"Write the vision and make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it", (Habakkuk 2:2) Christian business owners move daily in a world where many are motivated by greed and fear while they attempt to struggle with the principles of supply and demand. The world today exercises biblical principles every day but perhaps unknowingly by following the words of this verse. The instructions from that passage plainly state the necessity of a vision and the importance of writing it down.
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Many Christians wrestle with the clash of values as soon as they arrive to work. Since church and state have been officially divided there is noted resistance in mixing religion with business however, today in the face of a work environment that lacks ethical behavior the question is raised to reconsider this controversial issue. Now more than ever the implementation of Christian values and beliefs to a company's vision statement is important.
Identifying and communicating a clear vision is one of the most important functions to perform. Creating a clear and effective vision delivers many benefits to the business. A clear vision helps to define the values of the company and its employees. A strong vision also will lead to increased productivity within the organization.
Unfortunately, today unethical behavior in the business world is often times the norm. Now more than ever the need to incorporate Christian principles in the vision statement of companies is not a choice, but necessary. Many worldly companies unknowingly have loosely placed Christian values in their company's plans and mission statements but fail to exercise their actions. It is imperative for a leader to have a clear vision for their companies and develop a strong and strategic plan to increase the possibilities of accomplishing organizational objective. A vision is basically an idea of what the future of a business or organization may look like, and is a combination of three basic elements. It must first describe the organization's fundamental reason for existing beyond the hope of financial profit. In addition, it should consist of timeless and unchanging core values, as well as, a big picture of what the future should look like. The vision of a company defines who and what the business is about, why it exists, and where it is going.
The question has to be asked before beginning, what does a good vision for a company look like? It should possess the following:
1. Clearly identifies the direction and purpose of the company
2. Builds loyalty through employee involvement
3. Sets standards of excellence that reflect high ideals and a sense of integrity.
4. Should be persuasive and believable
5. Inspire enthusiasm in the company and encourages employee commitment
6. Needs to be well articulated and easily understood
7. Should fit with the unique culture and values of the business
8. Reflect the company's unique strength
There is one universal rule of planning the vision and that is "you will never be greater than the vision that guides you". Upon preparing a vision it is foolish not to consider the employees who will be bringing it from paper to life.
The leader must examine their capabilities, aspirations and performance to create a plan that allows them to stretch and grow in addition to considering the primary goal of the company.
It is important to remember that core values cannot be forced on individuals. Core values should define the business and what it stands for. In order to identify the core values of the business, consider the ideals and values held dear. If from the onset the goal is to incorporate Christian principles in the business, clearly define how they must be applied.
Christian businesses should stand out automatically so one of the primary goals should include being an example in the field of choice. If Christian principles are applied, then there should be a definite distinction that would set you apart from businesses of the world.
Another important thought would be to make objective and wise decisions. It is important to consider all issues before making a rash decision. This is just plain business sense and most businesses operate under this ideal.
The one particular act that my set the Christian company apart from many would be the driving motivation to show outstanding personal and corporate integrity. Many companies have pretty words describing the exact same thing, however, in the midst of the company there are unspoken deals, thievery and deception occurring on a daily basis.
In all that is done, it is important to demonstrate fairness, care and accountability. There was a time when every company offered a guarantee and stood behind their product. Many times today there is no warranty or if there is the time period is extremely short or there is a need for additional money to assure the product the customer has already paid for works.
A Christian company should always base their business on biblical principles. Throughout the Bible there are basic instructions on the behavior that is not just acceptable but commanded of a Christian. Throughout the Scriptures it teaches people to love everyone and to treat others fairly. In fact, this is considered the second most important commandment.
If a business chooses to announce to the world that it is a Christian business, then it is imperative to base business dealings on that foundation.
Extensive research has revealed that a great majority of successful businesses possess the common denominator of a devotion to ethical and spiritual principles. There is a basic principle in the Bible that simply states whatever is reaped is what has been sown. This basically states that following Godly principles by showing love and concern for others will bring about positive results.
Another principle in the Bible is to follow the example of Jesus and become a servant. A Christian business must be ready to serve the public. It should be a definite decision to consider the level of customer service that will be offered. There appears to be a serious decline in the delivery of excellent customer service. A Christian company must consider the way it deals with the customer. Many times it is simply the absence of common courtesy that separates good customer service from bad.
Sometimes when making the decision to live and work by Christian principles can be an isolating experience. It's not always popular in the world today to rule your actions by Christian guidelines. In spite of the opposition it is important to remember that in all you do, most likely the view of your actions will be closely considered. Because of this before implementing any action within the company consider if your actions can be justified by man and more importantly, before God.
Many times there is the temptation that no one may ever know about something that is done in the dark because there will always be opportunities that will be tempting to sacrifice Christian principles. This is especially true when dealing with contracts and legal documents. Even though it's possible to hide many things in "legal jargon", it is said that whatever is done in the dark will come to light and consider the reputation the company would have in this case.
When forming the vision, many people often create a Mission Statement. In fact it is highly recommended that this should be done. Once the goal is clearly defined a leader must be able to articulate the vision in short, concise statements. Many companies require their employees to memorize the Mission Statement, as well as have it displayed throughout the building to remind the workers what the company stands for. Also, a customer can tell from this one statement what the business stands for.
When creating a Mission Statement, the following should be remembered:
1. Include the fundamental beliefs of the company.
2. Should be future oriented and must portray the company as it will be.
3. The statement must focus on one common purpose.
4. This statement must not be a generalized statement but specific to the organization.
5. It is imperative to express the thoughts in a short statement that is not longer than one or two sentences.
When developing the vision that is based on Christian principles, it is important to steer clear of tradition. Many times it is required to do something that doesn't follow tradition. In these cases it is imperative to remember that outside of tradition doesn't mean outside of God's law; the action must line up with Scripture.
When creating a vision there must not be a fear of being ridiculed. Many times being a Christian and doing what is taught to be the right thing could bring on ridicule. It is important to remember to stay focused and concentrate on the goal.
Another negative to consider avoiding would be short-term thinking. When faced with a decision don't get caught up in "putting out the fire at hand" but think of how the decision will affect the company in the future.
Most company will operate based on a vision created by the leader. Management should have a clear picture of what they expect from employees and what they should strive for according to the plan. It is often this vision that defines the organization's reason for existing. The vision normally begins with a set of strong personal core values representative of the owner.
If an owner chooses to base his business on Christian values the best tool to utilize is the Bible. It is full of scriptures to support the business owner's stand to act according to the word of God.
Nehemiah had plans before he successfully built the wall in record times, as quoted earlier we are instructed to write the vision and make it plain. In addition, it is asked what person doesn't sit down and consider the cost of a venture, in other words it is consistent throughout the word that a Christian should have a plan.
The world has operated on this Christian principle for years and as a result many companies end up taking a place in the impressive Fortune 500 group. Major corporations implement Christian values but disguise it with words.
While some may feel uncomfortable with the mixing of faith and business, others appreciate the opportunity to conduct business with a group of people who aspire to not only put the words on paper but, actually strive to meet higher standards. It is refreshing to know that a customer's satisfaction means something to a company.
Sometimes conducting business as a Christian may mean a loss of profit but it's at these time owners know as long as the right thing is done according to God's law, something else somewhere will balance that loss.
In conclusion Isaiah 32:8 says it well, "But a noble man makes noble plans, and by noble deeds he stands".
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