In my own life, I can attest that my active pursuit of God parallels my growth in holiness and the ability to make courageous decisions as a CEO at work. When I drift from the Lord, I find myself shying away from conflict resolution. I don’t live up to the high ideals I’ve set for myself in my leadership philosophy. I lack the strength and courage to make tough decisions. And I find I don’t value my wife’s opinion and presence as much. God is the glue that holds together my life – and yours too, if you’re honest about it.
Making decisions is a core function of any Christian Business Owner. As in any organization, the toughest decisions bubble up to the top. If the decision is easy, you’ve probably hired someone else to handle it. CEOs make tough decisions – and that often requires courage:
“When my partners and I meet with entrepreneurs, the two key characteristics that we look for are brilliance and courage. In my experience as CEO, I found that the most important decisions tested my courage far more than my intelligence….Sometimes the decision itself is rather complicated, which makes the courage challenge even more difficult. CEOs possess a different set of data, knowledge, and perspective than anybody else in the company. Frequently, some of the employees and board members are more experienced and more intelligent than the CEO. The only reason the CEO can make a better decision is her superior knowledge. To make matters worse, when a CEO faces a particularly difficult decision, she may have only a slight preference for one choice over another— say 54 percent kill a product line, 46 percent keep it. If the really smart people on the board and on her staff take the other side, her courage will be severely tested. How can she kill the product when she is not even sure if she is making the right decision and everyone is against her? If she’s wrong, she will have been wrong in the face of advice from her top advisers. If she is right, will anybody even know?”
- Horowitz, Ben (2014-03-04). The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers (p. 209). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
To my way of thinking, courage comes either from arrogance, love or a strong sense of God’s leading. When it comes to the latter, we can’t know or understand the leading of God unless we are walking closely with Him. In order to hear His voice, we need to be actively pursuing God – every bit as much as we pursue our customers and excellence in our businesses. When we have the courage to meet the demands of reality, we set ourselves up for success – especially if that success is defined as us following God. When God is in the future creating a work for us to do and we are in the present letting God prepare us for that work, then if we continue to follow God – we will be successful even if this means our business struggles or doesn’t grow as some think it ought.
An active pursuit of God allows us to define success as being who God created us to be and doing what God has ordained we do. We jettison American views of success and we take on God’s definition instead. We stop trying to fit into a Christianized view of success that is grown in American business philosophies and we pursue God Himself and then pursue success in fulfilling the four purposes God has for our business. We also renounce sin and walk with God. We hear His voice and we know His leading. When this is our modus operando, we will have the courage to make tough decisions and through the enlightening work of the Holy Spirit, many of these tough decisions will be more clear-cut than we might have expected. We’ll more naturally live out our ideals and we’ll engage in peacemaking rather than conflict resolution. Oh – and our wives’s (or husband’s) opinions will matter a great deal more because we’ll understand that God does not lead two individuals in a marriage in different directions. He leads them as “one flesh”.
If you’re a Christian Business Owner and you’re drifting from God, then make it your first priority to pursue Him in prayer and through the Word. Let Him examine your life and confess any sins you have. Then turn your heart toward Him and follow His leading. By doing so, you will have the courage to make tough decisions, the clarity to know what God’s leading really is and the confidence that you will be successful in fulfilling God’s purposes for your life.