There are some interesting perspectives floating around out in the business world. Things get rolled out in fresh ways, packaged up and presented in break-out sessions at conventions and such. Lots of it is good, some of it is drivel.
I’d like to take two principles from a Master Teacher and give a quick overview. Over the next few posts we’ll chunk them down a bit deeper. These two principles, pursued with whole-hearted commitment, will change the world. They are principles. Principles work every time. This will work. Your team, organization, life will improve.
#1. You must love. Love is required.
#2. You must serve. Serve others by doing.
Yea, yea, I get it Craig. I heard you say it. I say it once in a while too. Roll with me on this for a few minutes. I think you bring needed perspective to the conversation. So, please, read on…
It’s understandably difficult to bring a biblically principled outline to a business conversation. In this case, we are talking about things taught by Jesus. He’s controversial. I get that. But his teaching created a revolution that changed the world. It changed culture. So I’m not going to sugar coat or water it down. I’ll say it like he said it with the belief that when his teaching is lived out, culture is changed for the better. When it is compromised, things get worse.
Unpacking the two lessons
It is important to understand the context these two principles come from. What was going on during that time, during that very day? Without the context, these principles are over-simplified and cliché. With context, their meaning can be understood and applied.
#1. Love God / Love your neighbor.
Overview & context: Jesus was highly controversial (still is). His teaching can fly in the face of the most well intentioned religious thinkers. It did that day, for sure. On the day he taught this particular principle is was being questioned by a group of particularly elite religious thinkers. They were incredibly picky about the details and nuances of Law. Knowing the law inside and out, and wanting to rid the community of this controversial teacher, they came up with a wild scenario involving complex understanding of the law so as to trick him, discredit him, in the hopes that his notoriety would wane. His answer not only unveiled their trickery but also revealed his depth of understanding of the very law they geek’d- out about.
He gave an honest and accurate answer. They looked silly for having asked the question in the first place.
Word quickly made it’s way to the top Jewish leaders. Still wanting to silence this radical Jesus, they got together their top thinkers and came up with the best question they could come up with, hoping he would answer it incorrectly and they would have fodder to turn the public against him. He would be gone and out of their hair.
So they sent in their top lawyer to ask this simple question: Teacher – what is the greatest commandment in the Law?
Jesus replied; Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it; Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hand on these two commandments.
I can’t make you believe in God, let alone love Him the way Jesus was telling these fellas to love. The context that day was Jesus addressing the religious leaders of the most religious community in the world – they wanted to talk about God. He was important to them.
For you, perhaps this is still a place of unclaimed territory or maybe your faith is progressing nicely. I don’t know.
But Jesus offered a 2-part answer so that all of us can connect to what He was saying. He was saying to those who don’t understand what it means to Love God with that kind of commitment, you can at least understand this: Love your neighbor as yourself. The religious types and the not-so-much all understand the principle.
In the business context, that means we figure out what it means to love. To love the customer who comes in the door. The guy to your left and the gal to your right (your teammate) – we learn what it means to love them like we love ourselves.
Principle #1 that will change a culture: You must love. Love is required.
#2. The Golden Rule.
Overview: The teaching context is from the famous Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 – 7). The verse in context is from Mt. 7:12 and reads this way; So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.
The GR was a popular idea back then. Jesus was introducing a radical new idea. He was simply talking about a common idea but restating it in a positive light. The Golden Rule. It was a social norm and embraced by most all society. Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism…they all taught it. Greek and Roman culture taught it too. The difference was that it was (and still is) taught in negative form. What goes around comes around. If you don’t want something done to you, don’t do it to others. Jesus spun it around to give it clarity and get us focused. DO for others what you want done for you. He concluded that, in so doing, we would be fulfilling the undergirding principles needed for society (culture) to function well.
Focus on what must be done. Focus on others. What do they need from us? What does our customer from us? What does the guy on your left and the gal on your right (your teammate) need from us?
Do it. Do it well. Do it with excellence. Do it with principles. Do it, believing that it will change their world in a positive way. Do it with patience and faith. Do it knowing it may take time for them to understand why you’re doing it. Do it if they say thank you. Do it if they don’t say thank you. Do it because you know it matters. Do it because you’d want it done that way for you and that is enough.
Principle #2 that will change a culture: You must serve. Serve others by doing.
In both of these principle centered teachings Jesus was talking to smart people. They did not disagree with him. They simply knew that if the world got ahold of how freeing his teaching was it would negate their oppressive grip on the community and folks would be free to live without the constraints of an unsustainable and chaotic social order. So they killed him. How’d that work out?
You’re a smart person. You know that Love and Servant hearted leadership are necessary. We need to unpack this more. It must come out of the cliché and become central to our focus.
As we unpack this, in the business context, I am asking myself:
- What’s it like to be one of our customers? Do they experience these principles in the practical outputs of my team and organization?
- What’s it like for the guy on my left and the gal on my right (my teammates)? Do they experience the practical outputs of these principles in my life, in my office, in our organization?
If you think I’m proposing that we huddle for Kumbya each mornig…c’mon! Not saying that. I’m talking about building every possible execution of the organization around the principles that change a culture.
We’re talking about principle centered, culture changing leadership and commitment. We’re talking about changing the world.
There are two versions of the golden rule floating around. They both work. The other one says Whoever has the gold makes the rules.
I say that version sucks pond water. I don’t want to work for a team where that rule reigns. I’m going with the original.
Let’s chat about this. Please leave some thoughts below.