What Can Business Owners Learn from the Doctrine of the Trinity?

Often, the more profound an idea is, the more simple it is. I ran across this idea in an email from a friend. I did not come up with this idea myself. I’m not that smart. But it seems to me that it is profound and I wanted to share it with you.

If you’re wondering what the Doctrine of the Trinity is, I refer you to this quote:

“We may define the doctrine of the Trinity as follows: God eternally exists as three persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and each person is fully God, and there is one God.” (Grudem, Wayne (2009-05-11). Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (p. 226). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

If you were to read on in Dr. Grudem’s
Systematic Theology, you’d find that the Scriptures teach that while each member of the Trinity is fully God, each member also has distinct roles as they relate to the world and its’ affairs. While it is true that every analogy about the Trinity breaks down at some point, it is also clear that parts of this can be easily ported to business ownership. I sat under Dr. Grudem in seminary when I was a student at Trinity. I was impressed not only with his knowledge of the Scriptures, but also his humble and tender heart.

While we have equality in the Trinity, we also have distinct roles and clear lines of authority. Each is fully capable of carrying out their role, no matter the difficulty or joy involved in the task at hand. Christ especially exemplified taking on an unwanted task that was fully beneath his station as God. All three are working toward a transcendent, common purpose that is “outside” themselves. I can’t think of a better reason for business owners to model this “equality with diversity” in their businesses. There are clear lines of authority, clearly articulated roles and unending loyalty among the members of the Trinity. They also are compelled by love to do what they do – love for each other and love for us.

The lessons are obvious.

In business, we need to have a transcendent purpose for why the company exists and what its’ overall purpose is. We should insist on competency at the executive levels, with both clear lines of authority, clear loyalty in the leadership team and the willingness to take on any task that is assigned, no matter how difficult or “beneath” our station in life. Leadership that serves others as well as helping them be more than they ever thought possible is the best type of leadership that a business owner can exhibit. Leaders value others as equal to themselves. But leaders also give clear direction to those who are capable and sufficiently resourced to accomplish their tasks. The proverbial DCOM is a good model to follow: have we given clear Direction to those who are Competent and resourced them sufficiently to pursue the Opportunity while giving them realistic reasons to be Motivated to succeed? It seems to me that when God sent Christ to this earth to die for us, at a minimum, the four elements of the DCOM were in play.

So, short, business owners can model the Trinity in their organization by:

  1. Having loyalty and love for those they have hired
  2. They serve their employees by working to ensure that they are more advanced professionally and personally when they leave the business than when they were hired
  3. Develop an enduring, transcendent purpose for their business that is beyond profits
  4. Ensuring they have clear lines of authority
  5. Ensuring they have clear roles and responsibilities for each person they employ
  6. Ensuring they have hired people who are competent or who can be developed into being competent

There are probably other lessons we can draw out, but at first blush, this is what I’ve learned. Please post back with thoughts or ideas. Thanks.

Bill English, CEO