Over the last two months I have had an opportunity to experience the best and worst companies. I was in Mayo Clinic and Brooks Rehab for 2 weeks and experienced two of the best patient or customer centered cultures.
I have also experienced 5 companies with a customer focus so bad that I don’t know how they stay in business. In today’s world of company’s call centers with untrained workers, cheating on emission standards, sloppy manufacturing resulting in massive auto recalls, etc we cannot all have the opportunity to work for one of the best customer and employee focused companies. What are we to do?
I believe the answer is for each of us to work “as for the Lord rather than for men” (A) and consider ourselves to be entrepreneurs. The dictionary definition is: “Entrepreneur- a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.” (B)
I believe any person can consider themselves to be an “enterprise“ or entrepreneur wherever they work, even within a large company without any direct reports. As I have thought about this I think of my father who was an entrepreneur with great vision. His education stopped at the 8th grade and he would not have recognized the word. However, he taught my brother and me to be entrepreneurs by his example. Our (my brothers and my) 3 children are entrepreneur’s by my definition and my 2 adult granddaughter’s are exhibiting these same tendencies.
What does it look like to be an entrepreneur who works “as for the Lord rather than for men”. The steps below could be a part of that picture:
- Recognize that work is noble and ordained by God. (C) Imagine the joy of Adam and Eve working in the Garden of Eden. That all changed when Adam and Eve sinned. (D) (E) Paul said “if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat,” (J) Work continued to be noble after the fall, but became hard. Work is important; Adam and Eve worked. Jacob and Joseph worked. So did Ruth, David, Daniel, Jonah, Martha, Priscilla and Aquila, Paul — and most people in the Old and New Testaments.
- Treat your customers (all you interact with in your job) and employees (if any) with great respect, dignity, integrity and help meet their needs. Exceed expectations!
- Work hard! You are working to support your family’s needs and help meet the needs of those impacted by your work. My parents ran a small dairy farm and milked 30 cows 2 times a day 365 days a year for over 25 years. That is over 18,250 times one or both of my parents milked the cows. Both did not get to take a sick day at the same time. Yet I never heard them grumble or complain.
- Be prepared for constant change even if it involves some risk. Today change is occurring at breakneck speed. Be ready. My parents sold their small farm in 1945 to get their sons in a better school. They farmed cotton the first year on the new farm and then begin to grow a small herd of dairy cows. At first they sold the milk to residents of Union, Miss but then they gained access to electricity and begin selling in bulk to a coop in 1949. Change occurred as more investment in equipment and cows was needed and droughts occurred.
- Develop your skills and the skills of those around you. Never stop learning. My brother and I fulfilled our parent’s vision to graduate from college and we are still learning today.
- Be a problem solver rather than getting angry or trying to shift blame for undesirable results. (F)
- Be happy, productive and thankful no matter how menial your position and how long it lasts. Joseph was in Egypt for 13 years as a slave or a prisoner before being promoted to number two in the kingdom. Five times in Genesis 39-40 the bible says “The Lord was with Joseph” as he was a slave and prisoner. In 1964 I was 67th out of 67 in seniority at my division at TVA. That meant I was assigned the worst jobs. God used this time to help me finish a Masters Degree at UT Knoxville and then a new job in Jacksonville, Fl. My parents milked those cows 2 times a day for over 25 years.
J- 2 Thessalonians 3:10
Henry Luke May 27, 2016 Revised 11/30/2016
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