I have had the privilege of being the CEO of Charis Bible College since January of 2020 (you know, two months before the world momentarily shut down due to the pandemic.) Charis Bible College is a school that focuses on educating and equipping people for their unique ministry. As I reflect, I realize that I have learned more lessons than I could’ve imagined during my time at Charis. I am confident that they translate to both ‘secular’ and non-secular roles alike. So, I wanted to share them with you. Here are the top three things I’ve learned during my time in C-suite leadership.
1.Good People Are Everything
I am a firm believer that God does most of His work through relationships. Being a CEO is a big job, and I quickly learned that people don’t work FOR you—they work WITH you. In any realm of leadership, learning how to ask for feedback is important. When you surround yourself with good people, they naturally help you problem solve and offer suggestions that you’d never think about on your own. More often than not, I’ve found that someone’s EQ (emotional intelligence) is far more valuable than their IQ. So one of the best things I can do is surround myself with relationally smart people.
A great joy of my previous role as a pastor and my current role as a CEO is seeing the Body of Christ at work. Romans 12:4-5 says, “For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.” So when you learn how to honor and create space for people as a CEO, you get the privilege of seeing people flourish in their God-given design.
2.You Have to Know How to Work in Your Downline
A downline is essentially all of the employees that work ‘under’ you in an organization. At Charis, 687 employees technically report up to me. As you can imagine, it’s impossible to sit around a table and hear from each of them. However, I genuinely want to know how they’re feeling and experiencing their jobs on a daily basis, so I’ve had to develop a rhythm of gathering feedback. Some of the most valuable moments I’ve had as a CEO have come from the times I’ve intentionally gone to our various departments and talked to employees.
I’ve learned to come with my questions and to adopt the posture of a listener. This is important for two reasons: one, you may quickly realize that there’s a more efficient way to complete a task or procedure. Two, you may find out that the culture you want to exist in your company hasn’t actually taken root. Just because you want something to take place in your organization doesn’t mean that it will. That takes me to my final point…
3.Communication is Key
In my role at Charis, I quickly learned that I had to be clear on the direction I provided. You can’t expect people to read your mind, so over-explaining is far better than under-explaining. Therefore, it is important to set expectations written and verbally. Then, have the people receiving the direction repeat it back to you. Having an internal communication strategy enhances the quality of work and employee experience, as well as monetary gains. Quantified Communications, a business communications advisory firm, found that businesses with approximately 100 employees spend on average 17 hours a week clarifying unclear messages. They noted that this translates to a cost of roughly $525,000 in lost productivity annually.
Learning to communicate well with a large number of people is simple, but it’s not easy. I’ve quite literally had to train my brain to think through what’s important, the results I actually want, and how to relay those messages to the proper people. Only then can we all be aligned toward a common goal, and that alignment is a powerful thing.
Are you interested in how you can implement Biblical truth into your position of leadership to impact the world at a greater capacity? Then, I encourage you to check out the Kingdom Business Summit June 16-18, 2021, at Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado. I’m really excited about all of the teaching that’s about to occur! You can learn more HERE.