by Henry Kaestner
We've come to know that the most important question that we need to be able to answer as Faith Driven Entrepreneurs is "Why?" Simon Sinek does, in my opinion, the best job of unpacking why this question is so important in leadership in his now famous Ted.com video, but he's not the only one. Clayton Christensen talks about "why"in his business writing at Harvard, and Jim Collins mentions that the Level 5 leader is able be about something greater than seeking his or her glory.
And yet, despite so much great secular research that unpacks how important it is that we, as leaders, talk about "why" we do what we do, Christ followers often do a lousy job of it. Why? Well, lots of reasons of course, but some are that we don't want to come across as exclusive, offensive, ignorant or naive.....all things that are rightly maligned by the marketplace, but lead us to a timidity and a seat on the wrong side of the secular/spiritual divide. The challenge is that not being able to talk about our "why" (which is presumably to know, honor and serve God) puts us at a disadvantage to other business leaders who can talk with passion, resolve and integrity about what their deepest "why" is...be it, to save the planet, redeem the food supply chain etc.
At Bandwidth, David and I often imperfectly talked about our "why," but nevertheless, we tried. It came across best, I think, in our foundational values of Faith, Family, Work and Fitness and our sharing of our own personal stories and motivation. Sometimes it came across when we asked someone in the midst of a trial if we could pray for them. I often would try to explain to others why I thought this worked for us even in front of an audience who largely didn't share our faith. I believe that the part in each of them which was created in the image of God (all of them) resonated with our "why" at some deep spiritual level. They came to know intuitively that our "why" which transcended the manufacture and distribution of widgets was of very real (if not eternal) significance. I think this was true, and yet it wasn't until lunch this Tuesday that I heard the verse that helped me to really understand why our employees resonated with our "why."
I serve on the Board of Directors of a great Christian School in San Jose called Valley Christian School. We are blessed to have Dr. Ed Silvoso as our Board Chaplain, and I was in turn, blessed to sit next to him at lunch when he mentioned Romans 8:19 to me, and it all clicked.
Romans 8:19 "For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed." NIV
And there I had it, the verse that brought it all together. God foretold the dynamic that David and I (and so many of you all) have come to understand is full of power. Our employees are waiting in eager anticipation to hear why we do what we do. When we share this message with gentleness and respect amazing things can happen in the lives of our employees and our company, and we all come that much closer to knowing, enjoying and glorifying our Father in Heaven.
Let's reveal our true identity (God's children) to our employees. They are eagerly awaiting. God's word declares it.