Imagine a remote island never touched by civilization. Its primitive populace possesses limited livestock and subsists on ineffective agriculture and inept fishing. Violence and brutality are common; tribal warfare and disease shorten life expectancy.
Now imagine being parachuted onto this island. Let’s stipulate that the natives venerate you as a god-from-the-sky, feed you and care for you. How do you start improving their lives?
It would be good to get them clean drinking water. However, neither PVC piping nor filtration material is available. If they had boats from which to fish and sharp steel hooks they’d catch more fish, but there are no tools and no steel.
You could teach them to keep disease at bay by washing with soap and reduce malaria by spraying for mosquitoes, but unfortunately, neither soap nor insecticides are available. You could increase productivity by teaching them about specialization and barter. You might even be able to introduce the idea of currency and capital accumulation but in order to do so you’d first have to get them on the same moral page so they would trust each other.
Imagine how frustrating it would be for you, with all your knowledge of wonderful 21st century solutions, to visit an 11th century society and be utterly incapable of implementing any improvement. With none of the early building blocks of technological development, no tools or raw material, no cultural cohesion, no common morality, and no institutional structures, all your knowledge of the benefits of civilization is practically useless.
Now, imagine if you could paint a compelling picture of what island life could ultimately become. You could get the entire island working together towards that common vision. You could set up many different teams, each focused on advancing one area of need. Progress would follow as expertise increases.
As an effective leader, you should not be digging wells or carving fish hooks. Instead, you should be projecting a picture of bright possibilities onto the hearts of your people. You should have the larger picture in mind, assemble effective teams and delegate responsibilities. Understanding the enterprise’s destiny lets you overcome challenges and setbacks.
This is exactly what King David and King Solomon did to build their empires, and because the goals differed, the type of team that each assembled was unique.
David, building a political and militarily capable commonwealth, selected his team and governing cabinet in this order: (1) Supreme commander of the army (2) Chiefs of staff (3) The taxing authority (4) Chief civil administrator (5) Scribes (6) Priests (II Samuel 20:23-26)
His son, Solomon on the other hand, inherited a stable and secure country and intended to develop it spiritually and intellectually. Not surprisingly scribes and priests now get mentioned earlier in the process of assembling the team indicating their relative importance.
(1) Priests (2) Scribes (3) Chief civil administrator (4) Supreme commander of the army (5) Additional priests (6) Provincial administrators. (7)The taxing authority (I Kings 4:2-6)
The lesson is clear. Great things are achieved by having clear goals, inspiring others, organizing correctly and directing teams to carry out the details. You could view your own business potential as parachuting onto that island. Do you dissipate your energies with ineffective attempts to solve short-term problems and frantically put out fires? Or, do you focus your efforts on knowing your unique vision, inspiring others, and empowering a team of individuals with suitable talent and experience to unleash their skills and creativity?
Believe in the infinite capacity of other human beings created in the image of an infinite God. Carefully understand your needs and then invite others into your team. Incentivize them, inspire them, guide them and supervise them, but don’t smother them. Their capacity to create will astound you.
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This week’s Susan’s Musings: ATVs, Guns and Ballots
My husband and I always have fun and learn something new when we spend time with our friends, David and Cheryl Barton (www.wallbuilders.com ). The time we shared a few weeks ago was no exception. They graciously introduced us to their friends, Pastor Tim and Terri Brooks who had invited my husband to address the annual Biblical conference they host. While the highlight of our trip to Arkansas for my husband was meeting hundreds of excited and exciting participants, I have to admit to being a bit more self-centered.
One afternoon, the Brooks invited us to their ranch…READ MORE
Read the most recent Ask the Rabbi question and answer here
My question is about a good friend of mine, who works as a housecleaner, whom I respect and love.
When she is servicing the families that have hired her for cleaning, sometimes these families give her used things that don’t need any more. I consider this normal, but…
READ the rest of the question and Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin’s ANSWER HERE