Show Some Spirit

Is there room in your business for a few unworldly concerns?
Magazine Contributor
3 min read

This story appears in the March 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Few people have impacted our understanding of how to manage business more than Ken Blanchard, co-author of 20 bestselling books, including The One Minute Manager (Berkley Publishing). On his latest, Leadership by the Book: Tools to Transform Your Workplace (William Morrow), he teams up with Pastor Bill Hybels and Phil Hodges of the Center for "FaithWalk" Leadership to address spiritual values in business.

Define "spirituality" for business.

The biggest problem in business today is the human ego, which pushes God out and puts you in the center. Spirituality recognizes that there's something more important than you, something more loving than you, a higher power that can give people a peace they don't have when they think life is all about proving themselves.

How would this translate to different business practices?

The big question I ask my audiences now is, are you a servant or a self-serving leader? Too many companies are set up so the sheep are there for the benefit of the shepherd. Everyone feathers his or her own nest. If people are spiritually grounded, they'll ask how they can provide help and they'll be open to feedback.

It's one thing to talk about how we should be, but how can we actually integrate spirituality into the rough and tumble of trying to do business?

The most important habit is solitude, quiet time. People who enter their day by taking 45 minutes or an hour for themselves--meditation, prayer, inspirational reading, taking a walk--before they go for it in the real world do best. Research has shown those who take care of themselves first are better listeners and can be with others in a more constructive way.

You point out that everyone wanted some of Jesus' time, but he always took time for himself first.

I was also fascinated with the fact that he fasted, and I've been doing that for a day and a half per week, not to lose weight, but to get in touch with my senses. You start seeing the connection between spirituality and care for the body. Another thing is that Jesus fellowshipped with those close to him. Entrepreneurs need a kitchen cabinet where they can get candid feedback from others who care but don't have a vested interest in what they're doing.

What are some other key lessons from your book?

Bosses need to wander around and see if they can catch workers doing things right. Too many entrepreneurs are seagull managers: They hear something's wrong, so they fly in, make a lot of noise, crap on everybody and fly away.

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