When we start we proclaim “We will do it differently”. We are fair and just. We don’t live in the corporate glass tower. In my business there will be no “they”.
The small business engine starts up and we begin operating on our own or with an employee or two.
In the beginning, with the picture of the corporate monster in our heads, we state:
- I have Christian values. Now no one can intimidate me from following them.
- I care about my employees. I will never skip their performance reviews or drag out giving raises.
- I am in the trenches with my team. I know what’s going on and can really support them.
Are We Any Different Than The Evil Corporations?
Our hearts truly want to be different.
Yet, reality sets in.
We are switching hats faster than a teenager can text.
I am in the trenches alright. I can’t stop long enough to do that performance review. I don’t have time to find out about your prospecting… I am following up on my own.
Soon we have a bad apple attitude problem in our barrel and it is spreading like a cancer.
The Conflict Avoider Speaks Up
Soon we here ourselves saying “I hate conflict. I’m not good at it. I know I need to deal with this problem, but if we don’t close these deals we will all have bigger problems than a past due raise.”
And so goes the story….time and time again.
It keeps happening even though it isn’t what we want to happen.
In the quiet of the night we call out to God. “I thought this was your plan for me? This was your vision Lord!”
I so desperately want to get on my high horse and say “stop it now before it’s too late!”
But the truth is that I too have fallen into the trap. I have been here.
I have been so busy that I forgot to follow-up with a client or call back in a timely manner.
I have asked forgiveness for a late performance review, but given myself grace because I was putting in so many hours.
I have ignored employees to the point that they were actually unproductive because they didn’t have enough direction.
It Really Is Hard to Keep Our Values First
The reality is that it takes incredible discipline, lot’s of prayer, and divine guidance to really make our own business actually live up to the values and culture we believed in when we started it all.
But, I can also say from experience, that when I really dug deep and basically forced myself to do the things I knew were important, they worked. It can be done. Here is the quick start:
- We have to start now wherever we are in the process. I know. You are saying I have no idea where your business is and how difficult it would be to stop the merry go round of hat changing. If you keep going the way you are though, we do know for sure that 9 out of 10 small businesses don’t make it. Things never change unless you make them change.
- Pick your top 3 principles and make them top priority. The bible tells us to treat others as we would want to be treated. Pick this one principle and you will be living out your Christian values in your business. You won’t miss a performance review and you will make time to help your employees no matter what.
- Make a 3 month plan. Doing #2 will either require more of your time or one of the hats will be left sitting on the hat rack. A mentor once told me we can sustain almost anything for a set period of time. Working an extra ten hours a week to get these principles in place can be sustained for awhile- maybe 90 days. Keeping at your current hat changing pace forever will only occur until you burnout or your business closes. We have to choose!
We Have To Change The Current Path
I know this feels harsh. And I wish I could say it is a one-time experience. For me it is a process that has to be revisited every few years. Things will get on track and suddenly old patterns re-emerge. But I believe wholeheartedly that the path can be changed. Even during the chaos. And, having experienced the burnout from staying on the wrong path too long, I am praying I can help someone not have to experience it.
If your own business, the one you took great risk for, doesn’t even match your values or the culture you envisioned, you won’t be able to sustain it. It becomes even more draining than the hard work.
The Bible is the Truth
I believe that the bible has the answers. And, therefore, I trust that if we follow it, we will bear fruit. Whether that fruit is actual improved business performance or peace knowing that you are following your values, I am not sure. But I know from experience that when I have followed my human nature ways, the results were short-lived, exhausting, ineffective or a hundred other adjectives that do not follow eternal thinking.
When I have followed God’s ways, I have had peace, harmony, improved relationships and feel as if my business glorifies God, or at least tries to every day. To me I see success!
Keep The Vision if it’s a God Vision
I read once that when we have a God vision, the vision shouldn’t change, but the plans can.
Modify Your Plans
Modify your plans. Go back to God and ask Him how you can achieve it.
I know you are working hard. That’s obvious or you wouldn’t struggle putting your foundation of Christian values and your culture in place. But the trajectory of business operations will always pull you away from what Stephen Covey calls Quadrant II activities (important/not urgent). Yet, it is these very activities that build success.
What is important to you? Do you remember? I know you think it can wait, but the longer you wait the harder it will be.