If I had this sage advice 11-years ago, I would have avoided making huge mistakes. In the beginning of the millennium I was asked to step out of my comfort zone and reconstruct a segment of an existing business. This was foreign because I had spent most of my leadership tenure starting a new venture from scratch or expanding an existing operation. Reconstruction was a beast I new little about.
The school of hard knocks put me through the ringer, and hindsight is certainly 20-20. I made a huge mistake in reconstructing the business. In the effort to retool, I searched for skills, not character. I worked on the minutia, not protection of profits and reputation. I tried to get over it, not allow it to heal. I tried to do it all by myself, not find the right leaders & workers to take over. I was the only one emotionally invested, and for the wrong reasons.
If you are a business owner, business leader, employee in transition, or human resources director maybe you can relate. The profit and loss statement shows a degenerating trend and the morale of the organization has been lousy for a long time. Your customers have noticed a difference too and they no longer bless you with the loyalty you need to keep the cash flowing. Your employees depend on you righting the ship. Your investors rely on more than stabilization; they require growth. As you are under water, you struggle to see a clear path to reconstruct your once-great company.
If Jesus could be resurrected in three days, He certainly has the power to help you reconstruct your business. Our God is big enough to do what seems impossible, even on Main Street. He demonstrated this power through the resurrection of Christ and the rebuilding of Jerusalem under the leadership of Nehemiah. It is in the first five chapters of the book of Nehemiah where God lays out a plan for reconstruction that you can use in your business today. Nehemiah’s approach included working on the foundational items first, finding the right leader to support the mission, empowering the staff to build, reordering the organization chart, and filling the new chart with the right mix of seniority and character.
Like Nehemiah, we would be best served to focus on foundational principles first. We must strategically plan by revisiting our core beliefs, restating or recreating our mission and vision and partnering with key customers. These activities form the nucleus of the business and the purpose for its existence. Once we understand purpose, we can start building the staff.
If we follow Nehemiah’s example, our staffing must start with a leader that will help keep the team on mission. Therefore, this leader, like Nehemiah’s brother Hanani, must be selected on character traits rather than demonstrated skill. Hanani is picked as commander because he is faithful and fearful of God; not because he is stronger, bigger, or faster than anyone else that could stand guard. These character traits are essential in reinforcing purpose of the company. With this purpose in mind, the required skills can be taught. And as Hanani was soon to find out, delegation would be a skill to perfect immediately.
After the leader is selected, the focus shifts to delegation and execution. The leaders must reiterate the purpose, identify those most emotionally invested, and empower them to execute the mission. In Nehemiah’s example, he found success through empowerment of the local townspeople. These people understood the local culture, could identify the enemy, and had a vested interest in the city’s success. Likewise, as we reconstruct our businesses, we should be relying heavily on those most loyal and most heavily invested to get the company going back in the right direction.
Finally, after the wheels of commerce start to spin again, you can retool the organization chart. Here, as with Nehemiah, we want to fill the chart with leaders that have been loyal to the company and have historic perspective. This historic perspective helps protect the company from repeating its mistakes. One way to do this is to find those shining stars that left the company as it was losing its way and put them in leadership positions. With a little support and reinforcement of the mission, these returning leaders can help you grow to new levels.
As you reconstruct your business, I challenge you to examine the reasons the organization lost its way. I challenge you to see if the soul of the company was lost because you and the other leaders in the company lost sight of Christ and His purpose for your business. I challenge you to identify those that need the grace of our Lord in their lives. This rebuilding process can have a profound impact on those in the company. Your company and its new direction can bear witness to the transformational power of Christ through the Holy Spirit. The new peace and purpose of your company may be the reason someone receives the healing power of the resurrected Lord.