Wearing God on Your Sleeve When Doing Business
Why this can hurt your business and Christ’s witness
By Eddie Velez
Ever since the movie, The Passion of the Christ, it’s been in style to be a Christian. It has a nice ring to it… it makes you look better… and quite frankly, many believe it can help them in business. Now don’t get me wrong, being a Christian in business should help you – if you are doing business with Christian ethics. However, wearing God on your sleeve when doing business may hurt your business and your witness.
It’s sad to say that today there are too many CHINO’s (Christian In Name Only) who will say “AMEN!” to your face and cheat you on a deal. This has happened too often that when one says they are a Christian in a business deal, people become leery. Why? The impression is that you want them to lower their guard, believing you should be trusted immediately; hence the red-alerts go off in spades! Me, as a Christian, have experienced this and have become more cautious when one makes the claim up front.
You see, my belief (and I would be willing to bet that most people – Christians included) is that you should not advertise with your words, but rather with your actions. Trust needs to be earned! You should not HAVE to tell me you’re a Christian, I should be able to see you’re different. I should see a fair price, high-quality service and products, a genuinely caring and respectful demeanor, and an honest deal.
However, since we live in a fallen world, even Christians can be tempted to justify morally unacceptable behavior and sacrifice character when faced with a diminishing bottom line. I can honestly say I am not perfect and have done so in the past, only to regret it and have to make amends. And it was a two-fold regret: regret that I did something wrong and now it will hurt my business, and the regret of hurting my witness.
When you tell a prospect you’re a Christian, you just raised the bar so high, since our Savior is perfect! In doing so, you have placed yourself in a position of having to deliver the very best, lest you hurt the Gospel and your reputation.
So live your Christian faith, give honest and high-quality service, provide the best product you can possibly provide and don’t make the bottom line the decision maker of where quality and honesty ends, and excuses begin. In doing so, you will shine a refreshing light that will illuminate those around you and give you the opportunity to say, “Why yes, I AM a Christian. Would you like to know why?” And now’s your moment to shine.
Eddie Velez is a 20-year marketing and PR professional, web and graphic designer, and blogger. His blog, The Ruminations of Eddie Velez, can be found at http://www.eddievelez.net/blog-2.
Your Company is a Picture of You
You cannot separate the company from the owner!
By Eddie Velez
Mark Gungor of Laugh Your Way to a Better Marriage, says that men’s brains are compartmentalized by boxes. There’s the box for work, the box for hobbies, the family box, marriage box and the men’s all-time favorite… the nothing box. The most important part is that men do not let any box touch the other. They open the appropriate box when they need it and close it when they’re done. Sounds convenient; but if you own a business, your company is a picture of you and you cannot separate the company from the owner. Here we have a conundrum of the boxes!
The old saying of, “…it’s just business; nothing personal…” is just a copout to justify doing things one knows to be either unethical or immoral. Then they go home to their families and feel like the good Daddy or Mommy, and husband or wife, because it’s a different box!
To think that everything is not connected is naïve. Character matters. Too many people have bought into the world view that the ends justify the means. But think about it; if you cheated your way to success, or found legal loop holes that would protect your business practices, while not providing the very best service or product to the public – what does that say about you?
Let me use a radical extreme. Let’s say you know that the owner of Wannabe Productions, Inc. was a known child molester, a sex offender. Would you accept the argument that his personal life does not affect the choices he makes in business? Would you accept that a person who shows no regard for human life and innocence would treat his customers’ needs altruistically and honestly?
If a company uses shady tactics, the cheapest materials to cut cost regardless of quality or safety, or lust to attract customers – what does that say about the people making the decisions regarding what and how services are being delivered? What comfort level would the public have that if there were an issue, the right thing would be done to rectify it? And the right thing does not always mean the most legally convenient!
I submit if business owners went back to the way business used to be, competing on value, quality and customer service – never compromising their beliefs for a dollar – that a business like that would attract loyal customers and blossom. Look at Apple. They take great pains to make the entire experience and product be the most convenient and best it could be. Can anyone argue it’s not working?
However, the final and most important point is this: running your business as you would run your life, marriage and friendship associations (not giving everyone a discount, freebies and bypassing rules and regulations), with the honesty, integrity and caring shown in other areas of your life – would create a brand that will be known for trustworthiness. And trust is one of your most valuable assets; lose it at your own peril! I believe the result would not only be a better company, where employees would reflect the character of the leadership; but when you look in the mirror, you will be proud of what you see and created.
Life’s not fair and decisions have consequences. This truism affects all of us. However, we can choose to react to a situation and use it as justification that won’t hold water when it’s all over, or you can choose to act instead. You can choose to think of what’s more profitable at the moment or what would be the right thing. I submit to you that the right thing is always more profitable, because as The Master asked over 2,000 years ago, “What does it profit a man to gain the world, only to forfeit his soul?” The right thing will earn rewards, be shared with others and be the best public-relations campaign you can ever create.
Finally, I return to character. In the words of the late Jim Rohn (public speaker and business philosopher, and former Chairman of the National Speaker’s Association), “The most important thing is not what you are getting, but who are you becoming.” Well said, Jim.
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