I was reflecting on these four years at The Other 6 Days and the many people, companies, businesses, best practices, and habits that are characteristic of highly effective workplace Christians. Here are five recurring trademarks of such people based on my observations:
First, they restore when others have made mistakes. While each of us must hold ourselves and others accountable to strong standards, highly effective workplace Christians use the workplace mistakes of others as teaching moments, turning them into opportunities to help others improve themselves for the next such situation. It’s easier to bark- and more natural to scream or lose patience in such instances- but those who are effective seek restoration, not revenge or punishment in such moments.
Second, they remember the small stuff. I took my son to Great Clips recently for a haircut. He gave them his name and they provided specific information about who cut his hair on his last visit, how they cut his hair at that time, its length, etc., and asked him if that is how he wanted it this time. I was bowled over and impressed by their knowledge of him! They had simply yet carefully taken notes. Highly effective workplace Christians remember the small things. They make a note or record of them, thus showing interest in others as opposed to treating others as “another number.” People will remember you for the small things you do for them.
Third, they reinvent themselves regularly. It is a message addressed regularly in these past four years. As I compose this devotional, I am in McDonald’s writing from my laptop. From 1979-2010, I could have counted on my two hands the number of times I visited any McDonald’s anywhere. Now, I frequent them about twice a week, consistently. Why? They have significantly upgraded their facilities, sell good coffee products relatively cheaply, have flat screens and upscale furnishings…and the food isn’t all bad either! They have won me back by reinventing their image. Highly effective workplace Christians do the same, refusing to get stuck in the same old sedentary ruts. It is true that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but many are working in environments that haven’t worked in years.
Next, they rid themselves of unneeded baggage. They are laser-focused and willing to jettison anything that is bogging down productivity and maximum effectiveness. Even Jonah’s contemporaries understood this concept…and Jonah got tossed overboard as a result! But he was extra baggage that came with great liability, so they got rid of him. Starbucks went through a purging a few years ago, removing some of their food items and sandwiches from their menu. They stick fairly closely to coffee. Why not? If you can sell a cup of coffee for $4.00, why fiddle with food? They don’t, and their strategy seems to be working very well! Highly effective Christians stay laser-focused, on mission, and are too wise to get off in the weeds of distraction or being “all over the place.”
Finally, they represent well. They speak highly of their organizations when they talk. But they speak highly of their organizations by the way they don’t talk; in the way they carry themselves in the community and contexts they are in. They validate the claims of their faith over and over again every day at work in how they steward and manage themselves. Their personal lives do the same. They are a tribute to their companies. People trust them, look highly upon them, and want to interact and engage them in commerce, business and life. When you are attractive, spiritually speaking, it bodes very well for you in the business/work world.
Juxtapose these characteristics of highly effective workplace Christians with your life and work. Do you measure up? If so, praise God! Is their one area or more you need to work on? Solomon said, “Give instruction to a wise man and he will be wiser still…” (Prov. 9:9) So think on these habits and be wiser, more effective still as you labor for the Lord.