your own lips” (Proverbs 27:2).

    Another passage instructs that focusing on God, who provides us with the opportunities, talents and resources to succeed, is the best approach: “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and edited numerous other books. His website is www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com, and his biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you agree with the assertion that self-control can be very difficult when experiencing times of success? Why or why not?

     

    1. Can you think of an example, whether it is a famous person or someone you know personally, whose behavior demonstrated that they could not manage to keep success in proper perspective? If so, how was that exhibited?

     

    1. Why do you think the way people handle success, power, and other forms of prosperity can become as much a test of character as how they respond to adversity?

     

    1. What steps can we take to ensure that we maintain a sense of genuine humility – even in advance of achieving success – whether in our work, our businesses, or personal pursuits?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:2, 15:33, 16:18-19, 22:4; Philippians 2:3-11; Colossians 3:12; 1 Peter 5:5-6

  4. From Failure To A Five-Star Review

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    April 3, 2017 – Rick Boxx   Matt’s chest tightened as he listened to the voicemail from Roger, an unsatisfied client. What he was hearing was something no businessperson wants to hear: “Matt, we will not be needing your services any longer. Your company dropped the ball on this project.”

    Initially, his reaction ranged from disappointment to feeling disheartened. Instead of making excuses or begging for a second chance, however, Matt responded out of conviction that he needed to do the right thing. He called the client, offering a 100 percent refund on the fee that had already been paid, as well as his personal guarantee to correct the problem.

    Somewhat surprised that Matt did not respond in a defensive manner, the frustration and disappointment of his client, Roger, suddenly softened. Encouraged by the professional and caring manner by which Matt handled the situation, the client responded with a 5-star online review of Matt’s company. In addition, this turned apparent disaster into an opportunity to continue and even expand their business relationship.

    Because Matt had been quick to acknowledge his company’s poor performance, potential failure turned into a stellar, 5-star review and recommendation.

    Too often we are tempted to offer excuses when things go wrong, or shift blame elsewhere, rather than recognizing our personal and corporate shortcomings. However, as the Bible’s Old Testament book of wisdom points out, “He who conceals his sin does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13).

    This is not a guarantee that admission of unsatisfactory service will always result in retaining customers, but it is a good principle to follow for these reasons:

    Wronging a customer is also wronging God. “When the heavens are shut up and there is no rain because your people have sinned against you, and when they pray toward this place and give praise to your name and turn from their sin because you have afflicted them” (1 Kings 8:35).

    Righting a wrong through restitution restores the relationship. “Speak to the sons of Israel, ‘When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind, acting unfaithfully against the Lord, and that person is guilty, and must confess the sin they have committed. They must make full restitution for the wrong they have done, add a fifth of the value to it and give it all to the person they have wronged’” (Numbers 5:6-7).

    Acknowledging a wrong brings healing for ourselves. “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed” (James 5:16).

    These principles offer powerful motivation for recognizing and making amends for doing wrong or failing to live up to our commitments in business. By taking ownership of our mistakes and admitting our failures can become an opportunity to showcase your heart. God, and others, will honor this.

    Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Question

    1. Has someone you have done business with ever acknowledged when they failed to fulfill what they had promised to do, and then made amends to you? If they did, what was your reaction? Did that restore your trust in them enough for you to consider doing business with them again? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Can you recall a time when you were the one admitting to having failed to meet the customer’s expectations and standards? What action did you take – and what was the customer’s response?

     

    1. Why do you think it is sometimes so difficult to admit our errors or failures, or to be willing to make amends when needed?

     

    1. What do you think about this real-life scenario, where a client had intended to terminate the business relationship, only to reverse his decision and end up highly endorsing the company that had failed?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Leviticus 19:18; Matthew 5:42-44, 7:12; Mark 12:33; Acts 20:35

  5. Who Will Remember Your Name?

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    March 27, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy    Patrick Morley, who wrote the best-selling book, The Man in the Mirror, and became a pioneer in the Christian men’s movement a few decades ago, is an astute observer of humankind. Recently he began a blog post by reflecting on “an enormously successful businessman and iconic philanthropist” in his city:

    “His name was constantly in the press,” Morley wrote. “He was far more well-known than you or I will ever be, yet 10 years after the last time I heard his name, I cannot remember it. And there are many more just like him.” Then he asked his readers, “Who will remember your name 10 years after you die? What a great question by which to prioritize your life!”

    Morley was right. Most of the people who make the headlines today, those whose names are heard almost daily in the business periodicals, news broadcasts, or entertainment media, will be long forgotten within a decade’s time, replaced by other more recently “famous” individuals. Think, for instance, of the “one-hit wonders” in the music industry. They recorded one or two popular songs that kept everyone humming for a while, then seemingly disappeared. Occasionally we might hear their songs again in the radio, but we are at a loss trying to remember who the recording artists were.

    The same could be said about one-time “stars” in any field of endeavor, including the business and professional world. So the question is valid: Who will remember your name 10 years after you die – and if they do remember it, why?

    In the Bible’s book of Proverbs, we find a number of thought-provoking references that underscore how fleeting fame can be. We also can learn how to establish a name that will be remembered – and for good reasons:

    A good name is priceless. A solid reputation can be destroyed in a moment of bad judgment, but a lasting legacy fondly remembered requires an entire lifetime to establish. “A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold” (Proverbs 22:1). 

    Be someone people want to remember, not are eager to forget. There are good leaders and bad leaders; bad ones are not likely to be remembered for long. “The memory of the righteous will be a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot” (Proverbs 10:7). “Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out” (Proverbs 24:19-20).

    Focus on what will last, not on things that can be lost or rapidly decay over time. Temporal things, those that cannot be kept forever or that decline in worth over time, are vain pursuits. This is why Jesus instructed His followers to focus on the eternal, rather than the temporary: Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:19-21).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring, and has co-authored and edited numerous other books. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you answer the question, “Who will remember your name 10 years after you die?”

     

    1. Why is it, do you think, that so many people that regularly appear in the public spotlight are forgotten after they die, or even soon after their careers come to an end?

     

    1. What can you do to ensure that long after you are gone – from the company where you work, from the community where you live, or even from this life – that people will remember your name, and for the right reasons?

     

    1. Do you think this should even be a concern, whether people will remember us years after our life on earth has come to an end? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

    Proverbs 11:30, 13:9, 25:9-10, 27:24; Matthew 7:13-14; Philippians 4:9; 2 Timothy 2:2

  6. Facing The Forgiveness Challenge

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    March 20, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy   When was the last time you forgave someone for a wrong they had done to you? When was the last time you went to someone else and asked for their forgiveness?

    These can be challenging questions, because among the many things we are asked to do in today’s business and professional world, forgiving and being forgiven are often among the most difficult. So difficult, in fact, many people choose to avoid them entirely. We hang onto grudges and nurse hurts rather than attempting to reconcile relationships. Instead of requesting forgiveness, even if we realize we have said or done something wrong, we ignore it, hoping the offending party will forget over time.

    C.S. Lewis, one of the great thinkers of the 20th century, summed it up well when he observed, “Everyone thinks that forgiveness is a lovely idea, until he has something to forgive.” He might well have been saying that when it comes to forgiveness, it is more blessed to receive than to give.

    Veteran consultants and executive coaches know a recurring issue their clients must confront involves forgiveness. Failure to forgive can destroy partnerships, leadership teams, even entire organizations. It might range from something simple, such as unkind words, to doing something in anger that we later regret, to total failure to fulfill a major business commitment.

    It can be easy to say, “forgive and forget,” but extremely hard to do. Often, to forgive feels like letting someone off the hook for wrongdoing without making amends. Instead, we decide never to forget the harm they have done to us. The problem is, we can become victims of our own unwillingness to forgive. Offending parties may not be aware of the pain we harbor, they may not care, or we may have lost contact with them, leaving no opportunity for reconciliation or restitution.

    What then should we do about forgiveness? The Bible offers sound advice on this matter:

    Be willing to forgive even more than necessary. Talking to His followers, Jesus dismissed the “eye for an eye” vengeance approach for correcting wrongs. Instead, He urged being the “bigger person” in the conflict. “But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well…” (Matthew 5:38-40). 

    Consider how much God has forgiven us. In offering His model prayer as a guide, Jesus put special emphasis on forgiving others. “Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors…. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:12-15). 

    Failure to forgive can plant seeds of bitterness. Even if feelings are justified, being able to forgive can free us from a form of “emotional cancer.” “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:31-32).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Reviewing the opening questions, when was the last time you forgave someone for a wrong they had done to you? What were the circumstances, and how did you go about forgiving that person?

     

    1. When was the last time you went to someone else and asked for their forgiveness? What kind of response did you receive? How easy was it for you to ask that individual – or group – to forgive?

     

    1. Are you presently struggling with circumstances in which forgiveness is needed? Have you reached a point where you believe that you should take steps to seek resolution, in one way or another? Explain your answer.

     

    1.  How should an awareness of how much God has forgiven us about our own wrongdoings toward Him – our sins – affect our thinking about forgiving someone else, or seeking their forgiveness?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

    Genesis 50:15-21; 1 Kings 8:47-52; Matthew 18:23-35; Mark 11:25; 2 Corinthians 2:10

  7. Principles For Running Your Business

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    March 13, 2017 – Jim Langley   A few years back, I had the opportunity to share my broad business goals with approximately 40 insurance agents when I was honored by my company for 25 years of service with our company. I offered some words from personal experience, explaining the goals I have followed are simple and yet profound: Be there; be studious; be disciplined; be persistent and consistent; be service-minded; be positive; and be near God.

    I told them that I believe these goals can be applied regardless of what direction a person takes in business and life. Over the years I have come to a better understanding of what works and does not work in selling to and servicing my clients. Let me elaborate:

    Be there. For my clients, I need to follow the words Jesus gave to His disciples in John 13:33-34: “Love one another” and place the needs of our clients before our own needs. When I follow this command, I take my work much more seriously and develop a strong desire to help others as well as I can in a timely fashion.

    Be studious. I need to continually keep up with changes in insurance laws and available products to best accommodate my clients’ needs. One of my life verses reminds me, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward” (Colossians 3:23-24) This is all the reminder I need to remain on the cutting edge of my profession.

    Be disciplined. I must stick to viable systems and only work with companies I know I can trust. Proverbs 1:7 reminds us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of all knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline.” My clients want me to be wise in my recommendations and not act foolishly with their investments and well-being.

    Be persistent and consistent. I must understand the value of every “No,” and persevere to earn the next “Yes” as I meet with prospects. In James 1:12 we are encouraged, “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.” I consider my business a part of serving God; I know He is pleased when I honor Him in my work.

    Be service-minded. I must always place the needs of others above personal gratification. Ephesians 6:7 instructs us, “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, whether he is slave or free.” I consider myself a servant to each of my clients, but even more, I am a servant to my Lord.

    Be positive. I need to “hang around” other positive people as much as possible. Hebrews 10:24-25 reminds us, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” With so much negativity in this world, we need to immerse ourselves in positive thinking and behavior to ward off the negative, counterproductive behavior that is so prevalent.

    Be near God (most important). I need to clearly understand my purpose in life and be reminded who is really in charge. God can provide us with a peace “which transcends all understanding,” proclaimed by the apostle Paul in Philippians 4:6-7. This helps me remain close to Him and always look to Him as I deal with circumstances in life, whether it involves my business, family, or other areas of my personal life.

    I believe these seven broad goals can serve anyone well in life, but the catalyst that makes it all work is Jesus Christ. He offers to be our example and coach as we do our best to serve Him and our clients, and deal with all that He places in our path.

    © 2017. Jim Langley has been an agent with New York Life since 1983 and an active member of CBMC of Santa Barbara, California, U.S.A. since 1987. His website fourthquarterstrategies.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you have business goals that guide your approach to work each day? If so, what are they – and how do you use them?

     

    1. Which of the goals cited by Mr. Langley seems most meaningful or significant to you? Is this a new idea for you, or does it relate to goals or principles you are currently following in your work?

     

    1. Why do you think goals are necessary, whether for establishing and building a business, or for simply going about our everyday lives?

     

    1. Do you disagree with any of the seven goals listed? Or would you suggest adding any other goals to this list? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

    Proverbs 1:1-7; John 13:33-34; 1 Corinthians 10:31; Colossians 3:17; 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12

  8. When You Are The Oldest Person In The Room

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    March 6, 2017 – Rick Boxx   Not long ago a business leader, Kevin, mentioned he has found himself adjusting to the fact that he is often the oldest man in the room. Just as he used to look up to his elders, Kevin said he has now become one of those “elders,” and others are looking up to him for guidance. This reality, he admitted, can be both flattering and daunting.

    It is like an athlete joining a professional sports team as a rookie, competing year after year, and one day becoming aware that he or she has become the seasoned pro, the person younger players look up to for leadership and experience. There is the sense of accomplishment that comes with longevity, but also the humbling sense of being the “wise old veteran” expected to set the pace and show the way.

    For those of us who have been in the workplace for many years, insecurities can cause us to doubt we have much to offer, despite achievements and accumulated experience. Younger people typically display much enthusiasm and energy, along with fresh, innovative ideas. However, as we mature both personally and professionally, God may want us to embrace these times when our voices and perspectives, offered with humility, become useful for guiding the younger leaders in our organizations.

    Some societies seem to defer to young, emerging leaders, recognizing they represent the future. And yet, we all would be in error if we failed to utilize the collective wisdom and expertise of older leaders who can draw from proven track records of performance and success. The Bible addresses this in many ways:

    Setting positive examples. Younger people need strong, consistent models of proper behavior, principles and values to use in the workplace. What they observe and learn will help in shaping how they approach their own careers. “Encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:6-8).

    Passing on what we have learned and experienced. Life and work provide us with a rich storehouse of knowledge and experiences. We should consider ourselves stewards of these, being eager to share and pass them along to younger team members. “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me – put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you” (Phil 4:9).

    Establishing an enduring legacy. Part of our legacy, both professionally and personally, is established through the training, equipping and preparing of those that one day will succeed us in our jobs and other meaningful pursuits. “And the things you have heard me say in the presence of man witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

    With age and maturity – in the workplace, our homes and communities – comes added responsibility. Before “turning over the keys” to newer colleagues and associates, we should plan to serve as examples and encouragers, guiding them in sound business practices and pointing them toward their own success.

    Copyright 2017, Integrity Resource Center, Inc. Adapted with permission from “Integrity Moments with Rick Boxx,” a commentary on issues of integrity in the workplace from a Christian perspective. To learn more about Integrity Resource Center , visit www.integrityresource.org. His new book, Unconventional Business, provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.” 

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Where do you rank among those you work with – are you one of the senior staff members, one of the younger ones, or somewhere in between? If you are one of the older ones, what do you think should be expected of you, drawing from your experience? If you are a newer team member, what would you like to receive from those having greater knowledge and expertise?

     

    1. Why do you think suddenly realizing that you are the oldest – or one of the older – members of the workplace team can be unsettling for some people?

     

    1. How can an older, more seasoned worker overcome a sense of insecurity in interacting with younger members of the team?

     

    1. Which of the biblical principles cited seems most meaningful to you – and why? Is it the importance of setting an example, passing along what you have learned, or establishing a strong legacy? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:

    1 Corinthians 4:16-17; 2 Corinthians 3:5; Philippians 3:17; 1 Timothy 1:18-19; 2 Timothy 1:13-14

  9. The Integrity Of Paying Bills On Time

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    February 27, 2017 – Jim Mathis   Years ago, when my wife and I were in the photofinishing business, I received a letter from a high-ranking official at Eastman Kodak. I was a little nervous that Kodak might cancel our account, since we were very small for such a large company. Even though we bought a couple thousand dollars in film, chemicals and paper each month, that was still a very meager amount by Fortune 500 standards.

    I was surprised when I opened the letter because it was the opposite of what I expected. It was a letter of commendation, thanking us for paying our bills on time. In the 15-20 years we had been doing business with The Eastman Kodak Company, we had never missed a discount or were even one day late in paying our bill. That level of integrity deserved a personal letter from a vice president of the company. I was pleased with myself, but even more impressed that someone at Kodak would recognize our financial reliability and take the time to write a letter.

    This came to mind recently as my wife and I were leading a “Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University” class in our home. I have not always been as faithful in paying my bills on time as I was years ago, but in recent months have made a renewed commitment to paying our bills before their due dates.

    All business is built on relationships. People like to do business with people they like, including those who are prompt in meeting their obligations. Having to send “Past Due” notices can quickly sour relationships, and people who are slow to pay soon run out of suppliers. For those wanting to serve as “marketplace ambassadors” for Jesus Christ, as described in 2 Corinthians 5:20, such diligences provides an unspoken witness to the character of the God we follow by faith.

    Here are some related principles the Bible gives to us:
    Faithfulness in obligations, even small ones, qualifies for greater responsibilities. We often must demonstrate we can be relied upon in small matters before we can be entrusted with greater things. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own? (Luke 16:10-12).
    Paying bills on time provides financial freedom. Prompt payment of obligations minimizes the accumulation of interest, and can pave the way to gain the trust of our suppliers as our companies grow and our need for resources increases. “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender” (Proverbs 22:7)
    Prompt payment will enable us to stand out in the crowd. In an environment when it is so common for businesses to wait until the last possible moment to pay bills, a commitment to pay promptly speaks a lot to the integrity of the organization and its people, whether owners, top executives or employees. Above all, my brothers and sisters, do not swear–not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. All you need to say is a simple ‘Yes’ or ‘No.’ Otherwise you will be condemned (James 5:12).

    Jim Mathis is the owner of a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, specializing in executive, commercial and theatrical portraits, and operates a school of photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. In your experience, how prompt in paying bills are the people and companies that deal with your organization?

     

    1. What is your typical practice in paying your obligations – do you pay them quickly, or do you tend to wait until the absolute due date?

     

    1. Do you agree that the way we pay bills makes a statement about our integrity and dependability? Or do you think other areas are more vital in terms of integrity? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Give an example of a time when you – or someone you know – demonstrated faithfulness in carrying out even menial tasks that over time resulted in being given greater responsibilities and authority.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 10:9, 11:1,3, 20:7,14, 21:5; Colossians 3:17; James 2:14-17

  10. Genuine Humility–What It Is, And Isn’t

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    February 20, 2017 – Robert J. Tamasy  Can you think of someone that’s genuinely humble? How about someone who has been extremely successful – and yet humble nonetheless? Does anyone come to mind?

    Recently I listened to a talk radio show in which the commentators were discussing humility, and how it relates to a person’s success. One speaker offered his view that humility would hinder a person from succeeding. Someone might project a sense of being humble outwardly, he said, but inwardly the individual must maintain arrogance and extreme self-confidence to become truly successful.

    That prompted me to start wondering, is that true? Are humility and success mutually exclusive? Then I remembered the classic business book by Jim Collins, Good to Great, in which he describes what he terms “Level 5 leaders,” people that led organizations that were not merely good, but great. After much research, Collins and his team discovered that among the qualities top leaders possessed, they included both humility and “ferocious resolve, a stoic determination to do whatever needs to be done to make a company great.”

    Contrary to the talk-show speaker’s opinion, leaders who guided their companies from good to great did not have to believe they were the central focus of everything that happened. In fact, Collins wrote, “The good-to-great leaders never wanted to become larger-than-life heroes. They never aspired to be put on a pedestal or become unreachable icons. They were seemingly ordinary people quietly producing extraordinary results.” They also were quick to deflect praise, redirecting it to their teams.

    How does this happen? Today the media spotlight seems to shine brightest on egotistical corporate leaders, sports figures, entertainers and other celebrities. There does not seem to be much of a “market” for the self-effacing, humble type of leader that Collins described in his book. And yet, according to the book of Proverbs, humility is a prized commodity for anyone holding a leadership capacity:

    Leaders that focus on self are flirting with disaster. Throughout history we see examples of self-centered leaders whose decisions were shaped by ambition, pride and greed, leading to their ultimate demise. “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2). “Before his downfall a man’s heart is proud, but humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 18:12). 

    Humble leaders recognize the source of their abilities and accomplishments. We all have innate strengths and abilities; we may have worked hard to develop and refine them, but often the talents were there already. Recognizing God as the source is a big step toward becoming a humble, yet successful leader. “The fear of the Lord teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor” (Proverbs 15:33). “Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

    Humility enables a leader to seek – and receive – counsel and advice from others. The humble leader understands he or she is not all-knowing, so they are very responsive to the input from others regarding important decisions. “Do you see a man wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him” (Proverbs 26:12).

    © 2017. Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. Bob has written Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Tufting Legacies; and coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring. His biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do you think genuine humility can become an obstacle in a person’s quest for success? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Who would you identify as someone who is truly humble, not just someone who projects the appearance of humility when it seems useful to do so?

     

    1. Why is humility seemingly such a rare virtue, particularly in the business and professional world, where so many are determined to do whatever is necessary to succeed?

     

    1. How is it possible for leaders to effectively communicate a willingness to accept input and feedback without compromising their authority in the eyes of those who follow them?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  Proverbs 13:10, 16:5,18, 25:27; Luke 9:23; Philippians 2:3-4

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