Here are four mistakes that can destroy any organization, including a church.
1) When you think that profits are more important than people.
This mentality will destroy morale faster than anything I know. The bottom line becomes the company line and the driving force of the organization becomes: “Everything we do better make money.” When you trample people in the mad dash for cash, don’t be surprised when you stumble in the stampede of dissatisfied customers who take their business someplace else.
2) When you think protecting is more important than risking.
“Let’s keep what we’ve got.” “We’re doing great, let’s not blow it.” Karl Wallenda, the world-renowned tightrope walker, died because all he could focus on was “not falling.” And he fell.
3) When you think talking is more important than listening.
“Our customers need to hear what we have to say.” Several years ago, Paine-Webber employed an advertising campaign emphasizing their ability to listen to their clients’ needs and to custom-design an investment package for each one. You may remember the ads: “How did your broker know you wanted to retire early?” “He asked.” They were selling the idea their people listen.
Compare the success of that campaign with E.F. Hutton. Everyone remembers: “When E.F Hutton talks, people listen.” Investors, however, weren’t impressed and E.F. Hutton went out of business. Paine-Webber realized investors want to invest in a company with a reputation for listening rather than one with a reputation for talking.
4) When you think a person’s contribution is more important than their character.
How many organizations, businesses, even churches have been destroyed by talented people who lacked character and integrity? When you start thinking what a person does is more important than who a person is, you’re in trouble. Watch out for people who say, “My private life has nothing to do with my public life,” even if they’ve somehow been able to fool a bunch of folks and hijack the highest office in the land.
When you start thinking what a person does is more important than who a person is, you’re in trouble.
Back in December of 1998, MSNBC news analyst, Jay Severin wrote, “Here’s a message to the two thirds of you who are untroubled by (what is happening today). Just wait until you and all of us, are hit by the awful hangover this party of stupidity is sure to deliver. Bill Clinton disgraces us and thrives. Ken Starr serves and is condemned. Maxine Waters and Barney Frank are setting the agenda? This is not the America I recognize. It is the O.J./Clinton America. And I, for one, do not pledge allegiance to it.”
Severin’s words were prophetic and so are these: If we don’t pay attention to our business, no one else will either. We need to make sure we have the right priorities, the right plan, the right perspective and the right people. Those four principles will do more to improve your organization than anything else.
Here’s something else to remember. Keep asking yourself two questions:
(1) What business are we in? and …
(2) How’s business?
If you do that regularly and enthusiastically, my guess would be …
… business will always be good at your place.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.