God must really be trying to teach me something very specific. Over the last two weeks, leadership roles that I play in ministry and business have converged over one specific lesson. It is becoming very clear and causing great things to happen.
You’ve heard me say the word “kairos” before regarding time and seizing the moment. This is one of those breaks in the monotony of time for me when God has clearly ordained multiple paths to come together to say “STOP! LOOK! LISTEN!”… I’ve got something AWESOME to show you!
But enough ranting! The lesson for me was learning what the catalyst is that starts it all as a leader. What motivates a leader to do right things? Wise things? To serve well? To encourage others? Pray? Etc.
The process started about 18 months ago when we realized in our business that people really aren’t buying products. They’re really buying the experience that they believed the product or service could provide. So, just selling them a product, without caring about their experience was bad business. Then God unveiled the importance of this same principle being applied in a place where my heart, soul, and spirit were deeply committed to being the best “servant leader” possible…my church.
It All Starts With Care
We recently had an elder board retreat with our pastor and 7 of my best friends that serve on the board with me. Whenever we get together, it is the sweetest spirit of prayer, discernment, big decision-making, vision casting, and fellowship, with needs revealed and problems solved. It is a special time! On this particular time together, we used sticky notes (we each had a pad) to dig down and uncover a consensus of how we were to best serve the body of our church. What does it mean to be an elder? How can we best honor God with our highest and best in this role (for us and future leaders)? We prayed and with worship music playing the process unfolded. It was amazing how we started with each of us putting down all the things we thought were important, then they were grouped for common things amongst us, and then we ranked them in order of importance and cause & effect. A great discussion was had. We narrowed it down to about 9 things after combining some similar roles. Among them were prayer, encourager, shepherd, leader, ….(I don’t have them all in front of me at the moment), but guess which one rose to the top over all the others. CARE. Our consensus was that none of the other tasks and roles of leading would ever happen if our servant leadership didn’t begin with CARE. We wouldn’t follow thru with commitments to pray, encourage, etc if we didn’t really CARE. It was amazing and we left that time together all on board with our role to serve the body, knowing that the passion within us to CARE for the church body would drive the success of all the others. God brought clarity and a sense of mission to a bunch of successful businessmen, husbands, and entrepreneurs. We have never been more united.
Caring is a Catalyst
During this same season of my life, our business has exploded with growth. This is during a season where many businesses are suffering their worst times ever due to the recession in our country. The economy has not been favorable to so many! This explosive growth actually happened before we could put our finger on exactly why. We asked ourselves, what are we doing differently now that has caused this kind of exponential growth? And I’m not talking about just a splash, but consistent, sustained growth over an extended period of time. We’re still selling the same product produced and manufactured by the same great company. The research that backs up the medical and health viability of the product has been present for a while. The economy is still in recovery, but we are booming…WHY?
It actually became very clear when we looked more closely. People were creating a community to ensure that they cared for the customer. It was no longer just about the “sale” but it was about making sure that the customer had the experience they desired. We had a great tool for them to use (product), but it had to be used properly, consistently, and it had to help them actually achieve results. Whether you label it results or experience doesn’t matter. The customer was willing to make the purchase because it made sense, but they wouldn’t become your advocate and “life” customer without the results they desired.
A Lesson in Listening
This reminds me of the time I built a deck at our mountain cabins. It was my first time doing this from scratch. I had the tools (or bought the ones I needed) but it took a lot of YouTube viewing, and trial and error, to become a deck builder. I was at the stage of almost celebrating completion. I was tired and ready to be done, but I needed to drill one more hole through a post that was wider than the length of my drill bit. One more hole for the last bolt and I was done! Off to the hardware store to buy a longer drill bit. My experience was quite frustrating, but very educational. The salesman showed me drill bits made from every metal component known to man. He told me why each was better than the other and worth the price. I left the first mega do it yourself store without a purchase. I went to the small hardware store. He asked me what I needed help with. I restated that I needed a hole for this bolt thru this size wood. He quickly brought me ONE drill bit that was perfect. I bought it, went back to my cabins, made the hole, installed the bolt, and deck finished! Mission accomplished – celebration and rest next.
A Caring Community
We discovered the same in our business. People want to be healthy, just like I wanted to build my deck. But they need to be cared for one simple step at a time. For example, let’s make that first “hole” and get good nutrition into your body. Then because we CARE about your goal of being healthy there’s another step. It is going to take making some simple changes – one step at a time – to get it done. How can we foster that process? We saw the power of, and demand for, a community to be a part of that shared our mission and wanted to share in the journey. This is where the power of social media takes us to another level. In today’s crazy world of information and communication overload (email, phone, text, post, tweets, pins, insta___, and more), what’s the solution? It’s gathering like minded individuals into private communities of accountability, knowledge, education, encouragement, etc. where the desired results were cultivated, achieved and celebrated.
We not only figured it out, but we now have a duplicatable model to teach that is working from Gen Y to the Baby Boomers. As Jabez requested of God to expand his territory/borders…God has truly delivered to our church and my business a clear and vivid way in which we are to do that. And it starts with CARE!
When you are dealing with people, you need a MISSION DRIVEN SYSTEM that, at it’s core, enables you to truly be a servant leader.
God is so good to teach us like a loving father. Be wise and listen well!
Do you CARE enough to succeed?