In my work running The CEO Institute I have called upon and worked with hundreds of different CEO’s and Senior Business Executives many of whom are self-professing Christians. What is most interesting to me is to observe how the behaviors of these Christian Business Leaders can sometimes differ from the Biblical beliefs and principles that they profess.
We have all heard the expression, “Does your walk match your talk?” Furthermore, does your walk really show any difference from business executives who are NOT Christians? Sadly enough in some cases, I have observed that the behaviors of Christian and non-Christian executives really aren’t that much different! If there is not truly any significant difference, then I would question what difference is our faith really making in our lives at work?
So let’s drill down on our own behaviors a bit further as a mid-year check up on how we are all doing in our Christian walk. First a bit of background. The Bible tells us that as Christians that we are Ambassadors for Christ. 2 Corinthians 5:20: “We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” As His adopted children, like it or not, we represent The King wherever we go- at work, at home, at church, and in the community. As Bill Lamberth noted in his Guest Presentation in May, we are to image God and to reflect Him to other people every day.
So let’s look at some of the ordinary actions that we take every day to see if we really do reflect (image) Him in the marketplace.
1. When you receive telephone calls from vendors, employees or customers, how prompt are you in returning that person’s call? Do you even return the calls? I have observed that some CEO’s don’t bother returning calls or do so on a timely basis. Granted, we all can get very busy, but what about establishing a goal of returning all phone calls within 24 hours?
2. What about emails? If someone with good intentions asks you to do something or asks you for a response, do you give them a timely response? Or do you just ignore their email because you think they are just not a very important person?
3. Do you keep your appointments on a regular basis or do you forget to show up or abruptly cancel a meeting without notice if you have an unexpected change of plans?
4. Does your Company pay its bills on a timely basis? Most vendors offer standard payment terms of 30 days. Does your business routinely pay your bills within the credit terms granted to your business? Or do you have sloppy accounting practices where invoices are lost, buried in an in basket or you just hold onto your money as long as possible even if that means exceeding the credit terms granted to your business? Do your vendors have to call you up asking to be paid?
5. Do you DO what you say you are going to DO? Do you keep your promises or do you simply ignore or delay doing what you promised to do on a timely basis because you are the Boss?
Okay, I think you get the picture. It really all comes down to observing The Golden Role: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. You have all heard that many times, but do you actually practice it ?
So What Should We Do Going Forward?
If you want your sales calls on one of your prospects returned, then make sure you return the phone call of a sales person who is trying to win your business.
If you want your emails to meet with a timely response, then make sure you are responding in 24 hours or so or delegate a response to another person in your Company.
If you want people to keep an appointment with you, then be sure you keep your appointments and be sure to show up on time!
If you want people to pay your company on time, then make sure you pay your bills on or before the date they are actually due!
If you tell somebody, anybody regardless of their position, that you are going to do something, then let your word be your bond and DO IT!
Please don’t fall into the trap and think that because you are a CEO, President or other Senior Executive, that courtesy and good manners don’t apply to you. Both your personal reputation and the reputation of your Company are established by people seeing how you behave on a daily basis. The Bible says that a good reputation is more valuable that choice gold or silver. Proverbs 22:1 A good name is more desirable than great riches.” Do you really believe that? Okay, Let’s talk!
1. What kind of a reputation have you established in the marketplace with your vendors, employees, your customers and others in the community?
2. Would you say that your day to day conduct is really any different than a Non-Christian business Executive?
3. When you give an accountability report to The Lord one day what do you think He will say to you as it pertains to your conduct on the afore mentioned points in the marketplace?
Lane A. Kramer is President of The CEO Institute, a Dallas based Christian peer advisory group (See www.ceoinst.com). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He also leads a Marketplace Ministry called At Work On Purpose- North Texas.