So Who Is Your REAL Boss ?

 “ But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:14-16

     If I were to ask you who your boss is what would you say?  You might say well I report to the CEO or the Owner of the Company.  Another might say, I AM the CEO, I don’t have a boss! Others still might say I report to my Board of Directors or my customers are my bosses.

     From a functional or temporal viewpoint, those answers may be very valid. Most of us serve under some sort of temporal authority.  However, I would submit to you if you are a Christian Business Executive that your REAL Boss is The Lord Jesus Christ.   In truth HE owns your business and He has equipped you and appointed you to be an executive in the business where you serve.

     Understanding who your true boss is will be very critical to the decisions you will make at work.   Sometimes your temporal boss might ask you to do something that is in obvious conflict with the commandments of your Heavenly Boss.  When that happens, who are you going to obey?  You are appointed by God but still under the temporal authority of your human boss. 

     So what will you tell your business boss if he or she asks you to do something you know is unethical, immoral, illegal or in conflict with the stated values of your company? The world is full of companies where even Christian business executives just bow down and do what they are told. When this happens they are proving that they fear man more than they fear God.

     What about the situations where you believe your Company should make a particular decision. For example, you believe your Company needs to make a certain acquisition. You have run the numbers backwards and forwards and In fact you have even stopped to pray about that decision. You then recommend the GO decision to your temporal boss.  Subsequently, He or she says “no we don’t want to do that.”  What do you do or say then? 

     I might recommend that you go back to God, lift up the situation again and get a firm confirmation of what you think God is asking you to do. Then and only then go back to your boss and say, “Joe, I know we have had this discussion previously, but I have thought this through thoroughly and I also feel like God does want us to  make this acquisition.”  Then what do you do if your boss or board of directors still says, “No we don’t want to do this”? 

     At that point, you really have a difficult decision to make! If the decision is not a life or death situation, you may choose to abide by your bosses decision (submit to their authority as your temporal boss) even though you think it is wrong.  In really critical decisions, however, you may decide that you can no longer work in a company that makes decisions based on mammon or greed.

     There are no black and white answers here, but the operational question is still the same. Who is your REAL boss, and are you prepared to give up a big sale, or a prestigious and well paying job if you can not abide by your bosses’ final decision? There may be times when following God will result in a large earthly sacrifice.  I suppose our decision will finally depend on whether we are looking short term or eternally.  In essence, are we more concerned about hearing the applause of man or the applause of God? The who is your real boss may be a question that we might want to decide before an actual dilemma comes up.

Let’s Talk About It…………..

  1.  Have you had a recent decision where a decision that your boss made clashed with what you knew was the right thing or God honoring thing to do? Please describe?
  2.  Why do we often fail to push back on a temporal authority in the business world when we know what they are demanding is the wrong thing to do?
  3.  Have you seen God honor you for making the right decision even when there was a short term cost to you in doing so? 

Authored By: Lane A. Kramer, Founder & President, The CEO Institute, a marketplace ministry based in Dallas, TX,

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How Are You Investing Your Life

How Are You Investing Your Life ?
By Lane Kramer, President, The CEO Institute
Over the last 20 years I have been around some very successful CEO’s from a purely business standpoint. Some of these people have taken a very modest amount of capital and have grown companies to a considerable size, and then sold them for many millions of dollars . Several of these individuals have been able to employ several hundred people over time and lead very large companies. However, I wonder if these business indicators alone mean that they have truly been successful in life?

The answer to that question of course depends on how a person defines success. How do you define success for your life ? Do you measure success by how many dollars you earn, how big your company grows, or perhaps through a more relational approach like the quality of your relationships with God, friends and family members.

The answer to that question for me is determined by whether I am fulfilling my God given purpose and doing the things that God wants me to do in my business, my family, worship community, circle of friends, the marketplace as a whole and the Dallas community.

One way I measure success is through the lens of an investor

. Every day I have to determine where to invest my time, talents, treasure, relational capital and physical energy. These are all gifts from God that He has entrusted to me. The investment choices of how and where to deploy them are not always easy!

For example, do I spend more time at The CEO Institute “after hours” trying to grow my client base or do I spend that same hour at home having dinner with my wife. Do I spend some regular time on Sunday afternoon talking with my Mother or do I spend the time reviewing investment research in The Wall Street Journal? Do I ride my bicycle on Sunday morning or do I invest that time worshipping at Church and attending Sunday School? Do I participate in a prison ministry event, or do I play in the Member Guest Tournament at Royal Oaks ? Decisions, decisions!

All investors try to maximize their return on investment of capital. That is what I am trying to do in my life as a whole. I know that one day God will review my life with me and ask me for an accounting of how I invested the gifts that He gave to me. So as a Steward of those gifts, and not the Owner, I have to think about how would The Master (THE Owner) have me invest what He has entrusted to me? While we should primarily seek to be a good Steward/ Investor because we love God and want to serve Him, God also understands our human nature as our Creator. He knows we all want to be recognized and rewarded for being good investors! The Bible makes it clear that God will reward us for our faithfulness in investing/ stewarding His gifts both in this life and in Heaven.

So if I want to do a check up on myself and see if I am being a good investor of my life what will I look at? What will HE look at? First, I will look at the quality of my relationships with God and other people. Am I putting Christ first in my life? Am I spending time with Him on a daily basis asking for direction, wisdom, strength, provision and yes forgiveness when I mess up? Can I honestly show Him that He is number one in my life? The proof of whether or not I really value/ love/ obey Him comes in how I treat my wife and daughter, other family members, friends, Church Members, customers, vendors and yes even my post man, my most valuable business vendor!

Secondly, the proof is also born out by looking at my checkbook and seeing where I am investing/ spending His money. Am I constantly looking for ways to invest His capital in His Kingdom as He puts opportunities in my path to help other people ? Am I also saving an appropriate amount of money to help pay the future expenses at a time in my life when I can no longer work? Am I making prudent financial investment decisions so that I will eventually have money to leave to my children’s children as it says to do in the Bible.
Third, I have to look at my calendar. How many hours did I spend at work? Was it the number I believe that God wanted me to invest at work that particular day or week ? Am I allowing God to be the CEO of my business and use it for His purposes or is it just a personal play toy that I use to earn a living to be spent on myself ? Did I spend appropriate time with God in daily quiet time, developing my relationship first with my family members and then with friends, serving others in the community to help them improve their life in some way, exercising to keep my body healthy and enjoying some recreational activities?

The choice of how we are investing our lives is ours alone. We can’t pass the buck some day and tell God The Devil made me do it! I don’t know about you but when I take my last breath and stand before God, I surely want Him to say to me “Well done good and faithful investor of the life I gave you, enter into my Heavenly Kingdom and enjoy eternal rest in the place that I have prepared for you!

So if you have not taken some time lately to consider how you are investing your life, I would urge you to spend a morning away from the office and do a careful review of your life investment decisions. You may discover that a reallocation of life resources is in order and if so, you will be glad you did. Happy Life Investing !!

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The Gain Ain’t Worth The Pain !

The Gain Ain’t Worth The Pain ! By
Lane Kramer, President, The CEO Institute

As I look back over the news headlines the last two years, there seems to be a recurring pattern happening with many top business leaders and sports figures- a hearty fall from a place of privilege, wealth and notoriety to a place of public disgrace and ridicule !

Whether it be the senior officers of HSBC Bank who apparently had a hand in manipulating the LIBOR rate, Allen Stanford the investment firm CEO in Houston, the senior investment officer at Warren Buffett’s company who recommended an investment to Berkshire Hathaway that he personally owned or most recently the Executive Leadership of Penn State University who covered up for Jerry Sandusky, all of them have either lost their financial fortunes, positions as leaders, respect from the business public and or their personal freedom because of really BAD decisions they made. When they made these BAD decisions, they probably believed that they could “get away with it” and they would not be found out!

If I could interview each of these leaders now that they have experienced extreme loss, I would ask them if the perceived and or real gain from their actions was worth the price they have paid, are paying or will pay in the future ? I think in most cases they would now probably admit that they made horrible mistakes and that if they had a “do over” many of them probably would choose a different course of action.

As business leaders, we have a tendency to believe that we can do anything we want to do in our Companies because it’s MY Company. Au contraire! A CEO who is a Christian should know better that it isn’t really their company that they are running. It’s God’s company that He has temporarily lent to you to Steward for Him for a brief period of time. He will one day ask all of us for an accounting of what we did with what HE gave us!

So now that we know the question on the final exam, how can we prepare ahead of time to give a good accounting for our stewardship. Let me give you some helpful suggestions that I think may help keep us on the right track.

1. Would you be willing to open up every part of your business operation including your accounting records and let The Lord Jesus Christ examine every document, process, procedure? Could you give Him a clear explanation of every detail of your operation that would hold up under the White Glove Test of The Holy Spirit ?
2. Would you be willing to let your spouse and friends look at your calendar the last ninety days to see where you have gone, who you have met with and then examine your recent IPhone calls to see who you have been talking to on the telephone?
3. Would you be willing to let your Pastor and friends at Church look at the websites that you have been visiting on both your business and personal computers?
4. Do you have anybody in your life to whom you are accountable for both your professional and personal actions? Your true friends will be willing to help hold you accountable!

If you could give a resounding YES to all four of these questions, then you are probably in pretty good shape with the Lord and your critical constituents. If not, then it’s time to “fess up,” repent(turn away) from your wrong conduct and make restitution to anybody you have wronged before you suffer a tremendous fall. Most of the time people will forgive you if they really believe that you are coming clean with them and are prepared to alter your wrong thinking and wrong actions!

Remember the verse in the book of Nahum in the Bible that reads, “ Your sin will find you out!” The business and sports leaders mentioned in the first paragraph apparently did not believe this Scripture. But in every case, they were found out!

So before you go for the perceived “gain” the wrong way, consider whether it’s really worth the PAIN that you are ultimately going to experience.

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