After 40 years of business leadership, ownership and management of everything from top corporations and national ministries to small startup companies I can sincerely say there are some principles I did not read in a bestselling business book, that have been irreplaceable in my development as a person and seasoned business professional. These solid biblical principles can be applied to business with equally great results. I want to assure you that they work, but you need to be brave to apply them. Here are two of many biblical principles that changed my business life.”
Principle 1 – Pray for your critics and do something nice to those who seem to have it out for you.
Don’t spontaneously respond with equal venom, or lash out in anger, since your worst critic can turn out to be your best adviser. In my early years, after responding vehemently when attacked, I finally decided to test the Lord’s words and instead of counterattacking I prayed for my “seeming” enemyin-the-office. I started to listen to them, as if they were a friend in disguise. I looked for ways to “do good” to those insulting and disrespecting me, and something amazing happened – I started to see the point they were “so imperfectly” making about me. I have no chapter or verse to support this next comment, but I suspect that when God wants to get our attention about things we need to address in our own lives, He may use someone who doesn’t like us to bring it to our attention. Enemies are so much more willing to be frank about those nasty things in us than our friends. When I applied the Lord’s admonition to “pray for my enemies,” some of those early wolves in the office later became good friends. Your critics may actually be friends in wolves clothing.
Principle 2 – We often learn a lot more in life that will benefit us and others, in failure rather than in success.
No, I am not advocating lackadaisical practices or attitudes. But even when we are giving it our best we can fail, and it should not disqualify us as leaders. All my failures, errors and omissions along the way in my long business career do not disqualify me from giving useful advice to others, and in fact they are the very reason I have so many useful things to say. To be perfectly frank, most of my skills have come as a result of doing things wrong the first time (well…sometimes several times). The natural bent in us wants to avoid ridicule, loss, embarrassment and suffering that failure seems to bring. Yet, over time, I came to recognize what good advice looks like, because I had experienced it first-hand in some of my failures. Bad outcomes are great mentors in disguise. We owe it to ourselves o accept failure as one of the best teachers there is for success. Pain, failure and suffering are not disqualifiers, but often pre-requisites for success.
As Christian leaders, it is good to recognize that it is not just business books that can offer principles for success. The great biblical principles of humility and praying for our critics can also take us a long way. Now all we need to do is earn to lean upon God to provide us with the wisdom and discernment we will need to apply them at the right times.