Category Archive: Monday Manna

  1. Compensation and Restitution

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    Some time ago, my wife, Kathy, and I received a surprising offer of financial compensation from a major chemical manufacturer for damage one of its products did to our pine trees. Their settlement offer not only compensated us for actual losses, but also included an additional 15 percent for restitution.

    With this gesture, which the company had no legal obligation to do, they were demonstrating a willingness to go beyond the cost of replacing our trees. They were acknowledging the problem might have caused a measure of personal hardship and distress for us, and were offering to make amends through additional compensation.

    I have no way of knowing what process this internationally known company utilized for determining what their settlement offer should be, but I do know where their underlying concept for providing restitution originated: The Bible.

    The Old Testament of the Bible teaches, “When a man or woman commits any of the sins of mankind … then he shall confess his sins which he has committed, and he shall make restitution in full for his wrong and add to it one-fifth of it, and give it to him whom he has wronged” (Numbers 5:6-7).

    There are two principles included in this admonition: First, when a wrong is committed and someone suffers a financial or material loss, the offender should be required to compensate the victim for the amount of loss. Second, damages may exceed the actual monetary value of the loss. If so, then additional compensation should be made to make amends.

    In society today, we often see companies seeking to get by with what they perceive as the bare minimum, both in terms of quality and customer service. So it was refreshing to encounter an example of a corporation committed to going beyond what they are required – or even expected – to do. 

    In His so-called “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus told His followers how they should properly respond to their enemies. But the principles He gave are applicable as well for businesses wanting to ensure that their customers do not become enemies or adversaries:

    “And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, give him your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles” (Matthew 5:40-41).

    So I would suggest that if you discover you have wronged someone – even if the act was completely unintentional – and you truly want to make amends, consider adding to the amount of actual damages an additional amount for restitution. No one can ever fault you for resolving to do more than they could reasonably expect of you. 

    I have seen more than one example of companies, with an earnest effort to serve and satisfy a customer for a wrong they have committed, not only salvaging the customer’s repeat business but also seeing business increase because of their commitment to doing the right thing.

    Copyright 2013, 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 or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

      

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Has a company ever offered to provide you with additional restitution for a wrong they have done to you? If so, what was the situation and how did the company respond? If not, how do you think you would react if a company volunteered to do more than the minimum required to correct a wrong?

     

    2. What do you think of the concept of restitution: Is it necessary? If you or your company were to discover you had wronged a customer, regardless of their relative importance to the overall scope of your business, do you think additional restitution would – or should – be a consideration?

     

    3. The Bible passage cited formally prescribes that additional restitution should be made in the event of a wrong. Do you think such a provision should be written into laws of trade and commerce? Why or why not?

     

    4.   We can readily imagine how receiving restitution in addition to direct compensation for a loss would benefit us personally, but how do you think such a philosophy could prove beneficial to individuals or companies that have committed the wrong?

     

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

     Proverbs 12:22, 20:9, 24:26, 26:24-26; Matthew 5:43-48, 7:12; Acts 20:35; Philippians 2:3-4


  2. Is It Worth The Work?

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    Traditionally, the first Monday of September in the United States is observed as “Labor Day.” Citizens are asked to recognize the diligent work of men and women through the generations, people who have applied their skills and talents to provide services and produce goods of benefit to many.

    Sadly, statistics continue to show the vast majority of people are dissatisfied with their jobs. Some studies indicate 70 percent of all workers, and perhaps even more than that, dislike or even hate the tasks they must perform every day. For them, work is nothing more than “a necessary evil.”

    According to the Bible, that is not what God intended, even in the very beginning. The Bible’s first book, Genesis, states that in the process of creating humankind, “Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth’…. I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food’” (Genesis 1:26-30). 

    However, after what is called “the fall of man,” the work God ordained became difficult. “Cursed is the ground because of you, through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you…. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food…” (Genesis 3:17-19).

    These passages indicate God designed work to be rewarding, fulfilling, and easy to perform. Because of sin – humankind’s rebellion against God – work became difficult, frustrating, even agonizing.

    So how are we to overcome this sense of work as “necessary evil” and regain the sense of work as enjoyable and meaningful? One of the best ways, it would seem, is by rededicating our work to God, asking Him to bless our efforts, and seeking to carry out our job responsibilities according to God’s laws and standards. Here are some basic principles to follow:

    Work for God. We tend to pursue our work for our own gratification or to please those who exercise authority over us. While neither is inherently wrong, our ultimate goal should be to please and honor God. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord you are serving” (Colossians 3:23-24).

    Acknowledge your work is from God. Where you work, and the kind of work you do, is not an accident. God has you where you are, doing what you do, for His purpose. “A man can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in his work. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the man who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness” (Ecclesiastes 2:24-26).

    Use your work as a platform to represent God. What better way to demonstrate the presence and reality of God than through our work? How we conduct ourselves at work earns us the right to speak for Him. “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions 

    1. If you were to align yourself either with people that love and truly enjoy their work, or others that dislike and merely endure it so they can earn a paycheck, which group would you choose? Explain your answer. 

     

     2. Do you believe the biblical declaration that God established and ordained work for the people He created? Why or why not?

     

    3. What do you think of the concept of working for God first and foremost, rather than for your own personal gain or for the people to whom you report every day?

     

    4.   How much difference would it make if you fully believed the idea that God has placed you in the job you have today, even if not permanently, and one reason He has you there is to serve as His “ambassador,” representing Him to people who do not presently know or follow Him?

     

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

     

    Proverbs 12:24, 16:11, 18:9, 24:30-34; Matthew 4:19, 5:14-16, Colossians 4:5-6


  3. A Prayer For Leaders

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    (Editor’s Note: Charles Monroe, a CBMC member in Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A., submitted this prayer poem for leaders, written by John O’Donohue.)

    May you have the grace and wisdom
    To act kindly, learning
    To distinguish between what is
    Personal and what is not.

    May you be hospitable to criticism.
    May you never put yourself at the center of things.

    May you act not from arrogance but out of service. 

    May you work on yourself
    Building up and refining the ways of your mind.

    May you learn to cultivate the art of presence
    In order to engage with those who meet you.

    When someone fails or disappoints you
    May the graciousness with which you engage
    Be their stairway to renewal and refinement.

    May you treasure the gifts of the mind
    Through reading and creative thinking
    So that you continue to be a servant of the frontier
    Where the new will draw its enrichment from the old,
    And you never become a functionary.

    May you know the wisdom of deep listening,
    The healing of wholesome words,
    The encouragement of the appreciative gaze,
    The decorum of held dignity,
    The springtime of the bleak question.

    May you have a mind that loves frontiers
    So that you can evoke the bright fields
    That lie beyond the view of the regular eye.

    May you have good friends
    To mirror your blind spots.

    May leadership be for you
    A true adventure of growth.                     — John O’Donohue

     

    The Bible, in 1 Timothy 2:1-2, instructs, “I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.” This poem could be a good guide for following that directive.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TELEPHONE: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you ever considered praying for leaders – in your department at work, your company, your industry, community, state, nation, or even the world? Why or why not?

     

    2. We often hear people expressing a variety of prayer requests, but rarely do we hear anyone suggesting that we pray for our leaders, at any level. Why do you think that is the case?

     

    3. What part (or parts) of “A Prayer for Leaders” impress you as particularly meaningful?

     

    4. Suppose you were to take seriously this admonition to pray for people in leadership? What difference do you think that would – or could – make, not only in their own lives but also for the people, companies and organizations they lead?

     

    If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:

    Proverbs 15:29, 21:1; Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17


  4. Who Is Your Real Boss?

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    If I were to ask who your boss is, what would you say? You might say, “I report to the CEO (or the owner of the company).” Another might say, “I am the CEO, I don’t have a boss.” Still others might say, “I report to my board of directors,” or “My customers are my bosses.”

    From a functional or practical viewpoint, those answers seem valid. However, I would submit if you are a Christian business executive or manager, your REAL boss is Jesus Christ. The Bible says He owns your business and has appointed you to be a leader in the business where you serve.

    In the Bible we read, “But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:14-16). This establishes what our priority should be.

    Understanding who your true boss is can be critical to the decisions you make at work. Sometimes your human boss might ask you to do something that is in obvious conflict with your heavenly Boss.  When that happens, who are you going to obey? You are appointed by God, but working under the temporal (earthly) authority of your human boss. 

    So what will you tell your boss at work if he asks you to do something you know is unethical, immoral, illegal or in conflict with the stated values of your company? The world is full of companies where even Christian business executives submit and do as they are told. When this happens, they are proving they fear man more than they fear God. 

    What about situations where you believe your company should make a specific decision? For example, in hiring a particular person? Have you stopped to pray about it, and then recommended the hiring decision to your temporal boss? If he or she says, “No, we don’t want to do that,” what do you do or say then? 

    I would recommend you go back to God, pray about the situation again, seek clear confirmation on what you think God is asking you to do, and then go back to your boss and say, “Joe (or Joanne), I know we have had this discussion previously, but I have thought this through thoroughly and also feel like God does want us to take this course of action.” What should you do if your boss or board of directors still insists, “No, we don’t want to do that”? 

    If the decision is not a “life or death” situation, you may choose to abide by your boss’s decision (submit to their authority as your temporal boss), even though you think it is wrong. In critical decisions, however, you may decide you can no longer work in a company that makes decisions based on wrong motives.

    Many business issues do not have obvious answers, but the central question remains: Who is your REAL boss, and are you prepared to give up a big sale, a prestigious and well paying job if you cannot abide by your bosses’ final decision? Sometimes following God will require a large earthly sacrifice. So we must be certain: Are we more concerned about hearing the applause of man or the applause of God?

    Lane A. Kramer is founder and president, The CEO Institute, a marketplace ministry based in Dallas,Texas, U.S.A. www.ceoinst.com.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TELEPHONE: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. Have you experienced a recent situation where a decision your boss made clashed with what you knew was the right thing, or the God-honoring thing to do? Explain your answer.

     

    2. Why do you think we often fail to challenge a human authority in the workplace when we know what they are demanding or insisting upon is the wrong thing to do?

     

     3. Have you ever had a time when you believed God honored you for making the right decision, even when there was a short-term cost or consequence to you? If so, tell about the circumstances and how you responded.

     

    4. What do you think it means, in an everyday, practical sense, to declare, “As for me and my household (or business, or company), we will serve the Lord”?

     

    If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:
    1 Chronicles 29:11; Psalm 50:10; Luke 16:10-13; Colossians 3:17,23-24


  5. Restoring Faded Memories

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    When color photography began taking over black-and- white in the 1950s and ‘60s, experts knew a secret few other people knew: Unlike black-and-white photography, color film and paper were not permanent. (This is one reason my business consisted of exclusively black and white photographs for many years.) Today, 30, 40 and 50 years later, we find ourselves with millions of discolored and faded color photos.

    I am even seeing badly faded or discolored color prints less than 20 years old. Fortunately, research has provided us with the capability to save and restore them. In the photo restoration process we can print on acid-free paper with permanent pigment-based inks that will last for hundreds of years.

    In restoring old and faded photographs, I am really involved in preserving memories. It is much more than saving visual images from disappearing out of sight. This emphasis on the preserving of memories is not limited to photography, however. It can apply to the business and professional world as well.

    For instance, sometimes a company achieves success by focusing on a clear mission, a specific market or particular niche within its industry. Over time, however, heightened expectations, ambition, deadlines, even greed can cause the business’s leaders to lose sight of the basis for their success. Pursuing bigger profits or an expanded market, memories of how and why they got to where they are begin to fade.

    This can happen for individuals as well. People embark on their chosen careers infused with a sense of purpose and armed with noble ideas. These motivations, however, can become forgotten – even cast aside – while ascending the corporate ladder. Short-term gains disable long-term memories.

    With this in mind, it can be extremely useful to make a concerted effort to protect valued corporate and professional memories and keep them from fading. That is why mission statements – along with periodic leadership meetings, where we can ask questions such as, “Why are we here?” “What are we about?” and “What is really important to us?” – can yield much value. 

    The Bible also talks about the importance of keeping memories from fading. The nation of Israel was especially prone to letting memories fade during times of peace and prosperity. Here are some principles from the Scriptures about the importance of saving and preserving cherished memories: 

    Remember victories of the past. We can become so obsessed with the future that we fail to appreciate the triumphs of our past – and how they came about. “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach them to your children and to their children after them” (Deut. 4:9).

    Remember the source of your success. As time passes, memories can fade and we forget the help and resources we received en route to our current levels of success. “Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build your fine houses and settle down…then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14).

    Jim Mathis owns a photography studio in Overland Park, Kansas, and operates a school of photography. Jim is the author of High Performance Cameras for Ordinary People, a book on digital photography. He formerly was a coffee shop manager, and executive director of CBMC in Kansas City, Kansas and Kansas City, Missouri.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TELEPHONE: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1.   Do you have any photographs that have become discolored or faded over the years? What is the effect when you look at the old images that no longer retain their sharpness or vivid colors?

     

    2. Does the analogy of seeking to restore fading photographs to the importance of striving to preserve original corporate or personal values, goals and values make sense to you? Do you agree with this comparison?

     

    3. Can you offer any examples of organizations – or individuals – that have lost sight of the principles upon which they became established and found success?

     

    4.   The biblical examples cited talk about the nation of Israel, once it had achieved peace and prosperity, losing its reverence for and devotion to God. What are your thoughts about this?

     

    If you would like to look at or discuss other portions of the Bible that relate to this topic, consider the following brief sampling of passages:

    Deuteronomy 8:19-20, 25:17-19; Psalm 103:2; Mark 8:14-21; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25


  6. Are You Properly "Invested" In Your Work?

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    “If you had the opportunity to do anything you wanted to do, and money (financial compensation) was not an issue, would you still do what you are doing right now?”

    When a good friend asked me this question years ago, it caught me by surprise. I paused as I considered how to respond. Finally, I admitted that I would not. I would be doing something different. This conversation started a process that resulted in dramatic career changes that opened doors to opportunities I could never have imagined.

    So I found it interesting recently when I read a blog post by a writer another friend had recommended. The blogger, Seth Godin, is a marketing consultant, entrepreneur, and public speaker. He cited the importance of making wise, rewarding use of our time, talents and energy, echoing my thoughts years before when I was asked the momentous question. Godin wrote:

    “Every day you invest a little bit of yourself into your work, and one of the biggest choices available to you is where you’ll be making that investment. That project you are working on – or that boss you report to: Is it worth it?

    “Investing in the wrong place for a week or a month will not kill you. But spending 10 years contributing to something you do not care about, or working with someone who does not care about you – you can do better.”

    Admittedly, in today’s uncertain and often limited employment market, changing jobs is not something to be taken lightly. The adage, “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush,” can apply to major career decisions. I have always reasoned it makes sense to find the next job before leaving the last one. 

    However, as Godin pointed out, this does not justify squandering substantial portions of our working life performing functions and carrying out responsibilities that seem pointless or unrewarding.

    In the organization I work with, we talk with business and professional leaders about “pursuing their passion,” whether within the context of their work or, if necessary, outside of it. When we have the opportunity to do work and engage in activities we feel passionate about, which also provide personal fulfillment, we find contentment, become more productive, and enjoy life. 

    Contrary to popular notions, work is not a “necessary evil.” God established work and designated mankind to be caretakers of His creation. In fact, the Bible describes God as a worker. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done” (Genesis 2:2-3). As God did, pursue your passion – and then rest.

    Work, of course, is not easy. But it becomes much easier – and more enjoyable – with the right motivation. So the Bible says we should ask God to “…establish the work of our hands for us – yes, establish the work of our hands” (Psalm 90:17). Ultimately, work is God’s idea, so it’s best to do what He wants of us – and to do it His way.

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions 

    1. Suppose someone asked you the question, “If you had the opportunity to do anything you wanted to do, and money (financial compensation) was not an issue, would you still do what you are doing right now?” How would you answer?

     

     2. If you answered you would continue doing what you presently are doing, what are the aspects of your work that you particularly enjoy and find rewarding?

     

     3. However, if you would answer that if given the opportunity, you would do something different, what do you intend to do about that? 

     

    4.   What do you feel is the significance of the Bible’s assertion that God created work, that He is a worker, and that our work should be done primarily to please and honor Him? Do you believe that? Why or why not?

     

     

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

    Proverbs 12:11, 14:23, 21:5, 22:29, 27:18; Ecclesiastes 2:22-26; Colossians 3:17


  7. Always Have A Backup Plan

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    Some time ago one of my business friends contracted with a large provider of software to have a new system installed for his company. Based on this vendor’s promises, and their size and history, my friend was assured that with an investment of $250,000 and six months of implementation his company would be running more efficiently.

    Fortunately, my friend was experienced and wise enough to realize that unexpected complications can and often do occur in putting new systems in place. So rather than presuming everything would proceed smoothly without a hitch, he prepared for the worst. He was not being pessimistic; he was being realistic – as Murphy’s Law states, “If things can go wrong, they will.” 

    Months into the process, my friend discovered the six-month timetable would not be reached. The vendor had to concede they were at least a year away from a reasonable implementation date.

    Wisely, my friend had chosen to continue running his existing system as a backup plan, keeping it functional until the new system proved to be as efficient as promised. Because he had kept a “Plan B” in place as a contingency, a potential crisis was averted. 

    This was a lesson another friend learned in a different way when he was an assistant editor working on a newspaper. Working on the front pages of the newspaper one Saturday morning, he became alarmed when breaking news suddenly turned his carefully thought-out plans upside-down. Fortunately, the managing editor had stopped by just to see how things were progressing and was able to come to my friend’s aid, getting the newspaper to the presses on time. 

    Accustomed to expecting the unexpected, the senior newspaper executive offered this admonition to my friend: “Always have a Plan B.”

    In the case of my business friend, the “unexpected” was that the salesperson for the software vendor had made a commitment the company could not fulfill. However, even if the assurances had been reasonable, there was always a possibility that some other obstacle could arise to disrupt the schedule.

    That is why the Bible advises caution in planning and preparing for the future. For instance, Proverbs 14:15 teaches, “A simple man believes anything, but a prudent man gives thought to his steps.”

    Another passage also addresses the importance of anticipating sudden changes. “Finish your outdoor work and get your fields ready; after that, build your house” (Proverbs 24:27). In other words, ensure your long-term provisions – whether for your company or your household – and then focus on lower priorities.

    My business friend understood that although the new software system would result in significant improvements, it was essential that his company’s productivity not be disrupted in the meantime. Having a good backup plan can prevent things from backing up unnecessarily!

    Copyright 2013, 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 or to sign up for Rick’s daily Integrity Moments, visit www.integrityresource.org. His book, How to Prosper in Business Without Sacrificing Integrity, gives a biblical approach for doing business with integrity.

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

     1. Do you ever utilize backup plans in your work – at least having them ready in the event they are needed? What would be an example?

     

     2. Have you or someone you know ever experienced a time when failure to have a “Plan B” in place proved to be disastrous? If so, what was the situation – and what was learned from it?

     

     3. Why might it sometimes be unwise to accept a promise or commitment from a salesperson? Do you think devising a backup plan would indicate your lack of trust in that individual or the company he or she represents? Explain your answer. 

     

    4. How can faith in God be put into practical use during the planning process, especially in anticipating the need for a suitable backup plan? Give an example if you can.

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:   Proverbs 11:3, 16:3,9, 19:2, 21:5, 24:30-34, 27:1; Matthew 6:33-34


  8. What Has Become of Customer Service?

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    Do you remember when “customer service” was a hallmark of good business? Retailers like J.C. Penney and Sam Walton understood their customers were their greatest asset and set about determining how to serve their needs. Somehow that philosophy seems to have gotten lost in the 21st century.

    There was a time when sales people could be annoying, hovering over potential buyers, but these days it is almost requires a search party to find a sales associate when needed. Even to make a purchase, often you must trudge across the store to find someone at a cash register to take your payment.

    Several weeks ago I bought a costly light bulb to replace one that had burned out above our stove. Last week that replacement bulb burned out. So I went to the name brand hardware store and exchanged it for another. When I got home, however, I opened the sealed package only to find the new bulb cracked in three places.

    So I returned to nationally known hardware store again and bought another bulb that had no cracks. But this one did not work either. Judging from the noise it made when jiggled, something inside was broken. It took me three trips to obtain a functioning replacement bulb. 

    Then the national newspaper I subscribe to – delivered every morning with the local daily paper – failed to arrive. I called the circulation department, received the obligatory “I apologize” and “I’m sorry,” and was assured the periodical would be delivered by 3 p.m. It never arrived! 

    We often read about the retail industry’s woes, citing declining sales and often blaming purchases made online rather than in stores. Is that any surprise, when retail institutions have reduced customer service to virtually nothing and we can receive as much personalized attention on the Internet?

    Penney and Walton built their businesses on genuine interest and concern for their customers, making certain they felt valued and needed. They were men of faith, motivated by biblical passages like “do to others what you would have them do to you” (Matthew 7:12), and “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

    Modern-day business, casting aside the foundation of a biblical worldview, chooses a short-term, profit-centered approach. Customers often feel treated like cattle rather than keys for survival in a cut-throat, highly competitive marketplace. 

    God actually set the best example. He took a “customer service” attitude when He sought to reconcile rebellious humankind to Himself. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” And Jesus declared in Mark 10:45, “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.”

    If that is not the ultimate in customer service, what is? 

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: 520-334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected] 

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

    1. How do you rate customer service these days, especially compared to what you observed and experienced years ago?

     

     2. Why do you think customer service has been deemphasized or reduced by many companies? What do you think has been the impact of such decisions?

     

     3. Would you think revisiting principles of service and concern for others, as presented in the Bible, could be a good thing for many businesses, whether they are retailers or service providers? Why or why not?

     

    4.   What is your reaction to the description of the teachings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ as “customer service”? Explain your answer.

     

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:   Proverbs 14:15, 18:15, 27:18, 23-27; Colossians 3:17,23; 1 Thessalonians 2:6-12


  9. Who Are You Wearing?

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    “Who are you wearing?” Does that not sound like an odd question? It is, unless you are a celebrity walking the so-called “red carpet” prior to a major entertainment event, such as the Academy Awards for motion pictures or the Grammy Awards for music. Then we understand the question to mean, “Who designed the gown (or outfit) you are wearing?” In response, we receive a list of wonderful costume designers who excel at making people look good by covering their faults and flaws with beautiful costumes. 

    This is not a recent phenomenon. During the Renaissance Era, for instance, lavish costume balls were staged with dignitaries showing up in elaborate masks and even more elaborate suits and dresses. Most people share a common desire to cover themselves with costumes to conceal their true identity. Even fictional superheroes of comic books, like Superman, Ironman, Spiderman and Batman, wear costumes. 

    Putting on outfits of disguise seems deeply entrenched in our collective psyche. Children find it liberating to play “dress up.” We find it enjoyable when people we know do not know who we are because of our attire. I remember working for a company years ago where part of my job was dressing up in a cow costume and attending public events. Since no one knew who I was, I felt empowered to act zany and feel totally free.

    In the workplace, “costumes” can support our need to succeed. Years ago the book Dress for Success became a big seller, advising business and professional people how to select and wear clothing that would enhance how their colleagues and clients would respond to them. Standards for proper attire have changed greatly, but we still have the tendency to evaluate people according to how they look on the outside.

    Even the Bible affirms this. In 1 Samuel 16:7 it states, “…The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

    That simple passage makes two important points. One is that we can be fooled by the way people appear externally, unable to see their inner motives or hear their secret thoughts. As the adage tells us, “Looks can be deceiving.” The other is that although we might be able to disguise ourselves to other people, God can see through our “costumes” and understand who we really are. That is why Proverbs 16:2 declares, “All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” 

    But there is another aspect to the question, “Who are you wearing?” most of us never consider. According to the Scriptures, after we die we will face a judgment day in which we will hear a question similar to “Who are you wearing.” If we answer that we are wearing “good works” or “well-meaning efforts,” the Bible says that will not be sufficient. Only one “costume” will be accepted on that day. Let me explain.

    One passage, Galatians 3:26-28, states, “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

    Another verse tells us, “put off the old self…and put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth” (Ephesians 4:22-2). There are many similar passages, but each reaffirms when we stand before God for our individual day of judgment, only the covering of Jesus Christ – the “robes” He has made for us – will receive divine approval. On that very special day, who will you be wearing?

    Len M. Allen lives in Chattanooga, Tenn., U.S.A. and is a veteran of more than 35 years in the corporate worlds of retail, television, radio, newspapers and advertising. He is the author of Unemployed: Life in the Wilderness.

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: (520) 334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org  Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

     

    Reflection/Discussion Questions

     1. Have you ever observed celebrities on the “red carpet” prior to special events like awards shows or film premieres? What do you think of the question they often hear, “Who are you wearing?”

     

    2. How important is it for you to look right, whether you are going to work, spending an evening out, or attending a social event? Explain your answer. 

     

    3. What would be your definition for “dressing for success,” whether in the workplace or life in general?

     

    4.   When carrying out your responsibilities in the workplace, when people meet you or even watch when you’re not aware, who do they see? Are you covered with Jesus?

     

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages: Proverbs 21:2; Romans 3:23, 5:8, 6:23,13:12-14; Ephesians 6:11-15; Revelation 7:9-15


  10. What Remains: The True Test of A Leader

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    If 100 business executives were asked what they considered the characteristics of a good leader, they probably would provide 100 very different answers. But in terms of leaving a lasting legacy, it seems a mark of the best leaders is what remains after they have departed from the scene.

    Strong-minded, determined and driven leaders often can “make things happen,” willing their visions and dreams into reality. But a better measure of leadership manifests itself after they leave. How well they have led those under their charge is revealed by what remains. 

    In his excellent book, Good to Great, Jim Collins states the best leaders “want to see their companies even more successful in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most people won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts.”

    Collins also described “not-as-great” leaders. He said, “…concerned about their own reputation for personal greatness, (they) often failed to set the company up for success in the next generation. After all, what better testament to your own personal greatness than that the place falls apart after you leave?”

    It is interesting to consider how the departure of two iconic business leaders affected cutting-edge enterprises they founded. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, Inc., died in October 2011. His vision, creativity and personal magnetism built Apple into the most innovative company of its time. After Jobs and Apple parted ways in the late ‘80s, the business stumbled mightily until he returned years later.

    Since his death, Apple again has struggled somewhat, and some experts wonder whether it will ever regain the stature it enjoyed under Jobs. Will it still become “more successful in the next generation”?

    This is not to diminish Jobs’ accomplishments, but not all leaders have the same long-range impact.

    In 1982, Al Neuharth’s visionary thinking spawned USA Today, the country’s first national newspaper. Time confirmed there was a ready market for it, and he capitalized on emerging technology to facilitate publication of the newspaper from coast to coast. When Neuharth died several months ago, at the age of 89, his legacy was set. After his daily involvement had ended, USA Today became entrenched as a media and communications institution, fulfilling the “more successful in the next generation” description. 

    The Bible gives numerous examples of “next generation” thinking. Moses passed the baton to Joshua, and Elijah literally passes his mantle to Elisha. The greatest example is Jesus Christ, who entrusted His mission to a small band of disciples. Today, countless millions have become faithful followers of Jesus.

     Proverbs 29:18 says, Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law.” Jesus gave His followers a simple vision: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations…teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). Clearly they were faithful to their calling, their mission’s success now extending through countless generations.

    In your workplace, are leaders casting and modeling vision to be embraced by generations to come?

    Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit organization based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. A veteran journalist, he has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace (River City Press); and has coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress). For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.comand www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com. 

     

    CBMC INTERNATIONAL:  Jim Firnstahl, President

    2850 N. Swan Road, Suite 160
▪ Tucson, Arizona 85712 ▪ U.S.A.

    TEL.: (520) 334-1114 ▪ E-MAIL: [email protected]

    Web site: www.cbmcint.org Please direct any requests or change of address to: [email protected]

      

    Reflection/Discussion Questions 

    1. How would you describe the traits of a very effective leader?

     

    2. Do you agree with the statement that a true measure of a leader’s success is what remains after he or she is no longer filling that role? Why or why not? 

     

     3. Have you ever experienced a situation where a company or organization became too dependent on its leader – skill, expertise, even charisma – and that person’s eventual departure had a dramatic, negative effect on its future? How do you think that could be avoided?

     

    4.   Why do you think, more than 2,000 years after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the movement of Christianity shows no signs of going away? What role has leadership played in this, in your opinion?

     

     

    NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more about this subject, consider the following passages:  2 Kings 2:1-15; Matthew 28:16-20; Luke 24:36-49;John 20:19-29; 2 Timothy 2:2