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Facts of the Matter

A weekly letter of encouragement and challenge to business and professional men and women
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Dear Colleagues,

SEVEN CREATIVE TENSIONS BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONALS FACE IN THE MARKET PLACE (Part #2) 1

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Tension 2: Love and the Competitive Drive :

“In many markets, my increase in share is another’s loss. My contract or product introduction depends on getting there before the other person, whose own welfare declines as a result. In fact, many managers believe that the only way to motivate business victory is to promote an enemy attitude rather than feelings of benevolence.” 2

So, how do Christian business leaders who are admonished to love their neighbors as themselves and turn the other cheek, deal with the bloodthirsty ambition necessary to reach the top? Many who were interviewed by Laura Nash (“Believers in Business”) “ asserted that if that is what it takes to compete, they’d rather fail. Several were cited for their notable lack of shark like qualities” such as Raytheon’s Tom Phillips, as described by Allan Emery:

“He’s not a self-promoter…He’s a modest, humble, competent man. He’s gotten where he has through performance rather than through politics.” 3 (See Matt. 5:38-42; Lk. 10:29-37; Rom. 13:10; 15:2; Gal. 6:10)

Senior Chicago executive Jack Feldballe’s dilemma and resolution, “ I know what the legal obligation is, but what’s the ethical obligation from my set of ethics…We believe God works in a providential manner and is not at a distance. There is a sovereign God, so you have no choice but to be ethical.” Feldballe determined to go beyond his self-interest and take into account his competitors’ interests and welfare in terms of what was right for them and their business. 4 (See Phil. 2:3, 4; Gal. 5:15, 26; Jms. 3:14 – 16)

According to Ken Wessner, former chairman of Service Master, “ Here are two realities. One finger is the secular, rationalistic approach to the world, the other is Christian. One is orientated on self-interested motives. The other is oriented on love and service to God. You’re either here or there. You can’t be in both places. And depending on where you are, you approach things differently.” 5 Service Master’s statement of business philosophy is: (1) “to honor God,” (2) ”to help people develop,” (3) “to pursue excellence,” and (4) “to grow profitably.” 6

CONCLUSION : Aren’t the bottom line questions, (1) Who really owns the business, you or God? And (2), who truly is your provider, you or God? If God is the answer to these two questions, the pressure is off. As Peter Drucker stated, “You lose the anxiety of ownership and take on the responsibility of stewardship.”

This week may you experience His grace, peace, and protection.

R. Dwight Hill

1In this series, we will be drawing heavily from Dr. Laura Nash’s book, Believers in Business,”Thomas Nelson, Publishers 1982 2Ibid. 87,3Ibid p 113, 4Ibid, pgs 88 – 90, 5Ibid p 93, 6Ibid p 103 –

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