Whether you are an employee or an owner you have arenas that you operate with some influence in. I’ve said it before that I believe businesses can change the world. While there might be a lot to unpack, no one would argue that businesses are indeed changing the world, many times for the worse. However, you and I have an opportunity to change that! There are 3 key areas of impact for businesses that many leaders get 1 or 2 right but rarely get all 3 right.
A business has a great impact on the lives of those that work there. It’s such a big deal that much research has been given to workplace happiness, creating winning cultures and even vacation lengths. Obviously, the research is all about creating efficiencies in the workplace to increase production. However, many of these systems for creating a culture work on principles that, at their core, are Biblical.
If you’re the leader of your organization then it’s your duty to be intentional about these values. It really makes a big difference. If you’re a leader in an organization but not the decision-maker, then it’s your job to bring your values to the workplace and influence from within.
I met with one business owner that told me that when he first started his business he just wanted to create a business that generated profits so he could give. The business was a vehicle. The comment he made was that there were no “Christian businesses” in heaven. Sadly this is the view of many of my business colleagues.
In his attorney world, there was no place for religion. He would tell me and so he would focus on giving and doing good but keep his work and religion separate. That’s good because I don’t want religion in my work. I do want Jesus though.
Just like your beliefs influence your actions and then influence those around you, your business influences customers. In much of our life, we interact with different businesses. Most times the experience is neutral, neither good nor bad. Many times there are situations that make the experience less than desirable. You might be tempted to give a restaurant a bad review. Perhaps you’ve dealt with a cable company recently.
It’s rare when we’re “wowed” by a business. It’s not necessarily that the business isn’t a good one, but rather we’ve grown so accustomed to a certain level of service that it’s rare to see someone exceed it in a way that causes us to notice. Sometimes the “wow” is how professional the people are you’re interacting with and other times it could be “policies” that are brought to your knowledge that makes you really like this company.
Right now, if you live in the south you are immediately thinking about Chick-fil-a. Those teenagers saying “my pleasure” to every half-said, “thank you.” The fact that as a fast-food chain they’ve subtly added service to their restaurants without drawing attention.
Service professionals such as real estate agents, financial planners and others interact with people on a very personal level. For better or worse, their customers have strong opinions about them.
The point is that what we do as people influences others, but also how our business operates can impact someone. As followers of Christ and now as Kings (and Queens) we live to a different standard. It’s our job as leaders in our organization to cast vision of the values and to create systems that train and encourage our teams to deliver the kind of service and to have policies that make people go “wow.”
It matters because your customers will almost always outnumber your employees. Somewhere along your supply chain one of “your” people, whether you are a CEO or a team leader, will interact with a customer directly. Business owners are often aware that the business’ reputation is at stake with every interaction. However, someone’s soul could be at stake! No, I’m not saying every “king” should be asking their customers for their confession of Jesus Christ as Lord. What I am suggesting is that every interaction has the opportunity water and nurture a seed that was planted.
At the beginning of this section was a scripture from Colossians. Further,in that chapter,it says, “Work as unto the Lord.” This doesn’t just mean how you conduct yourself in your job function, but how you interact with customers as well.
When you do a search for companies with Christian values you get a full front page of Google with titles such as, “18 Extremely Religious Big Businesses In America.” Unfortunately, every single post I reviewed had very silly references. Most companies were cited as “religious” because they printed a Bible verse on their products. Some cited God as their source. None of the “Christian” companies were highlighted due to their great community involvement, much of that was missed in these articles.
A business can change the world because when people unite nothing can stop us. The Lord Himself even says this in Genesis 11:6.
We all know the businesses in our community. A few of them will send their employees to do charity work. Even fewer run their own charities and non-profits, but a select few are missional in everything they do. I’ve spent more than a decade trying to get better at articulating what it means to have a mission-driven business and I’ve not come up with any short description.
The business sees a need in the community and leverages its resources to solve the problem. Often the problems that businesses solve in a community benefit the business as well. However, that’s not the point of solving the problems, just rather a great byproduct.
It’s the intentionality behind the community effort that makes the impact. The individuals that are affected are the ones that get influenced. In this case you are directly watering and nurturing seed, truly shining light. In this case, you can and should be more overt about why you’re doing something.
In each of these areas, it requires intentionality. Intentionality around the culture that affects your employees or coworkers. Intentionality around how you and your business interact with customers. Intentionality arounded impacting the community, which probably consists of the first two groups.