A couple of years ago Mike Myatt interviewed me and asked some great leadership questions. Not sure how good my answers were, but in any case, you can watch the entire interview here. One of the questions he asked me was "what can Church leaders learn from Business leaders, and what can business leaders learn from church leaders?" Good question.
I thought I would provide a few more thoughts around this issue here.
Church Leaders, here are a few things you can learn from Business Leaders:
1. collaboration- business is built around partnerships and collaboration. Many times you will see competitors in business partnering together if it makes business sense and they can create a profitable return. We have a tendency in the Church to be protective, selfish and isolated, whether it's between denominations, associations, or other churches in our communities. Especially the pastor right down the street from us.
2. excellence- if a business doesn't create a great product, no one will buy from them and they will go out of business. And if you aren't good at what you do, whether a designer or consultant or restaurant owner or UPS driver, then you won't last. Sometimes in the church we have the tendency to make excellence a low level priority, and we don't demand that staff members constantly get better. I've written several times about doing what you do with excellence. And pastors, don't be afraid to ask your business leaders to get involved in helping you create excellence with what you do.
3. execution- the business world is built on "getting things done on time." Again, without this as a core value, businesses will fail. Church leaders can learn a ton regarding execution from the business leaders sitting in your seats or pews on Sunday morning.
4. measure success- businesses measure their success mostly based on return on investment- the idea of creating a profit. There are definitely other factors, but that one is key. You have to measure your success in order to know if you've accomplished your mission. In the Church, many times we are not as intentional at measuring our success because we're in the "people" business. But I believe the Church is doing the most important work in the world, and to not hold ourselves accountable and constantly measure whether we are creating "Kingdom" profit is not good stewardship.
Business Leaders, here are a few things you can learn from Church Leaders:
1. relationships first- the currency of getting things done in the Church is through relationships. Many times in business we are so focused on execution and profit and margin that we forget about the relational currency we are building or not building.
2. income for greater purposes- Business leaders- Look for ways to create a "triple bottom line" in your business. Meaning you find ways to give back and be generous and help those in need. This has become the new standard for many businesses- no longer are you only measured by what profit you make- but now measured by what kind of investment you give back to the community. Church leaders understand this.
3. leadership- some of the best leaders in the world are on staff at Churches, especially those who lead volunteers every week. If you can get hundreds of volunteers motivated and excited and committed to serving, then there are all kinds of leadership lessons we can learn from you and implement in the business world.
4. passion and calling- great ministry leaders have a sense of calling on their life that is inspiring. They do what they do with great passion, many times sacrificing a higher paying job or other opportunities because of the specific purpose God has laid on their life. Business leaders should have the same level of passion, purpose and calling for their vocation. There is NO sacred and secular. It's all sacred. Your calling as a business professional is not second class, so run after it with a desire to truly live for God in the marketplace.