TRUTH for Business & Life
Doing Business God's Way
Since the fall of Adam & Eve, work has been a necessary part of life. Yet the Bible provides timeless truth for success in work, business and life in the modern world.
Put God First Every Day
Days are short and business can be challenging. Jesus said, "But Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33) In the first of His Ten Commandments, God said "Thou shalt have no other gods before me". (Exodus 20:3)
Don't let work take precedence over God. To maximize productivity, open each day with prayer, dedicating each day to God and seek His direction and blessing on your business. For it is written, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain". (Psalms 127:1) Prayer can be silent and personal, or it can be together with willing colleagues who freely chose to participate.
Good communication is a key ingredient to every successful business. Professional decorum is instantly noticed and sets a business apart. Refraining from the use of profanity and from taking the Lord's name in vain in the workplace elevates the professionalism of the business and eliminates unnecessary internal and external risk.
Words are important, and can be both constructive and destructive. It is written, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21) Therefore, it is very important to mind your words. Also, know that your word is your bond. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no. (James 5:12)
Operate 6 days a week
Rest on the 7th day - Full Stop
Time = Money. Pressure = Productivity. There are 52 weeks a year. Operating five or six full days a week drives employees and equipment to run full-out and maximize momentum. Then, a full one-day shut-down each week allows equipment to cool and provides employees a common day of rest for the team to look forward to and strive toward, to replenish necessary energy, to focus on God and family, and to prepare to deliver maximum output the following week. Such cadence also enables the equivalent of nearly a 2 month closure each year (52 days), saving costs without skipping a beat. Rested workers = higher productivity. Cooled equipment = fewer breakdowns. Plus, honoured Sabbath = God's blessing. A wise man once said, 7 men do the same work in 6 days as 6 men in 7 days. Whenever we operate on the Sabbath we are stealing the bread out of another man's mouth.
Honour Supervisors and Leadership
Leadership is not easy, and bosses are imperfect. Pressure rises with every step up the corporate ladder. It's easy to judge others until we walk a mile in their shoes. Recognizing this, we must be mindful to respect our colleagues, including those in charge of us.
"Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward." (2 Peter 2:18)
"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons." (Colossians 3:22-25)
Always lift each other up
Never kill the spirit
Interpersonal complaining and gossip can be one of the most infectious diseases that can cripple any organization. At best it detracts from productivity. At worst it can lead to destructive corporate sabotage.
Conversely, encouragement and praise between employees and peers is one of the most powerful enablers to productive achievement that a corporation will ever enjoy.
Eliminate gossip and encourage interpersonal praise and support in the workplace.
"[Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
Always Be Loyal
Never Betray Corporate Interest
Your employer has entrusted you with the important responsibility of managing their business (or a portion thereof). As such, it is your moral obligation to serve the company diligently, working hard both when they are watching and when they aren't. This means you also have the responsibility to be loyal to the interests of the company in all circumstances, negotiations and dealings, regardless of any perceived opportunity cost. As it is written in Proverbs 6:6-8 "Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest."
"Exhort servants to be obedient unto their own masters, and to please them well in all things; not answering again; Not purloining (pilfering), but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things." (Titus 2:9-10)
Always be Honest
Never Steal, Defraud or Extort
Business is competitive, and sometimes profit seems illusive. In today's day and age, we are surrounded by companies who are tempted to use underhanded tactics in an attempt to boost profits by taking advantage of customers, suppliers, and service providers. Similarly, it is increasingly common for employees to take advantage of employers through various forms of theft, cheating or shortcuts.
To be truly successful, a business must fully resolve to uphold the highest standards of integrity across the corporation, and resolve not to steal, defraud or extort in any way; not from suppliers, nor from customers, nor from service providers, nor from investors, nor from employees, nor from government, nor from the company itself or each other.
Always be Truthful
Never Bear False Witness or Lie
Similarly, honesty must transcend your whole business, both in deed and in word. A successful business must never lie; not to suppliers, nor to customers, nor to service providers, nor to investors, nor to banks, nor to government, nor to employees, nor in marketing, nor to any other stakeholders.
In order to have a truly successful business, truth must be an unwavering hallmark of all operations, upheld at all costs throughout the whole organization, and never compromised no matter the cost.
Always be Thankful
Contrary to popular opinion, the grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence, and there's truth in the old adage that you must be careful for what you wish for.
Contentment is like a fine wine: It gets better with time.
Each of us must be thankful for the position we have been given, which bears a certain compensation which we have freely agreed to. As such, when we embrace our position and engage heartily as unto the Lord, we will find great satisfaction in our work, resulting in both intrinsic and extrinsic benefits, which universally opens rewarding new doors, both in the near term and in the future, and eternally.
Always be Humble
According to research by Jim Collins in his famous business case-study book entitled Good to Great, one of the top 5 common traits among companies that have accelerated from 'good' to 'great' is humble leadership. Humility is, certainly, one of the most magnetic traits of great leaders, and enables tremendous productivity among teams, due in part to the downstream empowerment that is a natural result.
Furthermore, the book of Proverbs says, "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall". (Proverbs 16:18)
"When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom". (Proverbs 11:2)
Pay bills on time
Honesty in business includes honouring the terms of transaction agreements with stakeholders. This includes paying bills on time. Withholding payments beyond agreed terms is nothing less than stealing.
Paying bills on time yields multiple tangible benefits including preferred trading arrangements, improved credit ratings, and satisfied employees. Meanwhile withholding payments causes cascading negative damage to multiple downstream stakeholders, with minimal temporary self-benefit.
The golden rule must never be forgotten, otherwise we face self-destruction as a business community and more broadly as a society over time. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise". (Luke 6:31)
Taking on debt is sometimes an attractive option to facilitate cash flow to enable progress. However, the book of Proverbs wisely recognizes that "The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender." (Proverbs 22:7)
As soon as a business takes on debt, it is beholden to outside entities who now have a level of influence over the business. For this reason, it is important to manage the temptation to fund business growth through debt. For it is written, "But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition." (1 Timothy 6:9)
Giving is one of the most incredibly puzzling yet beautiful truths in the Bible. In so many ways it seems completely counter-intuitive, that by giving you will receive. Yet, the amazing truth of the Bible bears itself out time and time again. The more you give, the more you receive; and the receipts go beyond the physical.
Jesus said in His famous sermon on the mount, "Give and it shall be given unto you, good measure, pressed down and shaken together, and running over will men give into your bosom. For the same measure ye meet withal it shall be measured to you again." (Luke 6:38)
This truth prevails in the business world also. Nevertheless, we must also be mindful of Jesus' other words which guide us to humility and thereby anonymity. "But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:3-4)
Treat Employees Well
Modern academia has documented the benefits of employee engagement, and these truths have long been documented in the Bible.
"Thou shalt not oppress an hired servant that is poor and needy, whether he be of thy brethren, or of thy stranger that are in thy land within thy gates." (Deuteronomy 24:14)
"Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal; knowing that ye also have a Master in heaven." (Collossians 4:1)
"He that delicately bringeth up his servant from a child shall have him become his son at length".
Lead by Serving
Probably the most motivating illustration of leadership is when a person of authority demonstrates that they are willing to roll up their sleeves and serve others. Employee engagement increases exponentially when leaders are willing to 'dig in' and truly serve their teams. However, too often, pride takes root in the hearts of those in authority, and a level of arrogance creeps in making leaders feel they are above certain activities or environments. Leaders do well to recognize the traits of the most famous leader in history, Jesus Christ, who took it upon himself to bend down and wash the feet of His disciples.
Yes, leadership involves setting vision and providing direction, but it also involves much more. Those who lead the most effective organizations show themselves to be human, humbling themselves to work alongside and support those who are in the trenches each day. Pride and arrogance have no place in leadership, and those who embrace such style will ultimately fall short of greatness.