Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. The Power Of ‘Listenership’

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    November 12, 2018 – Jim Mathis  When my wife and I sold our custom photo lab in 1996 and joined the staff of CBMC, my adviser, Ted Hubbard, an attorney and judge from England, gave us a five-year plan. He offered some sage advice, recommending I do nothing the first year but listen, meeting with as many people as I could and hearing what was on their hearts.

    The second year, Ted said, I should do much of the same but ask some more probing questions. The third year, as he suggested, I was to begin putting together a picture of what people had been saying. The fourth year was the time to start making a plan, Ted advised, and then begin putting the plan into place in the fifth year.

    For many of us in the marketplace, this seems counterintuitive. We need to get something done – and right now! But I discovered there also was great wisdom in what Ted Hubbard told me to do, to listen intently to people, seriously consider what they were saying, and then develop a plan of action in response to what they had told me.

    What I heard most often those first three years was that people were lonely. They needed somewhere they could simply “hang out,” where they had no responsibilities or expectations. They wanted a place to get together with friends where conversations on topics like spirituality, culture, art and music were encouraged. In short, a meeting place that would become the center of a community and serve as a source of light to the surrounding area.

    This idea led us to open Homer’s Coffee House in 2001. Seventeen years later it is still going strong, and many people say Homer’s was a catalyst to the turnaround in downtown Overland Park. The area has seen explosive, positive growth, much of it due to people meeting at the coffeehouse and discussing hopes for the area’s future.

    In 2008, when we handed off the leadership of Homer’s to another couple, I returned to the photography business and again drew on Ted’s advice about listening. I learned people loved old photographs and wanted somebody to care for and restore their old, faded and damaged photos. Now most of my business is restoring photographs.

    I think of this “listening and waiting” process when I hear of companies hiring new managers, presidents or CEOs and expecting immediate change. Failing to initiate major changes in six months, they may find themselves on the way out. But effective leadership includes listening and caring about people. We might even call it “listeningship.”

    Here are just a few principles about listening from the Bible that merit our consideration:

    The fine art of keeping quiet. It is hard to listen to people when we are always busy talking. “When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise” (Proverbs 10:19).

    Speaking, and listening, at the right speeds. One reason we have trouble listening is that we are focusing on what we plan to say next. When we take time to actively listen, we might discover what we intended to say was wrong, or we might not need to say anything at all. Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry(James 1:19).

    Two ears for listening, only one mouth for speaking. Perhaps the reason God gave us two ears, and only one mouth, is because He wants us to spend twice as much time listening as speaking. “Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both” (Proverbs 20:12). “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and shame” (Proverbs 18:13).

    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 is the author of several books and formerly was a coffee shop manager and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Our enterprises might not provide us with the luxury of simply listening to our customers and clients for the first few years, but what do you think about determining to spend significant time listening before moving into action?

     

    1. Can you think of a time when you determined to actively listen to what people were saying and thinking, and you were surprised by what you heard? If so, describe that situation.

     

    1. Do you agree with the statement that listening and caring are important elements of effective leadership – “listeningship”? Why or why not?

     

    1. Why do you think many leaders seem so reluctant to take/invest time in listening to those they are assigned to lead?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 14:29, 15:7,23, 16:21,23, 17:4,27,28, 21:23, 29:20

  2. What Successful Executives Do Differently

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    November 5, 2018 – Rick Boxx  Leadership consultant Ron Carucci, appearing in a Harvard Business Review video, claims that 50-60 percent of executives fail in their first executive role. Because of this, Carucci studied successful executives to find what they did differently from those who did not succeed. He discovered four key factors.

    The first factor is Breadth. New executives tend to have a narrow view of business. Understanding the whole picture of any organization is critical in having the breadth of knowledge necessary for making wise decisions.

    We see a good example of this shortcoming in the Bible. The apostle Peter was someone who had a hard time seeing the big picture. On one occasion, Jesus gave this rebuke to Peter, “You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s”(Matthew 16:23).

    In their leadership roles, successful executives seek understanding about all aspects of their organizations.

    The second factor Carucci found is Context.Successful executives do the work necessary to gain understanding of trends in their culture, industry, and within their organization. Having a grasp on context will enable you to make wiser and more informed choices.

    Again, in the Scriptures we find a model for this approach to leadership. In 1 Chronicles 12:32, we read about one family that understood the importance of context in decision-making: “The sons of Issachar, men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.”

    When thrust into a new role, successful executives invest time for studying trends and gaining context so they can better serve their organizations.

    The third factor is Choice. Every day brings many options from which to choose. For example, executives must decide where they can best invest their time. If you have ever held an executive role, you already know there are many who believe their project is the best use of your time. But true success comes from being able to say “no” to the distractions and “yes” only to opportunities critical to the mission.

    As Jesus said in Matthew 7:14, “But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”Successful executives learn to say “no” frequently, so they have time for the more important choices.

    The final factor Carucci discovered is Connections.Successful executives know that connecting with others, by building strong relationships and trust, is critical. Establishing the right connections will enable them to leverage those relationships and build trust so that others can help them accomplish their goals. We could cite example after example that could show how working in isolation is not an effective leadership strategy.

    We find this principle addressed in 1 John 4:7, “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”Loving others in one’s workplace is a powerful way to build relationships and trust. In most instances, this leads to mutual success.

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network. 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, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Before reading this “Monday Manna,” what reasons would you have suggested to explain why the majority of executives encounter failure in their first executive roles?

     

    1. Which of the four factors Carucci presented seems most critical to you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. How can an executive succeed in gaining a broader view of the organization, its culture and its needs? What are some steps you think would be helpful in that regard?

     

    1. The last factor Carucci cited is Connections – or relationships. Why would you think many executives fail in this area? How would you assess your own effectiveness in terms of connections and relationships?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 11:14, 15:22, 19:20, 27:17,23; Ecclesiastes 4:9-12; Acts 6:3-4; Hebrews 13:17

  3. Time: Friend or Foe?

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    October 29, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  In the business and professional world, as well as other areas of life, time is somewhat of a paradox. When facing an inflexible deadline, time seems to move incredibly fast, escalating our stress levels. But when we are anxiously awaiting an important decision – perhaps a job promotion, or a potential client deciding whether to sign a contract – the pace of time can seem to slow down significantly.

    During a recent trip to Italy, I observed what occurs in much of Europe. Businesses, including retailers and restaurants, often close during the midafternoon hours to allow everyone to take a rest and become refreshed. It is not uncommon for individuals in Europe to take several weeks, even a month, off from work during the summer months.

    Americans, by contrast, often seem enslaved by time. Many are reluctant to take vacations, for fear a competitor will gain an edge on them or, perhaps, their boss will find someone else to fill their position while they are gone. Some workers even gobble down lunches at their desks, afraid of falling behind in their job demands.

    Just weeks ago, I underwent a second heart surgery, which presented me with a different perspective on time. This surgery, to replace a damaged aortic valve, was accomplished through a much less invasive procedure than my open-heart surgery nearly 12 years ago. So the recovery has been much easier and faster; but the seriousness of the operation still helped to put things in perspective.

    From a job standpoint, the work I do, although I believe it is important, would quickly be done by someone else if I were no longer able to do it. Some of the things I do simply would no longer be done at all. But from the standpoint of relationships I have – with my wife, children, grandchildren, friends, and the men I meet with in mentoring/discipling relationships – that is where my absence would be felt the most.

    So the question is: Moving forward, where is my time best invested? Not to say I should not continue to do the work I enjoy and feel called to do, but not at the expense of time I should be spending with the important people in my life.

    In the Bible, it admonishes us to “redeem the time for the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). This does not mean time is inherently bad, but the passage of time continues relentlessly, whether we attempt to use it wisely or not. I recall the classes in time management I attended years ago. In reality, “time management” is a misnomer because we cannot “manage” it. We cannot put it into a safety deposit box or a self-storage unit for later use. It is not a commodity we can preserve; we can only resolve to utilize it as effectively and meaningfully as possible.

    Another biblical passage on time, Ecclesiastes 3:1-18, offers the perspective. “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven….” To me, this means there are times for focusing my attention and energy to meet critical deadlines, but also there are times for being with my family, pursuing favorite pastimes or hobbies, or simply seeking to restore myself physically, mentally and spiritually. As someone has said, it is unlikely anyone on their deathbed has sincerely announced with regret, “I wish I had spent more time at work.”

    © 2018. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Does it seem that time passes quickly sometimes, and drags along very slowly in other circumstances? Why do you think this is the case?

     

    1. Have you ever thought about the irony of studying “time management,” when the passage of time cannot truly be managed or controlled?

     

    1. Where do you fall in terms of time/work philosophy? Are you diligent to take time off from work when you have the opportunity, enjoying being able to rest and rejuvenate? Or do you typically regard time as an enemy, determining to cram as much work and activity as possible into every waking minute or hour? In either case, what serves as your motivation?

     

    1. How do you – or could you – go about “redeeming the time” more effectively?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 23:4-5; Ecclesiastes 3:1-18; Galatians 6:10; Colossians 4:5-6

  4. Being A Person of Positive Influence

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    October 22, 2018 – Jim Langley  Several years ago I attended a CBMC conference where the keynote speaker was Dr. Tim Elmore, a best-selling author, international speaker, and president and founder of Growing Leaders, a non-profit that helps emerging leaders, with the belief that each person is born with leadership qualities. Elmore offered nine principles he considers critical in the mentoring process, concepts we should all consider as we disciple younger men and women in the faith. He started with an acronym to explain this process: I-N-F-L-U-E-N-C-E. I would like to briefly review each step in his list as he explained it:

    First, we must make an Intentionalinvestment in the lives of those God places under our tutelage. We need to continually make deposits into their lives, just as the apostle Paul did with his protégé Timothy. CBMC has developed “Operation Timothy” as an excellent tool for fostering spiritual growth in others. In 2 Timothy 2:2, Paul wrote,“And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others.”

    Next, we must be Naturaland authentic in our approach as we meet with those God places in our path. We do not need to impress them with our biblical knowledge and worldly accomplishments. They do need to sense our willingness to help them as they advance in their life journey.

    Our Faithneeds to be evident and real. We must not only demonstrate our faith in Christ, but also show faith in those we are mentoring. We should “expect the best”from each person and trust God will surely bring out the best as we invest in those who are truly serious about growing in Christ.

    We must develop our Listeningskills to earn the right to speak to them. In a sense, younger men and women are “students” God has placed in our lives to assist in a journey filled with “many dangers, toils and snares,” as the hymn, “Amazing Grace,” expresses it.

    Each person we mentor is unique and we must seek to Understandthem and where their journey has taken them. Since God has made us all distinctly different with very different experiences, a “cookie cutter” approach cannot work effectively with every person.

    They will need much Encouragementto overcome many obstacles that can prevent them from realizing their full potential as followers of Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us to “consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…let us encourage one another.”

    We must also Navigatethem through the twists and turns of their journey, sometimes even serving as their compass to guide them on the right path and keep them from becoming sidetracked by ungodly influences.

    It is critical to demonstrate a consistent Concernfor their well-being. They must see and experience our constant care for their growth in Christ, being available as they will struggle with many issues, especially early in their journey. In 1 Thessalonians 2:7-8, the apostle Paul writes of being “gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well.”

    They need to see our Enthusiasmin all we say and do. If we cannot be excited about our relationship with Christ, then we probably are not properly prepared for mentoring of a new disciple who truly wants to know Christ intimately. The discipling process needs to be taken both seriously and enthusiastically.

    © 2018, all rights reserved. Jim Langley has been writing for more than 30 years while working as a life and health insurance agent. His passion is to write about his personal relationship with God. His goal is to encourage others to draw near to Him. A long-time member of CBMC, he started writing “Fourth Quarter Strategies” in 2014.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Who has been the person (or persons) to have influenced you most to this point in life, both professionally and spiritually? How have they exerted that influence?

     

    1. Which of the nine points cited to describe how we can influence others seems most important to you? Explain your answer.

     

    1. Why do you think Listening is mentioned as an important aspect of effectively influencing others?

     

    1. Care and concern are listed as critical elements of the process of influencing people in mentoring or discipling relationships? Why, in your view, are these important – aren’t possessing knowledge and expertise enough?

     

    NOTE: If you would like to consider other things the Bible says about this topic, read and reflect on the following passages: Matthew 28:18-19; Ephesians 4:14-16; Colossians 1:9-12; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-4;
    2 Peter 3:17-18

  5. The Virtue of Exceeding Expectations

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    October 15, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  Often people in business deal with a temptation to do the bare minimum, to satisfy the requirements but not go the “extra mile” in serving the customer, the supplier, or even the employee. Such thinking, however, can be very short-sighted. Not to mention self-centered, rather than others-centered.

    Contrary to this type of approach to business, I have been delighted to work with a number of companies whose expressed desire and goal is to “exceed expectations.” They want to be certain to do more than they had contracted to do. They want each customer’s experience to be so memorable that they will be eager to do business with them again. Not only that, but to provide services in such a manner that “satisfied customer” recommendations and referrals would be virtually guaranteed.

    Recently my wife and I took part in an 11-day group tour to many parts of Italy. It was truly one of those “exceeded our expectations” experiences. It wasn’t perfect; some of the hotels we stayed in were better than others. But our guide for the entire tour was exceptional; the motorcoach in which we rode was new and comfortable; the driver was first-class; and each of the stops on our tour had been carefully chosen to provide a broad cross-section of Italian life and culture. Especially for first-time visitors to Italy.

    I do not know if the tour agency had this in mind, but a commitment to exceeding the expectations of whomever we happen to be serving – customer, supplier or employee – is reflective of Jesus’ admonition that we should, “in everything, therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you”(Matthew 7:12).

    Not long ago several friends were talking about their differing experiences at local restaurants. For one, when the meal order was clearly inaccurate, the worker simply responded, “Well, I don’t know what you expect me to do about that.” Wow! Would that motivate you to return to that restaurant?

    Another friend had a very different experience, however. He and his wife had eaten at another restaurant several times, enough for a particular server to recognize them and remember their dining preferences. This type of service, which definitely exceeded their expectations, has made them loyal and frequent customers – ones that reward their good service with generous tips.

    In doing business with others, it is easy to become memorable: memorably good, or memorably bad. If we want to  develop lasting relationships, “memorably good” is always the better option, don’t you think? Several places in the Scriptures, including Romans 13:8, Galatians 5:14 and James 2:8, we see the admonition that we are to “love your neighbor as yourself.”It is doubtful that we could conceive of a greater core value than that.

    Making a profit is important. As is staying in business and growing the business. Mastering our craft is essential. But if we are loving our “neighbor” as ourselves – our customers, suppliers, and those who work for us or with us – profits and growth are almost certain to follow.

    If my wife and I ever decide to take tour another country, you can bet we will be quick to consider the company that unpretentiously succeeded in exceeding our expectations. And keeping our recent trip in mind is a good reminder for me to strive to exceed the expectations of others.

    © 2018. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Describe the last time someone exceeded your expectations? What did they do that seemed so exceptional – or how did they do it to make such a positive impression?

     

    1. Why do you think it seems so rare to find a business truly dedicated to surpassing the expectations of their customers?

     

    1. How about your own approach to work and those you encounter in business: Are you more inclined to do the bare minimum to satisfy requirements, or do you have a conscious goal of not only meeting expectations but also exceeding them, if at all possible?

     

    1. What do you think is the long-term benefit of having an attitude that strives toward exceeding expectations? Is there a downside to this type of approach to business? If so, what do you think it is?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Proverbs 3:27-28, 11:25, 16:7; Matthew 22:34-40; Luke 6:31; Acts 20:35

  6. The Underappreciated Gift of Rest

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    October 8, 2018 – Sergio Fortes  Recently I spent an entire Saturday at home doing…nothing. I had planned to go to the beautiful park of the small Brazilian town where I live, and stroll among its giant trees, lakes, and open areas where some families enjoy friendly picnics.

    For some reason, I could not do any of this. Sloth – you might call it laziness, or spiritual apathy and inactivity – took hold of me. I read a little bit, watched TV for a while, ate, and slept. At the end of the day I felt badly, however, almost guilty. I could not help feeling I had wasted the day being unproductive; it seemed like a day I had lost.

    Talking about this with my daughter, a psychologist, she caught my attention when she offered a different perspective: “No, Father, rest is a gift from GOD. Receive this gift without guilt and enjoy it.” Inactivity – and rest. A gift from God?

    This reminded me that the preceding week had been intense, with lots of hard work, along with considerable traveling. After that, I needed a break time, an opportunity to become re-energized. I also remembered that the Bible tells us that even God, “having finished his work, he rested” (Genesis 2: 7).

    I do not know why God needed to rest, but it clearly says He “rested.” It makes sense then, that created in His image, each week after finishing our work, we also should take time to rest.

    Once, the apostles returned to Jesus from a ministry tour He had assigned to them. In giving their report, they recounted days of hard work and emotional weariness. They had not even taken time to eat. Jesus’ response to their weariness provided for them a significant lesson: “Let us go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile” (Mark 6.31).

    A story is told that one time the priest of a small village, after years of hard work, communicated to his parishioners during his Sunday morning sermon that he intended to take a few days off. At the exit of the church, three old sisters, objected to his plan, expressing their disagreement: “How can you take a vacation? Do not you know that the devil does not take a vacation?” they argued.

    The old priest replied with humility and wisdom: “That’s why I need a vacation; not to do the works of the devil.”

    The daily business and professional challenges we face are gigantic. We cannot always achieve the goals we want. The results are sometimes trifling; sometimes we feel as if we have accomplished nothing at all. As a consequence, we are tempted to think we have no right for leisure, that we have work that must be done.

    We unconsciously punish ourselves with weekend programs and frenetic activity, including everything we can imagine – except rest. No leisure. Some people even speak about “creative leisure,” perhaps an unconscious reaction that makes us feel that even in rest, we should be producing something worthwhile.

    But there is no need for such self-inflicted “punishment.” As my daughter reminded me, rest is a gift from God. The next time you decide to rest, there is no reason for guilt or feeling that doing something always is better than doing nothing. Instead, give yourself permission to do nothing – and do it with joy and in perfect peace, as a GOD’s gift for you. “I myself will tend my sheep and give them a place to lie down in peace, says the Sovereign Lord” (Ezekiel 34:5).

    © 2018. J. Sergio Fortes is a consultant in strategic management and a specialist in corporate leadership. He also is a member of CBMC Brazil.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How do you feel when you are afforded a time to rest, with no specific activities scheduled or expected of you? Do you welcome those times, or do you feel guilty, as if you are obligated to be doing something?

     

    1. What does a meaningful time of rest look like for you?

     

    1. When the old priest mentioned in this “Monday Manna” said he planned to rest so that he would “not do the works of the devil,” what do you think he meant?

     

    1. As you consider taking time to rest, especially after a particularly demanding period at work or an extremely busy schedule, do you ever make an intentional effort to include God in your time for rest? Explain your answer.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about his subject, consider the following passages: Exodus 33:12-14; 1 Kings 19:3-9; Psalm 37:3-7,34, 46:10; Isaiah 40:31; Matthew 11:28

  7. Effective Leaders Embrace and Nurture Change

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    October 1, 2018 – Rick Boxx  Writing in the Harvard Business Review, Edith Onderick-Harvey discussed what she called “five behaviors of leaders who embrace change.” She expressed the view that 70-90 percent of mergers and acquisitions fail to meet their objectives often because of the reluctance of leaders to accept and embrace necessary change. Since change is inescapable, let’s discuss these five behaviors that Onderick-Harvey cites.

    The first behavior is to share a compelling, clear purpose.Have you ever had a boss demand something without telling you why? People are more willing to embrace change if they understand the reason that is compelling and clear. As Proverbs 20:5 teaches, “The purposes of a person’s heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.” Wise leaders clarify for themselves – and their team – the purposes for change.

    The second behavior is to look ahead and see opportunity.The author contends that all employees should be encouraged to look forward and help surface opportunities. Marion Laboratories founder, Ewing Kaufman, understood the value in engaging his staff in looking forward. The company was famous for holding annual meetings with all staff to announce the winners of the most innovative ideas.

    Proverbs 20:12 says, “Ears that hear and eyes that see – the Lord has made them both.”The Lord gives each of us eyes and ears to scout out new opportunities. Unleash that quality in your staff and change will go easier.

    The third behavior is to seek out what’s not working.There is always a need for discovering problems, but especially when major change is taking place. I once worked for a CEO who started off well. He visited the branches and listened to views from all levels of staff. It didn’t take long, however, before this CEO isolated himself. There were many significant problems he rarely heard about.

    In Proverbs 28:22 we are told, “Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.”When change is in your midst, make sure your staff feels safe to express their concerns.

    The fourth behavior is to promote calculated risk taking and experimentation.When confronted with risky opportunities, many organizations tend to ask, “Why?” Companies that handle change well tend to ask, “Why not?” Without the opportunity to take calculated risks and to fail occasionally, innovation will be stifled.

    God gave man the freedom to make mistakes, even big mistakes. In Genesis 2, God said, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.” To manage change well, give your staff the freedom to innovate and take reasonable risks without fear of reprisal.

    The fifth behavior is to look for boundary-spanning partnerships.Many businesses have departments or “silos” that hinder a unified approach to advancing the business. A large bank was implementing a major technology change that was going to impact many different departments. A team was formed that included key people from each of the departments. This approach allowed us to learn and address the unique challenges for each department, bringing a unified resolution to the problem.

    Psalm 133:1 says, “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity!”Boundary-spanning partnerships can help your organization strive toward greater overall unity.

    Copyright 2018, Unconventional Business Network. 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 or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments emails, visitwww.unconventionalbusiness.org. His latest book, Unconventional Business,provides “Five Keys to Growing a Business God’s Way.”

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Do leaders in your organization – including yourself – seem to welcome and facilitate change, or do they seem to make changes more difficult to implement than necessary? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What is the difference between viewing change as a problem – or an opportunity?

     

    1. Why is it important to not only effectively communicate what changes must be made and why, but also give everyone affected the opportunity to respond, ask questions and express concerns they may have throughout the process?

     

    1. How do you understand what is meant by “calculated risk taking and experimentation,” and what are the positives and negatives of encouraging this approach to change?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Psalm 37:4-5; Proverbs 3:5-6, 11:14, 15:22, 16:3, 19:20-21, 20:18, 27:1; Isaiah 43:18-19

  8. What Followers Expect of Their Leaders

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    September 24, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  Most leaders have specific expectations. They often communicate, whether orally, in writing, or both, what they expect of those that report to them. They provide job descriptions, set goals and objectives, and determine the parameters that define when, where and how they are to perform their job responsibilities. But how often do we consider that followers might rightfully have expectations of their leaders?

    Max DePree, the late entrepreneur, business executive and writer, offered this perspective:

    “Any follower has a right to ask things of a leader. Here are several questions that leaders should expect to hear: What may I expect from you? Can I achieve my own goals by following you? Will I reach my potential by working with you? Have you bothered to prepare yourself for leadership? What do you believe?”

    A common perspective is that followers – employees, staff, and team members – are there primarily for the benefit of the leader. However, authorities on the business and professional world like DePree have long contended that equally so, the leader is there for the benefit of the followers. Many renowned leaders say one of their foremost desires is to assist those that work for them in maximizing their potential and fulfillment.

    My first job was as a grocery clerk, working on a local supermarket’s night crew. I was assigned a specific aisle and the responsibility for keeping the shelves stocked, sweeping and mopping the floor, and making certain the aisle looked presentable for shoppers the next morning. The night crew manager, a fellow named Joe, could have spent the night in his office, but every evening would work alongside one of us in our respective aisles.

    One night I asked Joe why he worked with us, helping us to do our jobs, rather than just giving us our instructions and making sure we did our work properly. His answer was profound: “I will never ask anyone to do anything that I am not willing to do.” That, long before the term became popular, was my first exposure to servant leadership.

    I did not ask the manager any of the questions DePree suggested, but from that simple response, I knew Joe had my best interests at heart, as well as those of my fellow workers.

    The concept of a leader that serves his or her followers was not originated by DePree, or Robert K. Greenleaf, the author of Servant Leadership. It was stated explicitly by Jesus Christ. He said, For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many(Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45). Jesus also made the curious statement, “and whoever wants to be first must be your slave” (Matthew 20:27).

    These declarations were made by the One of whom the Bible says, He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2). That, without question, is the epitome of servant leadership. That is not all the Bible says about how are we as leaders to serve others.

    The leader who puts the needs and interests of others first will inspire followers to give their best, including their loyalty. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

    As Jesus said, it is “more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). One reason is because when we give – putting others first – we also receive. In the workplace, this often means serving others, who in turn are willing to give their best to those for whom they are working.

    © 2018. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. If you report directly to someone, what expectations does he or she have for you?

     

    1. Do you think that employees – followers – are entitled to have expectations of their leaders? If you serve in a leadership role, would you be willing to ask those who work for you what expectations they have for you? Why or why not?

     

    1. Should a leader rightfully be obligated to help followers in being able to achieve their goals or reach their potential? Or should a leader focus only on corporate goals and objectives, seeing staff as the means for achieving them? Explain your answer.

     

    1. What risk, if any, would leaders be taking by setting aside or deemphasizing personal ambitions and instead, considering others as better, or more important, than themselves?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Leviticus 19:18;
    Mark 12:30-31; Luke 22:24-27; Galatians 5:13-14; James 2:8

  9. Feeling Impatient in the ‘Waiting Room’?

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    September 17, 2018 – Robert J. Tamasy  Do you like having to wait? If you do, you are a rare individual. Most of us find waiting a great source of annoyance, frustration, even fear. We do not like waiting for a traffic light to change or finding ourselves stuck in traffic. When goals are delayed, we feel dismayed, wondering how we can speed the process. Sitting in the waiting room to see a doctor or dentist can test the limits of our patience.

    Recently I had to undergo a significant medical procedure. I arrived at the hospital before 8:30 a.m., as instructed, and was informed the procedure would begin by 10:30. But 10:30 came – and went – and my wife and I were still waiting. I tried not to get impatient, but eventually asked about the delay. Finally, the medical staff got to me and started the procedure, but it was not until 12:30!

    Waiting is just as unpleasant in a workplace context. Sometimes we must wait on someone before we can proceed with our part of a project. We need to discuss a major issue to discuss with our boss, but she cannot see us until later in the day. Waiting on a much-desired job offer can be agonizing.

    For those who follow Jesus Christ, waiting is part of God’s plan for developing character and helping us grow in our faith. Sometimes the only answer to our fervent prayers is, “Wait!” Some people have even referred to such times as being in “God’s waiting room.”

    We see many examples in the Bible of people God required to wait, even though He had special plans for them. Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had to wait many years for the child that God had promised them. The Lord had chosen Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt, but Moses still had to spend many years in exile before the right time arrived. Then the people of Israel had to “wait” 40 years in the wilderness before they could enter the Promised Land.

    Sooner or later, we all find ourselves in God’s waiting room. What should we know about waiting – and what should we do during these unavoidable times? The Scriptures offer helpful insights:

    Trust in the One in whom we must wait.When things come to a standstill in our lives and careers, we attempt to do anything possible to get things moving again. Sometimes, however, God wants us simply to wait and trust that He is in control.Be still and know that I am God(Psalm 46:10).

    Do all that we can, but then, if necessary, wait.Being in “God’s waiting room” does not necessarily mean doing nothing. It does mean when we have done everything we think should be done, we must wait for God to accomplish the rest. Trust in the Lord and do good…. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn, the justice of your cause like the noonday sun. Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him…. Wait for the Lord and keep his way…(Psalm 37:3-7,34).

    When God hits the “pause button” in your life, draw on your faith.When forced to wait, we can become discouraged and even wonder if God has forgotten about us and what we need. This is an opportunity to strengthen our faith in Him and see what He will do, often far more than we could have imagined. Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight(Proverbs 3:5-6).

    © 2018. 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 Adversityby Mike Landry. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. What is your typical response when you have to wait? In what circumstances do you find waiting most difficult?

     

    1. Is there something right now that is requiring you to wait? How are you responding to being in the “waiting room”?

     

    1. Why do you think God would want us to wait, instead of answering our prayers immediately? Can you think of any times when it turned out that having to wait actually was part of His answer to your requests?

     

    1. How would you advise someone else who finds themselves in God’s waiting room, desperately wanting a problem resolved but not seeing any answers forthcoming?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about principles it presents, consider the following passages: Psalm 27:14, 130:5-6; Isaiah 26:3, 41:10; Jeremiah 29:11-13, 33:3; Philippians 4:6-7

  10. Even in the Workplace, We are Made to Worship

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    September 10, 2018 – Jim Mathis  It seems all human beings are designed to worship something, even within the scope of our professional lives. We seem to require having an object for our affections if we are to be whole, to be complete.Some people worship sports or a particular sport, team, or player. They know all the statistics, and devote countless hours and significant amounts of money to following their team. The line between dedicated fan and ardent worship can easily become obliterated.

    Other people worship music, giving highest honor to their favorite band or entertainer. Some people worship a political affiliation or an important cause. Others worship a specific profession, such as the military, or a symbol, like a flag, and give special honor to the object of their worship. Nationalism, which is worshipping one’s country and considering it superior to every other nation, has spawned real problems in some places, including my home country, the United States.

    For many business people, their work becomes an object of worship. They might devote inordinate amounts of time to their company or profession to the exclusion of family, friends, their health, and especially God.

    Sometimes we worship money or its pursuit, forgetting money is intended only as a tool, not as a “god.” This is one reason Jesus said, in Matthew 6: 24, “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.“He was asserting we cannot grow spiritually if money competes with God for our time, energy and reverence.

    Even within Christianity, worship can take many forms, some that distract from our devotion to the one true God. People often worship a particular style or order of worship, or even the Bible, placing it above the God whose story it tells. Some people worship their spouse, confusing such worship with normal love and affection.

    From the beginning, God knew this would be a problem. He built into us a desire to worship, but when He handed down the Ten Commandments to Moses, made clear He alone should be the focus of our worship. The very first commandment God gave to His people said, “I am the Lord your God, you shall have no other gods before me.”

    The Message, an paraphrase of the Bible, expresses Exodus 20:3-6 this way:“No other gods, only me. No carved gods of any size, shape, or form of anything whatever, whether of things that fly or walk or swim. Don’t bow down to them and don’t serve them because I am God,your God, and I’m a most jealous God, punishing the children for any sins their parents pass on to them to the third, and yes, even to the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I’m unswervingly loyal to the thousands who love me and keep my commandments.”

    In reading the biblical account that surrounds the giving of the Ten Commandments, we discover that by the time Moses had gotten back from the mountain with commandments, the Israelites had already built a calf of gold to worship. It did not take long for them to let the object of their worship to become divided.

    We have a need to worship something. The question we must ask ourselves is whether the object of our worship truly deserves our devotion and dedication? Is it a “god” that will never fail us? In my experience, there is only one, the God who said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). What other “god” can say that?

    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 executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How would you define worship? In your opinion, is worship strictly a religious practice, or does involve other aspects of life, as Mr. Mathis asserts?

     

    1. What types of things do you find yourself inclined to worship?

     

    1. If we realize our worship has become divided, that we are worshiping more than one thing or object, how can we order our lives to eliminate other “gods” or prevent them from creeping in?

     

    1. In your view, how should worship affect your approach to your career and how you approach the work you do every day?

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Exodus 20:5, 23:24-26;
    2 Kings 17:36-39; Psalm 29:1-2; Matthew 4:8-10; Luke 4:5-8