1. Pray and Trust. One veterinarian stated it this way. “We are on our knees a lot.” Their entire team of expats have a meal and pray together daily. Team life is protected and each member is challenged to grow as a person and in relationship to others, while totally depending on God for unity, wisdom and protection.
2. Learn and Love. A business owner with 22 employees stressed how important it is to love the people around you, always listening and caring while displaying attitudes of love for the people. This must be a natural part of life, not just something which you have to work hard to accomplish. Many stated repeatedly that “the citizens are always watching us…they see how we forgive and how we love.”
3. Respect and Honor. It is crucial to respect local customs, regulations and cultural icons. One transportation company vice president said, “it is important to pay attention to the Great Leader of the country.” National symbols such as statutes or prayer traditions must be accepted and respected. In short – follow the rules!
4. Bless the Nation and Create Value. It is important to meet real needs that are tangible and visible and easily identifiable. Veterinarians heal animals; businesses create jobs, physicians and physical therapists treat real people; chemistry professors create value for students; coaches for national sport teams seek to bring honor to the country; researchers produce reports useful for development progress. Just as God asked Abraham in ancient times to bless others, so too our goal is to bless the nation and its peoples.
5. Have Vision and End Goals. Everyone I recently met, and most others over the years have a clear understanding of why they are there. D has a vision for clean water for every family in his province; A wants everyone with autism to have access to treatment; J manufactures soy oil for sale to relief agencies feeding the starving; M wants to create a dozen more jobs; C operates a tour company and wants one hundred more tourists this year who can demonstrate that America is not bad and how a Jesus-follower lives.
The other day I was on my walk in Magnuson Park near our place in Seattle. The park has sizable wetlands and I have been enjoying seeing various kinds of ducks and geese in typical spring activities. There are ducks such as Buffleheads, Scaups, Grebes, Coots, Wigeons, Goldeneyes, and Mallards. And there is the Canada Goose, perhaps my favorite.
It is funny how the mind wanders when observing something like geese in the springtime. I got to thinking not so much about how humans choose their mates (there is plenty written on this) but on how business teams are selected. It seems that here too we still are learning about the most important qualities to look for in team formation and top level executives.
The March 2017 Entrepreneur cover story piqued my interest. Entitled, “Build the Perfect Team”, Paul English of Kayak fame asserts “…the key to success is the people I hire.” Later in the article he says, “The most important thing any entrepreneur can do is focus on the team.”
Most of us have read at least one book or article by Patrick Lencioni. While waiting for my flight recently in Chicago’s O’Hare airport, I stopped to read part of his most recent book, The Ideal Team Player.1 Lencioni boils the decision down to three qualities: Humble, Hungry and Smart.
Humble. C.S. Lewis states, “humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” Not unlike Philippians 2:3 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Or “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2.
Veteran Kingdom entrepreneur Bill Job, says that the definition of Business as Mission is simple. It is “walking with God at work.” He tells the highest officials in his Asian country, “I don’t own this business…I am simply a steward for the owner.” The companies which have spun off from his parent company give evidence of the ability of Bill to find humble people and help them continue that even with success in business.
There is an adage which stages “…hire for character and train for skills.” There is a lot of truth to consider in that. Wild Bill Donovan who headed the OSS intelligence unit for the USA during World War II stated, “the most important qualification for our operatives is strength of character.” The OSS became the forerunner of the CIA.
Years ago, Samuel Johnson said, “Integrity without knowledge is weak and useless, but knowledge without integrity is dangerous and dreadful.” Warren Buffet says it this way: “In looking for people to hire, look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence and energy. But if they don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.”
Hungry. Lencioni means that he looks for employees that are self-motivated and diligent in their work. This is close to what Buffet calls energy. Hungry, means they have a strong work ethic, are determined to get things done and contribute any way they can, says Lencioni. He continues…people who are hungry, but not humble or smart can be called a Bull Dozer. They have lots of drive and ambition, but they can’t work with others. And they leave a trail of dead bodies around them. Know anybody like this? They are likely contributing to a dysfunctional team.
How about people who are humble and smart but not hungry? These people survive in organizations a long time. They mean well and people like them. They just don’t want to do that much work, they do just enough work to make it hard for you to do something about it. Hard workers get really frustrated by this person.
I have been around Not-For-Profits a long time and there are many people like this. Lencioni calls them lovable slackers. I once had a colleague who said, “I would rather keep trying to reign in a galloping horse, than try to kick a dead one into action.” I agree.
Smart. Lencioni is not talking about intellectual smarts but about common sense around people. Smart people are people who are good at practicing emotional intelligence. They know what they say to others and how it impacts them. Hiring for intellectual smarts is not a good idea.
I once had a staff member who had just read Daniel Goleman’s book on EQ. She came quietly into my office, shut the door and said, “John has an emotional intelligence of zero”. She was obviously frustrated with another employee who was really intellectually smart and experienced, but lacked common sense in working with people.
Lencioni goes on to define smart as one who generally understands what others are feeling during meetings and conversations. He/she shows empathy for others on the team, and demonstrates an interest in the lives of his/her teammates.
Whether these three virtues are called humble, hungry and smart, or something else, they are worth consideration in our pursuit of team players, top leaders and others partnering with us in business startups.
1 Lencioni, Patrick. The Ideal Team Player – How to Recognize and Cultivate the Three Essential Virtues, 2016
As a child growing up in Canada, the Cadbury Easter Eggs were a highlight every Easter. I loved the chocolate, but only later did I learn the real meaning of Easter and the history of how the Cadbury family came to dominate the Chocolate industry in Great Britain and the Commonwealth.
The egg is a symbol of new life and the Christian tradition seems to have adapted pagan customs as they utilized the egg metaphor to represent the resurrection of Jesus. Englishman John Cadbury was a follower of Jesus, and was driven by the values of the Quakers and the Temperance Society in England.
The Cadbury family had discovered the nutritious but bitter-testing cacao nib and set about the task of making a palatable chocolate drink as a solution to alcoholism as well as a source of satisfaction. As a Quaker, Cadbury was known for campaigns to end poverty and other social reforms in Victorian Britain.
Business as a social change agent
With the Dutch invention of a press for separating cocoa butter from the cocoa bean and the introduction of pure chocolate by the Cadbury brothers in 1866, an edible chocolate as we know it today became a reality. Cadbury is credited with the first Easter egg in 1875 and today 500 million Cadbury Crème Eggs are manufactured each year, with 1.2 million produced every 24 hours in its various plants. The multi-billion dollar company has over 70,000 employees in over 50 countries.
Despite several mergers, demergers and acquisitions, Cadbury has retained its identity and continues to have a strong corporate social responsibility (CSR) involvement with its commitment to environmental causes, strong human rights, employee values and integrity in corporate decisions.
But what of Easter? Early Quakers like John Cadbury understood the importance of the resurrection to followers of Jesus – and all humanity. They saw the resurrection of Jesus as a fact, and the importance of that fact in informing our belief that believers will themselves be raised from the dead to an eternal life with Jesus in heaven. In fact, all people will one day come before their Maker. For us Easter is more than eggs, more than Cadbury Chocolate, but it is at the heart of our faith.
As a reminder, Business as Mission (BAM) at its core has a Quadruple Bottom Line: 1) Profit and Sustainability, 2) Job Creation, 3) Followers of Jesus, 4) Stewardship of Resources. BAM takes into consideration, the human condition of poverty and pain with the creation of a profitable business which creates jobs, which in turn creates wealth (a Biblical value stated in Deut. 8:18). It links that with the goal of making followers of Jesus and with the importance of wise use of human and natural resources.
So how might that be innovative and how might it be disruptive?
Is BAM disruptive?Back to the question: Is Business as Mission disruptive innovation? BAM spokesperson Mats Tunehag likens Kingdom Business today to a 21st century reformation. The Protestant Reformation was disruptive in that it focused Jesus followers on simpler easier forms of faith – reading their own scriptures, the priesthood of individual believers and faith over works as the way of salvation, among other things.
- Business is returned to its rightful place as the only institution which creates wealth in society; it is not government, nor education, nor health care and not the church. All of these, as good and important as they are, consume wealth. Business creates it. And it is ordained by God.2
- Business is the modern means ordained by God to address the issue of poverty. It creates wealth through job creation and gives dignity, honor and empowerment to individuals, families and communities. Jesus gave the Great Commandment requiring believers to love God and love their neighbor. Today loving our neighbor is creating a job for him/her and this becomes the modern equivalent of feeding the five thousand, or healing the leper. BAM is what Jesus would do today.3
- Business and faith are easily integrated. Business leaders are together with people many hours each week so the principles of faith can be lived out in the marketplace of life. In most cultures, people learn by observing and doing and when it comes to knowing Jesus, one learns by observing a Jesus follower living and acting like Jesus in every life. Dale Losch in his book A Better Way talks about living and loving like Jesus.
- Whereas most of the 20th century became accustomed to outsourcing missional work to the professional clergy, Business as Mission is a reformation. It is the work of all believers in the workplace, not just the clergy, or those paid to be missional with their faith.
- BAM is innovative in that it is cost effective. It does not require an endless infusion of charity monies which often become toxic by creating dependency and destabilization. It addresses issues of declining mission funding, and “America first” perspective.
A replacement for the multi-trillion dollar aid industry and traditional professional mission groups?Today Business as Mission and related means such as Tentmaking 4 are disrupting the market. They have the potential (as the little guy at the bottom of the market) to replace the multi-trillion dollar aid industry, and make the traditional professional mission groups redundant in much of the world.
Business as Mission is making the product (Quadruple Bottom Line) simple, accessible, convenient and affordable. It is not just improving on what has been done in the past; it is disrupting things in modern times by returning to an old order of “faith without works is dead”, creating wealth and promoting dignified sustainability. In one sense it is an ancient idea; but because it has been largely lost, it may be considered innovative, and certainly disruptive.
If you have been following our weekly blogs over the past month, you have seen an overview of our new IBEC Ventures website and learned about our Clients, our Team and our Approach.
The last section we would like to draw your attention to is the BAM Videos Library featuring some of the leading Business As Mission practitioners and thought leaders as well as Kingdom business leaders. These include:
- IBEC-produced BAMtalks vignettes: 2-3 minute talks about key aspects of the BAM movement
- BAM and Kingdom business examples: videos about actual businesses operated on Kingdom principles for Kingdom purposes
- Perspectives on work and business: videos about faith in the workplace and business as an answer to poverty
- BAM overviews: in-depth discussions about Business As Mission
There are about 25 videos in all and we are confident that you will find them to be very helpful as you consider any possible role you might play in the BAM movement.Thank you for your interest in IBEC. Please let us know if you would like to be a part of what God is doing through IBEC Ventures.
IBEC Consultants Training and Resource Library
Seasoned IBEC Consulting Services leadership
Do you or someone you know have the makings of an IBEC consultant or SME?
In summary, as we step into IBEC’s 2nd decade of operations, we’re honored and excited to see how God has assembled an amazing team of BAM game changers and life changers!
Visibility on the internet: We’re beefing up our Search Engine Optimization and visibility on key partner websites - so people searching the internet for things related to Business As Mission can easily find us. As anyone working in this area of website development knows, this is no small challenge and is a work in progress!
Client-focused website: IBEC serves six general categories of clients and a single click from any page on the website takes visitors to information specific to each of them:
- Overseas Startups and Established Businesses - expatriates and nationals building community-impacting Business as a Mission (BAM) businesses
- North American Businesses Expanding Overseas - seeking to grow their business and the Kingdom
- Expatriate Employees - seeking to impact their communities while working overseas
- Faith-based NGOs and Agencies - seeking to equip workers to build Business As Mission (BAM) businesses
- Churches - activating business people to use their gifts for Kingdom building
- Colleges and Universities - equipping students to pursue Business As Mission
Seeing themselves, IBEC and their next steps
- Do you live in a country and a community that needs quality jobs, sustainable economic opportunities, and spiritual transformation?
- Are you considering starting a new business using a BAM model focused on the triple or quadruple bottom line? 1) Sustainable profit and wealth creation in the communities where they operate; 2) Jobs that provide income and dignity for employees; 3) Spiritual capital – followers of Christ; 4) Stewardship of God’s creation.
- Do you need help developing a Strategic Business Plan that integrates your vision to build the Kingdom while building a sustainable business?
For the past 10 years, IBEC has been serving businesses, organizations, and individuals seeking to make Business As Mission (BAM) and the quadruple bottom line a central part of their personal and organizational strategy for impacting the Kingdom of God. We are currently working on over 20 projects in areas like China, Africa, India, Thailand, and Nepal...and we would love to work with you as well. God is doing amazing things in some of the darkest places of the world through the creation of jobs. What a privilege and honor it is for us at IBEC to be a part of His team and we’d love to help you join us in this Kingdom adventure.
Take a look around the Clients area on our website. Find your door, open it, and call us if you’d like to connect!
These proud parent feelings surprised me recently when I visited the new IBEC home page and paused to reflect on what I was seeing. There, before me, was a beautiful new creation, “fearfully and wonderfully made”, albeit a website, not a divinely designed baby. Nonetheless, in it, I could see the prayerful preparation and months of hard work by the IBEC Leadership Team and our excellent graphics and website development team1. Being intimately familiar with the tremendous quality of information it provides, I could envision the lives it will impact. And this brought a smile to my face!
The new home page is centered around five key IBEC connection points:
- Our Clients: giving prospective clients a clear window into the types of organizations IBEC serves and the specific ways that we can address their individual needs
- Our Team: showcasing our amazing team of consultants and subject matter experts and the exceptional training and resources we equip them with through the brand new IBEC Consultants Training Program and Resource Library.
- Our Approach: sharing who we are as an organization – our services, our processes, our vision and values, our history, the countries where we serve, and our reputation in the BAM community.
- Our Blog: featuring this week’s latest blog and the wealth of Kingdom business expertise, ideas, and best practice sharing in our archive of over 130 IBEC blogs.
- Our BAM Video Library: highlighting Business As Mission and Kingdom Business practitioners in 26 videos designed to inform, inspire and help you see how you can be part of the global BAM movement.
Many times we are asked questions about where we work. Sometimes we cannot be specific due to client confidentiality, but basically the countries are in the northern half of Africa, and in South and East Asia. Nepal is one of those countries. It is a unique country but in many ways it is typical of the kinds of places where IBEC consultants work.
Demographics: The population of Nepal is about 30 million with the median age 23.6. The geographic area is about the size of the state of Arkansas. It is a beautiful place with about three-fourths of its terrain as mountainous with eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains along Nepal’s border.
Politics and Economics: While Nepal is a Federal Parliamentary Republic, it has struggled to move on from a Monarchy as recently as ten years ago and strong opposition from the Maoist party. The current constitution was adopted in November 2015. There are 122 political parties. The capital is Kathmandu.
The GDP per capita is $2500 (2016 est.) making it one of the least-developed and poorest nations. About one-fourth of the country’s population lives below the poverty line. Agriculture provides a livelihood for about 70% of the population. Unemployment is estimated to be 46%. The country is landlocked and has periodic tensions with its southern neighbor, India.
Ethnicity and Religion:There are many ethnic groups with the largest having about 17% of the population, the Chhettri. 81.3% consider themselves to be Hindu, and 9% Buddhist. Guatama Buddha is thought to have been born in Lumbini, Nepal.
- Develop profitable and sustainable business.
- Create jobs.
- Bring the love of Jesus.
Nepal is both unique and typical of the kinds of places served by IBEC Ventures. We count it a privilege to provide services to companies in this country.
2 Check out IBEC’s purpose, vision, values and story at http://ibecventures.com/about.html
- 5 tips for long term survival and success in high risk countries
- Patrick Lencioni’s 3 essential virtues of a team player
- Social enterprise, Cadbury chocolate Easter eggs and followers of Jesus
- Is Business as Mission disruptive innovation?
- IBEC's new BAM videos library
- IBEC's approach
- Our Team: Business as Mission game changers and life changers
- New doors for prospective IBEC clients
- Proud parents: introducing IBEC’s new website
- Focus on Nepal
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