In my Friday Five for this week, I revisit the notion that one needs to be an arrogant and pompous person in order to lead a large organization. While I don’t agree that these character faults are needed to run a large organization, it seems to me that most of the time, whether churches, para-church, non-profit or for-profit, my experience is that this is the case. It seems that those who have the ability to be nice and wonderful to some while being absolutely abusive toward others seem to rise to levels of leadership in which they might accomplish some great things, but they leave behind a wake of destroyed lives in the process.
There is a post this week at Rasmussen which illustrates this point. Here you have a guy who professes his faith in Jesus Christ via the Catholic faith. And yet, he “enjoys” a good fight and threatens to withhold his millions from the church if he doesn’t get his way. I would submit that the Catholic church is better off without him (remember that God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and doesn’t need this guy’s millions). But I would also submit that he earned his millions, in part, because he can act like the backside of a horse and get away with it. I doubt that he has anyone who speaks truth into his life.
Secondly, I was encouraged again through the book of Proverbs, chapter 4:
20 My son, pay attention to what I say;
turn your ear to my words.
21 Do not let them out of your sight,
keep them within your heart;
22 for they are life to those who find them
and health to one’s whole body.
23 Above all else, guard your heart,
for everything you do flows from it.
24 Keep your mouth free of perversity;
keep corrupt talk far from your lips.
25 Let your eyes look straight ahead;
fix your gaze directly before you.
26 Give careful thought to the paths for your feet
and be steadfast in all your ways.
27 Do not turn to the right or the left;
keep your foot from evil.
I was encouraged that the Word of God is life and health to myself (and to anyone who will listen); that what I do and say (Luke 6.44) flows from what is in my heart; that I am to keep my speech free of perversity and corruption (sometimes, I get too “earthy” in my choice of words….) and to stay focused on what God has called me to (“Look straight ahead”) and don’t get distracted with the cares and sin of this world. I am to carefully consider all my ways and to be steadfast in them. Excellent advice for anyone running a small business!
Thirdly, I thought I’d recommend a couple of books I’ve recently read: “Snakes in Suits” and “The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die“.
Fourthly, I’ve started working through the training materials from the Turnaround Management Association. I just finished their training on the 13-week cash flow forecast. We used this tool in the past in our business but got away from it because it is such a time consuming tool to build and maintain and I don’t have anyone on staff who can do this for me. But the training was good to go through and a good reminder of how good cash management is essential to running a business.
Lastly, I’ve agreed to a writing project that is well outside my area of expertise. I won’t say what it is because anonymity is a key part of this project, but it will require stepping outside my comfort zone and writing in a non-business, non-current-event area. I’m seriously looking forward to it. I can sense that, within myself, I’m so focused on certain areas of my life that I’ve atrophied in other areas. Doing writing in these other areas will revive those atrophied parts a bit – something that is necessary if one is going to have a well-rounded life. I reveal this to you so that you can check yourself and see if there are valid parts of yourself that are atrophied and need some life pumped into them. Be sure to have a well-rounded life with margin.
Bill English, CEO