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God Is My CEO

Many business leaders struggle with the dilemma of being successful and living a life of purpose. Often, their personal beliefs seem to conflict with the bottom-line demands of today’s business world. God Is My CEO offers a practical and inspirational source of guidance for achieving a meaningful and accomplished life.

God Is My CEO details the experiences of highly successful business leaders who have created impressive bottom-line results while upholding God’s principles, including:

  • Horst Schulze, CEO, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company
  • Ken Melrose, Chairman and CEO, The Toro Company
  • Robert O. Naegele, Jr., Former Chairman and Co-owner, Rollerblade
  • Al Quie, Former Governor, State of Minnesota
  • C. William Pollard, Chairman and CEO, The ServiceMaster Company

God Is My CEO will help you…

  • Develop your God-given talents and skills, while building a spiritual center
  • Focus your energies and thoughts on moving forward with a sense of purpose
  • Learn to apply a practical daily plan to overcome the toughest business issues
  • Gain ideas and encouragement through real-life stories of successful business leaders who have faced the same challenges

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Clash of Two Worlds

  • Issue: We are led by bottom-line pressures.
  • Solution: Let God lead.

Chapter 1: Purpose

  • Issue: How do I find meaning and purpose in my work?
  • Solution: Find God’s calling and find your purpose.
    • Story 1 Bill George, CEO, Medtronic
    • Story 2 C. William Pollard, Chairman and CEO, The ServiceMaster Company

Chapter 2: Success

  • Issue: How do I define success?
  • Solution: Expand your definition from making money to making a difference.
    • Story 3 Bob Buford, Founder, Leadership Network
    • Story 4 Jerry Colangelo, Owner, The Phoenix Suns and The Arizona Diamondbacks

Chapter 3: Courage

  • Issue: How do I do the right thing when I’m pressured to do otherwise?
  • Solution: Walk with God in courage.
    • Story 5 Al Quie, Former Governor, State of Minnesota
    • Story 6 Marilyn Carlson Nelson, Chairman and CEO, Carlson Companies

Chapter 4: Patience

  • Issue: How do I avoid becoming a slave to urgent, short-term pressure?
  • Solution: Develop patience to run a long distance race in a 100-yard dash world.
    • Story 7 Tony Dungy, Head Coach, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • Story 8 Archie Dunham, Chairman and CEO, Conoco Inc.

Chapter 5: Leadership by Example

  • Issue: How do I demonstrate my faith in a politically correct and diverse work environment?
  • Solution: Let who you are speak for what you believe.
    • Story 9 Jeffrey H. Coors, President and CEO, Graphic Packaging Corporation
    • Story 10 John D. Beckett, President, R.W. Beckett Corporation

Chapter 6: Yielding Control

  • Issue: How do I deal with circumstances that are beyond my control?
  • Solution: Do my part, and let God do His.
    • Story 11 Tad Piper, Chairman and CEO, Piper Jaffray Companies
    • Story 12 Jim Secord, President, Lakewood Publications

Chapter 7: Tough Decisions

  • Issue: What do I do when faced with choosing between a bad solution and a worse solution?
  • Solution: Seek God’s wisdom to turn a bad problem into a good solution.
    • Story 13 Linda Rios Brook, Former President & General Manager, KLGT-TV
    • Story 14 Brenda J. Scott, CEO, Mobile Convention and Visitors’ Corporation

Chapter 8: Servant Leadership

  • Issue: How do I attract, retain, and motivate good employees?
  • Solution: Serve employees so they can serve others.
    • Story 15 Jim Bergeson, Chairman and CEO, Colle & McVoy, Inc.
    • Story 16 Horst Schulze, CEO, The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company

Chapter 9: Integration

  • Issue: How do I balance employee needs with profit obligations?
  • Solution: Integrate people and profits into win-win solutions.
    • Story 17 Andrea Ritchie, President, Northwestern Travel Management
    • Story 18 Ken Melrose, Chairman and CEO, The Toro Company

Chapter 10: Priorities

  • Issue: How do I deal with burnout in the workplace?
  • Solution: Keep the important things important.
    • Story 19 S. Truett Cathy, Founder and Chairman, Chick-fil-A
    • Story 20 Robert O. Naegele Jr., Former Chairman and Co-owner, Rollerblade

Conclusion: A Message of Hope

Excerpt

Please enjoy this complimentary excerpt from God is My CEO: Following God’s Principles in a Bottom-Line World. This material is taken from Introduction – The Clash of Two Worlds.

“In my work as a management consultant, I find people in all positions, from CEOs to line employees, wrestling with challenging dilemmas and trying to make sense out of situations that have no simple solutions. These are talented people who want to make a difference, but who are stuck in a quagmire of urgent deadlines, unrealistic expectations, and politics.

“There are times when critical business decisions have no correct answer and can only be made with a leap of faith by the leader alone. The solution is to trust God’s principles, which will help us be effective and significant leaders in the midst of a pressured and demanding world.

“A ship that turns its direction by one degree will alter its course by hundreds of miles. In the same way, your trust in God will have a significant impact on the direction you’re headed. The more you trust, the more freedom you will gain from the shackles of the urgent, bottom-line pressures that enslave you. The more freedom you have, the more significant a leader you become.

“We usually want to do the right thing but often succumb to the short-term, bottom-line demands of daily business life. While we are encouraged to follow God on Sunday, we are not supported to make the right ethical decision in the trenches on Monday through Friday.

“This paradigm has demanded that we operate in two separate worlds: a deeply personal, private, spiritual world and a very public, demanding, competitive business world. For the most part, these two worlds clash in their values, beliefs, and principles, and we are caught in the middle.”

Business Principles versus God’s Principles

Unwritten Business Rules God’s Principles
Achieve results Serve a purpose
What can I get? How can I give?
Success = dollars Significance = people
Work to please people Work to please God
Fear of the unknown Living with hope
Leadership is being first Leadership is being last
Take charge; surrender means defeat Let go; surrender means victory
The end justifies the means. Get to the outcome regardless of how you accomplish it. The means justify the end. Do the right thing regardless of the outcome.
Short-term gain Long-term legacy
Slave to the urgent Freedom of choice
You can never produce enough Unconditional love

“We commonly view this dilemma as an internal struggle between right and wrong. We seem to be presented with a disturbing choice: either we embrace bottom-line success and turn from God, or we accept and live by God’s principles and suffer whatever negative business consequences come our way. We are challenged by questions like ‘Can I do what’s right and be successful in a competitive, bottom-line world?’ and ‘Can I be both ethical and profitable?’

“If you trust in God’s principles, have the courage to live them, and have the patience to wait on His timing, then I believe the answer to these questions is ‘Yes.” Biblical principles and bottom-line success are not opposites. Yes, you can do what’s right and be successful. Yes, you can be both ethical and profitable. And yes, you can honor God, serve others, and fulfill your professional obligations.”


The following God is My CEO excerpt is taken from Chapter 10 – Priorities: From burning out to rekindling your spirit.

“I was in downtown Minneapolis, racing between appointments. While typically a calm and collected person, I was in a foul mood on this day. I had just left a frustrating meeting and had 30 minutes to get to my next appointment. The pristine snow-covered streets had turned to April’s wet, muddy sidewalks. Watching my shoes get muddier made me more aggravated because I wanted to look good for my next appointment. Knowing that two shoeshine stands were located on the way to my next appointment, I quickly ran to the stand I preferred. It was convenient, provided fast service, and it was directly on my route. There was a wait, so I decided to head to the other shoeshine stand, about a block away.

“Thankfully, the second stand had no line. The shoeshine man sat in the big, comfortable chair eating his sandwich. As I raced up to the stand, the elderly man slowly rose to greet me. Neatly dressed in dark blue slacks and a navy shirt, the shirt’s emblem proudly displayed his name, Jake. Smiling, he glanced at my muddy shoes and said, “Man, you came to the right place. Hop up and let Jake take care of you.”

“Jumping into the chair, I began fuming as I recalled the meeting I had just left. I thought about my presentation, given to 10 surgeons from a prestigious medical practice. I had volunteered my services as a consultant/speaker to help teach these physicians the importance of showing respect for their patients. This was a personally significant assignment, as my recent back surgery had been performed by a member of this medical clinic. I felt I had been treated as a spine instead of as a person, and I had hoped to show them how to be more respectful of the patient and how to treat patients as customers.

“The meeting was a disaster. The surgeons became indignant, claiming, “We can’t afford to do that! Do you know what kind of pressure we are under? For us, time is money. Our caseload is already overloaded. We don’t have time to hand-hold every patient.”

“I had been working long hours under considerable pressure trying to grow my new business. Recalling the details of the meeting set off a chain reaction of negative thoughts: I get no appreciation for my efforts. I am behind in my work. I probably have to work late to prepare for my presentation tomorrow. I am tired. This day stinks! I caught myself going through my complaint list and snapped out of it.

“I glanced at Jake as he meticulously cleaned my shoes and made sure he had wiped away any trace of mud. I watched as he wrapped an old cloth tightly around two fingers and dipped them into black shoe polish. Using slow circular motions, he rubbed the polish deep into my shoes. I was mesmerized by the meticulous detail he used to shine my shoes. Each stroke began to transform my cold and tired feet into a comfortable and warm respite from the day. I found myself starting to relax.

“Without looking up from his meticulous work, Jake said, “Life sure is good, ain’t it?” I sarcastically replied, “That depends on your perspective.” Jake looked up and said, “I don’t know about you, but the good Lord has blessed me with a great 90 years.” I asked, “What’s the key to your success?” He smiled and said, “Appreciation. I appreciate everything the Lord has given me.” Jake went on to describe a life of poverty, struggles and hard times, yet his stories were filled with many blessings, including a job he loved and a loving family.

“His comments stopped me in my tracks. I thought about my meeting with the surgeons. They were upset about their time pressures, and they were clearly not at peace. Financially, they had everything they needed, yet they were stressed and complaining about their circumstances. I thought, These surgeons have a lot to be thankful for, yet don’t appreciate what they have. On the other hand, Jake has lived a tough life, has very little in the way of material possessions, but is truly filled with peace and joy.

“A seven-minute shoeshine transformed a bad day into a good day. My circumstances hadn’t changed, but my perspective had. For the first time in my life, I had understood what it meant to be joyful always and to give thanks in all circumstances. Quite frankly, I had never been able to put my arms around the concept of “being joyful always.” I thought, How can I be joyful when I am under such stress and feel so lousy? It was even more of a stretch when it came to “giving thanks in all circumstances.” I believed that it was one thing to muster up some joy, but to actually give thanks in all circumstances? Even the bad circumstances? That’s a stretch!” Jake helped me gain perspective on what’s important. He helped me see how God wastes nothing; He uses all circumstances for the good of those who love Him.”

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