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If you choose being a missionary over being a mercenary in business, where the mission of your business becomes the overriding and driving force in you and your employees’ lives, the secular world will likely doubt your choice, but will respond favorably to your financial results. My experience tells me that financial results will be better with this choice than if you were a mercenary. This focus on your business might be represented as “Your business is our life.”
Now, as a Christian business leader, what if you choose to recognize your business as your “mission field,” as in the place where God has called you to share the good news of the Gospel? This struck a nerve, didn’t it! Negative reactions can be to the intuitive consideration of laws that prohibit employment discrimination based upon religious preference or to the discomfort many envision if they were to proselytize at work. I get it, but that’s not what we’re talking about in a transcendent business.
First, no one is asking you to break any laws prohibiting discriminatory practices. But the law does not say you can’t share and be held accountable for the tenets of your faith in business. This is what the Church expects. This is also the strength of character; those sets of beliefs, values, paradigms, and behaviors that are consistent; that are your specific thumbprint on the lives of others. This consistency will build trust with your employees, a critical competitive advantage, and your living witness to the truth makes God, Jesus Christ, and the tenets of the Christian faith visible in tangible ways. You don’t need to speak the Gospel. You simply need to live the mission given to Christ’s followers to go, teach, and make disciples.
Here’s the key connection: when you carry yourself through tough times which are sure to come in business, and you do so with peace and joy, your employees will see it. Employees need business leaders who are integral (the same inside and out) who will not sacrifice their values and beliefs on the altar of profit, especially in difficult times. This credibility born of consistency is the foundation of leadership.
Be credible. Avoid hypocrisy. Don’t compartmentalize your faith life. Live your faith, especially at work. Deliver yet unforeseen results when your credibility and integrity build trust with those who follow, who now commit more fully and willingly to the work enhancing your competitive advantage. This might be represented as, “Your life is our business.”
If you don’t live your business leadership as a missionary, then who will?
If not now, then when?
Image: Marco Verch Professional Photographer Flickr