As a Christian business leader, you understand the importance of being a good steward of God’s resources, including your company. Yet amidst the pressure of daily meetings, reviewing reports, and interacting with staff, sometimes it’s hard to keep a pulse on the big picture.
Successful stewardship requires looking ahead, because we know that one day, we will be called to give an account.
“For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved – even though only as one escaping through the flames.”
–1 Corinthians 3:11-15
Here are seven ways Christian CEOs can meet the challenge of successful stewardship:
1. Cast vision and reinforce values
Your team should always be clear about three vital components of your business:
- Mission – This is why the company exists. At its core, what is your organization’s main purpose?
- Vision – Where is your company going? What are your goals?
- Values – How will you conduct business along the way
Find ways to keep your mission, vision, and values in front of your team. In addition to having copies posted throughout your workplace, engage employees in conversations about mission, vision, and values in staff meetings.
As CEO, you also are called on to set the tone of your company’s culture. Model caring and compassionate relationships so others are served and Christ is honored.
2. Plan strategically
A vital step in an effective strategic planning process is to first be open and honest about the realities impacting the business – both positive and negative. Conduct a SWOT analysis to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
Do you need to redeploy assets and resources or retool your products and services to maximize returns and meet your goals? Always understand your strategic plan and consider it the blueprint that will help you build a firm foundation.
3. Focus on robust good health (RGH)
Identify the metrics that define robust good health for your industry and then regularly monitor them. Educate your team about metrics measurement and hold them accountable for performance. Determine if you can access data that will let you benchmark your organization’s performance against other companies of similar size within your industry.
How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity! –Psalm 133:1
4. Sell to your largest prospective customers and clients
While you want to rely on your sales team to do their job, realize that sometimes it takes the CEO to close a large deal. Assess opportunities with your sales team, and then determine which potential customers might have a significant impact on your bottom line. These prospects will appreciate attention from the top. However, don’t get drawn into routine sales opportunities.
5. Hire great people
A vital question to ask yourself when making a hiring decision is, “Will this hire help us get to where we want to be in three to five years?” Hire people who have strengths that complement your weaknesses. Put your ego aside, and don’t let it block you from hiring people who can do certain tasks better than you.
6. Invest in your direct reports
How you treat your direct reports sets the tone and model for the entire company.
- Encourage, recognize, inspire, and reward those who report to you and they will do the same.
- Help leaders and staff understand engaging with each other and pursuing company goals is more important than protecting departmental turf.
- Practice clear and constant communication with your team.
7. Manage retained earnings
These two key rules will help you avoid debt and maintain financial health:
- Boost cash reserves – Always make sure you have enough reserves for a healthy cash flow. Strong reserves also can protect you from the impact of economic downturns.
- The best source of capital – Your own retained earnings are your best source of capital. Bootstrapping may result in slower growth, but it reduces the risk that comes with heavily leveraged assets.
Like an archer who wounds everyone, So is he who hires a fool or who hires those who pass by.
Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.
Serving and Leading
It is important to remember as leaders we also are servants and must serve our employees well. The following will help to grow you as a strong servant leader:
- Remain humble, but firm.
- Keep well-informed.
- Be hands-on.
- Stay diligent with your work and team.
- Commit to your team and their needs.
- Be fair. Insist on shared high standards and adherence to core principles by all the team members, no matter their position.