Category Archives: For Christian Business Owners

The Top 10 Things Business Owners Do that Demoralizes Their Employees

Drawn from my experience of working with business owners in my consulting work at the Platinum Group, I’ve developed the top ten things that business owners do that drives their staff crazy and eventually, drives them out of their business.

#10: You’re a moving target

You’ll tell your staff to focus on task A this week and then blow your stack that they didn’t focus on task B. Or worse, you “lay down the law” and tell them that they “must do” task “A” a certain way, only to instruct them a few weeks later how to do it differently. You can shift quickly on what you want and you get upset when your staff gets confused.

Matthew 5.37: But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil.

#9: You act childishly

Speaking of blowing your stack, when you don’t get your way, you get angry. You through a fit over minor infractions and have little tolerance for normal differences of opinion. But since you don’t know how to approach conflict and employee management in a mature way, you fume and fuss to yourself, spending way too much emotional energy and thinking time on how crummy and incompetent your employees are. As a result, you stay in bad moods much longer than you should. Others will describe you as being “moody”.

Psalm 37.8: Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil.

Ecclesiastes 7.9: Do not be quickly provoked in your spirit, for anger resides in the lap of fools

#8: You have a low opinion of your employees and a high opinion of yourself

You honestly believe that no one can do it (it doesn’t matter what “it” is) nearly as well as you. You may be a “happy arrogant” in which, through your charisma, you’re able to mask some of your arrogance, but it comes out in your thoughts, conclusions and emails to trusted advisors. You describe your employees as those who act stupidly. They are incompetent, they try to “milk you” for additional pay or incentives and they have bad attitudes. You think you’re able to hide your true opinions of your employees from your employees, but what you think about them eventually gets communicated, even if you never say anything to them directly. Your actions and attitudes will bleed through.

Isaiah 13.11: I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.

#7: You are insecure

In the quietness of your own mind, you’re highly afraid of being incompetent. When asked a question to which you don’t know the answer, you’ll “make up” an answer to appear knowledgeable and in control. You think you’re fooling others, but you’re not.

Proverbs 17.28: Even fools are thought wise if they keep silent and discerning if they hold their tongues

#6: You are selfish

You often underpay your employees and yet expect them to flex for your needs while ignoring theirs. For example, if you’re having a slow afternoon, you’ll call your employees and have them come in later in the day to save on payroll, but if your busy, you’ll call them to come in early. It’s all about you and your business.

Philippians 2.3-4: Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

#5: You’re egocentric

You interpret events around your only as they relate to you. You lack clear understanding of how these same events relate to others in your life. in the business only as it affects them – they do not understand how these events affect others or how another’s action affects others in the office. As a result, you’ll hear advice, but you won’t listen to it. You’ll often discount sage advice.

Proverbs 12.15: The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice

#4: You rarely praise or encourage your employees

You don’t notice when they do something well or go above and beyond their normal job duties. You only notice when they do something poorly or act out of line with your rules.

1 Thessalonians 5.11: Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

#3: You pass out titles and responsibilities, but you don’t resource your employees properly

Resourcing is more than telling them to take on a responsibility. Properly resourcing your employees includes giving them authority to make decisions, giving them authority to spend appropriately or giving them the opportunity to fail. If they don’t have this, they will never succeed.

1 Timothy 5.18: For Scripture says, “Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain,” e and “The worker deserves his wages

#2: You are a micro manager

You hire smart people and then tell them what to do, how to do it and monitor every aspect of their employee’s work performance. In short, you micromanage. Smart, talented people don’t put up with this stuff, so they stay a while, then submit their resignations and move to greener pastures where they can flourish.

Luke 19.12-27: Parable of the ten talents where the master entrusts wealth to several servants, then leaves and gives them the opportunity to grow his money

#1: More than likely, you have significant abuse and family of origin issues that are unresolved

Most of these traits are learned in childhood and are the result of growing up in a highly dysfunctional family system. Perhaps your parents yelled at you. Perhaps they abandoned you. Perhaps they were addicted to alcohol or drugs or sex and introduced you to vices you should have never learned about. Whatever the situation, you need the healing power of Jesus Christ in your life and you need to get some counseling. Until you resolve the anxieties, fears and other emotions inside you, you’ll find that you’re unable to change your behaviors in your business.

What you believe about people and relationships is lived out both at home and in your business. If you find that even two or three of these top 10 items are characteristic of you, then you need to get some help. Don’t delay. You’ll be a better person and a better business owner for straight-forwardly addressing your derailers.

Bill English

Do not Wear Yourself Out to get Rich

Proverbs 23.4: “Do not wear yourself out to get rich; have the wisdom to show restraint”.

Hmmm……

Are you serious? Turn away good customers who are ready to buy my products and services?

Yep.

Do you mean, work less even though I could make more money and thus give more money to God?

Yep. (Hint: God doesn’t need your money)

Are you kidding me? Restrain my sales team?

Yep.

Think about it.

Why would God have written this – intended for our good? I can think of at least four reasons.

First, when we throttle our businesses and our success, we purposefully create margin in our lives so that we have time for the things that really matter – time with God and with family. I’ve met way too many business owners who chase the next deal, loading up their over-worked staffs with more and more work because they are incapable of throttling themselves or turning down another deal. These individuals have no margin. They usually end up crashing, losing their marriages, key employees and losing their money too. They burnout. They didn’t build in margin. They tried to stuff too much work into too few hours.

Second, when we throttle our businesses and our success, we demonstrate that we love God more than money. Many successful business owners get a taste of success and they are instantly hooked. They become intoxicated. They become driven by their need for money – they love it – they love profits – they love wealth and riches. They pursue what they love and no matter how much they have, they always want more. Christians are not to be like this.

Thirdly, when we throttle our businesses and our success, we show our employees respect by not expecting them to work longer and longer hours to support more and more sales. We show that we want them to have a life outside of work and we support them by making sure their workload is reasonable.

Lastly, when we throttle our businesses and our success, we show that we value wisdom and understanding more than money or riches. Proverbs is constantly comparing the value of material wealth to wisdom and you know what? Wisdom wins every time. Have the wisdom…. It takes wisdom to show restraint, because only the wise understand the empty and fleeting nature of wealth.

Money and wealth will never make your happy. Never. Ever. Never. Never. Never. Never.

So don’t be fooled. Work hard – yes. Make money – yes (see Luke 19). But if you can make more by pushing yourself and your staff to being out of balance, then turn back and have the wisdom to show restraint. Money isn’t worth it. Turn your heart to Jesus Christ. Only He can fill that big, empty void you’re stuffing with money. Let Him fill you and you’ll find yourself having the wisdom to show restraint.

Bill English

Assuming Risk as a Christian Business Owner

Risk can be defined as the exposure to chance of injury or loss.  Everyone who runs a business assumes a certain amount of risk.  In traditional economic thinking about this topic, most Americans would agree that those who assume the most risk in a business venture are also entitled to the most compensation should the venture turn out to be successful.  I personally would agree with this principle.  Generally speaking, our economy rewards the value that we give to the economy, so those who take a larger risk often provide jobs for others and a new product or service to the economy, so they would in turn be compensated at a higher rate than those who did not assume that risk.   There are two sides to risk:  one is the assumption of risk (usually based on an educated belief that there is a good chance that injury or loss will not be experienced) and the other is trusting in the Lord.  At a high level, when risk is assumed, the one assuming the risk must trust in something to offset the assumption of that risk.  For many of us, we purchase insurance to help offset the risk that we assume.  For others of us, we simply trust the Lord, understanding that His love for us and His sovereignty in our lives is a sufficient basis for assuming risk.  And still, there are others of us who do both – we purchase insurance and trust the Lord for the outcome.   The Scriptures also speak to risk, although in more general terms. However, I believe that there are some Scriptural principles that can be gleaned about risk and trust.

Assumption of Risk

Proverbs 22.3 says that a prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.  When it comes to running a Christian business, the Scriptures teach that it is an act of prudence to look into the future, assess the potential dangers and see what you can do to take refuge from those dangers.  The dangers can take many forms, from employees taking your IP and creating competitive businesses to new product or technologies penetrating the market in a way that reduces your customer base or makes your product/service obsolete.  It might also be purchasing key man insurance or cross purchase agreement (buy/sell) insurance to cover the cost of purchasing stock between partners in the event one of them dies prematurely.  In all of these situations and more, it is prudent to assess the danger and take proactive steps to guard yourself from those dangers.  (This same thought is repeated nearly verbatim in Proverbs 27.12).

Trusting in the Lord

There are many verses in the Scriptures about trusting in the Lord. Verses that discuss God’s provision for those who trust in Him are numerous.  For example, Proverbs 10.3 states that “the Lord does not let the righteous go hungry…” and Philippians 4.19 says that “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”.  These two verses – and many others – apply to those who own businesses.  The promise is clear:  God will not allow His people to go without the basics that are needed in life.  I personally don’t think this can be applied to mean that your business will always succeed.  These verses of provision discuss God’s protection of us personally, not protection of our possessions (assuming our business is a possession).

Ongoing Risk as a Business Owner

As a business owner, you will find that you’ll need to risk over and over again.  Just as success isn’t final, risk never ends.  Growth will require certain levels of risk.  There will always be times when you’ll need to risk in order to keep your business going.  Every time you risk, be sure to hear clearly from the Lord about your decisions and be sure they are bathed in prayer.  Knowing and understanding what risk is and when it is a good to assume it will help you avoid unnecessary loss.

Principles of Risk for the Christian Business Owner

What follows here is a brief outline of the principles that should govern our decision-making processes when we consider taking on additional risk:

  1. The risk assumed should support and further your core purposes for running the business
  2. The risk assumed should not require you to violate your core values
  3. The potential negative consequences should be proportional to the potential positive rewards
  4. Mitigating risk is normal and natural
  5. Risk is shared when we are acting under the direction of the Lord.  In other words, when following God’s direction, the risk is real, but the “shouldering” of that risk is shared between God and us.  While He may not protect us from the negative consequences of assuming a risk He’s asked us to assume, we can be assured He will meet our needs (Phil 4) and will reward us in heaven for obedience.

Bill English, CEO Mindsharp

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