2008-03-27

Bible for Business Seminar#8 Resources & Balanced Scorecards

We covered two key topics in the seminar: Resources
As Christians, we can draw upon the special resources provided by God. We covered Prov 3:1-14 showing God's vision for us and the strategies to realize the vision:

We covered the process of learning as given in 2 Tim 3:16-17 Judging Rightly
  1. Teaching-Doctrines: learn the truth and put into practice.
  2. Reproof - when practices, there could be error, point out the error.
  3. Correction - point out the right way to do.
  4. Training in Righteousness - build up the right quality standards of behavior & habits
Most people need training 1st before counseling. Or put in another way, so called counseling is actually very time consuming and effort wasting training - it is training one on one.

Strategy Map Driven Balanced Scorecards
We covered Strategy Map as the cause-effect business model of objectives across 4 or more perspectives. Each perspective is an earlier on view. Each objective must be related, with measures defined, and target set. When actual achievement is below the target, strategic initiative will then be undertaken to close the gap. Such method will ensures focus and alignment of resources and people toward achieving the corporate vision. Focus means saying NO to everything else. Alignment means unity in purpose and actions. We use a budget airline example to illustrate the drawing of the Strategy Map and the setting up of balanced scorecards.

The Unified Corporate Performance Management Framework.
The various management methodology is unified and illustrated with the strategy map below:

The Biblical Basis for BSC
  • Alignment – Concentrate All Energy towards Fruit not Leaves
    • The secret to fruitfulness is not adding more. It is pruning – channel the energy from growing leaves into growing fruit.
    • Every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (John 15:2)
  • Objective Driven
    • “…Run in such a way that you may win. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air” (1 Cor. 9:24, 26).
  • Continual
    • “…Let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Heb. 12:1).
  • Focused
    • “ but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 3:12-14)
The Gathering & Feedback
About 12 of us gathered together for the seminar. The overall rating is 90%. The highest scores of 96% go to Subject Area Coverage, Expectation Met, Knowledge of Speaker, Technical Level and the lowest score is the length of talk 70%. I am surprised by the high score on technical level as I was concerned whether the BSC topic is too in depth but the scoring put me at ease.

We have a good time of sharing after the talk. We spoke about 2 main aspect of Corporate Performance - The Method, such as BSC and The People. Highly passionate and motivated staff needs to know the method to channel their efforts to achieve excellence. Just having passion without the right methods will result in in fighting, activities without positive outcomes. Methods alone without passion will result in the achievement of minimum standards. Some other points are reflected in the feedback report below:

Like Best
  1. Strategy Map & Scorecards
  2. BSC
  3. Prov 3:1-4 Teachings - completeness + God vision + Strategies for us
  4. Less is more - 2 miracles in the Bible - Putting our faith in God + obey
  5. We are no greater than our belief.
  6. Scorecard
  7. Introduction of the strategy map & balanced scorecard. Learned new things. It gives a guideline to running a organisation, yet not confusing between the overall picture & profitability

Like Least
  1. Ending seems a bit hasty, probably due to the shortage of time.
Others
  1. Please give us the example of BSC
  2. May be can change the seminar title to Bible for Success so that more people can attend and benefit

2008-03-25

Business Equivalent of Biblical Terms

To apply Bible for business, we may need to translate the Biblical terms in business equivalent. For example, righteousness is a main Biblical term. It means right standing with God. It also means meeting up to God's standards. Hence, a business equivalent term for Righteousness could be Quality.

The other terms:

  1. Love = A type of Values, Relationship, Trust, Understanding, Passion.
  2. Faith = Execution, Work of Faith, Faith must result in action.
    (Jas 2:17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.)
  3. Hope = Vision
  4. Discipline = Monitoring Progress and Make Correction
Here are some additional explanation on applying the Beatitudes into Business....
The Beatitudes Mat 5
These values are reflected in James 3:17
  1. Poor in Spirit Mat 5:3 - Face up with the realities and know your needs. They will get Kingdom of Heaven=Wealth & Influence
  2. Mourn - or Compassionate & Empathy Mat 5:4 --> comforted
  3. Meek or Humility Mat 5:5 – Ever ready to learn – agile. --> inherit the earth
  4. Righteousness Mat 5:6 – Doing Things Right, Meet Standards – Quality. --> satisfied
  5. Merciful Mat 5:7 – kindness begets kindness
  6. Pure Mat 5:8. Singleness of Purpose. Ensure motive & practices are legal, ethical & above reproach. Keep things transparent and opened. --> See God (understand, in His presence and be honored)
  7. Peace-makers Mat 5:9. Try to resolve issues with customers, suppliers or staff amicably and to maintain good and close relationships. “War is the last resort” vs “Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?” 1Co 6:7 To have lawsuits at all with one another(believers) is already a defeat for you. --> Sons of God= Winners
  8. Willing to suffer loss for Righteousness Mat 5:10-12. Right Thing to do over Profits --> kingdom of Heaven = Influence & Wealth

2008-03-24

Voices - Reasons & Conscience & Sensuality

There are three voices that influence us when we make decisions.

One is the voice of reasons - our mind. The facts, the logics, the advantages vs disadvantages, the risks and the likely outcomes of various options.

The other is the voice of conscience - our heart. The values that we hold and the sense of right or wrong beyond the material and physical benefits of our reasoning.

The third is the voice of sensuality - our body. What will give us pleasure and make us feel good.... taste good, smell great, look good, etc.

The voices correspond to the tripartite nature of man --- spirit, soul, body.

When we have to make a choice, which voice do we listen to ?

Josh Billings has a famous quote "Reason often makes mistakes, but conscience never does."

It is common belief that the order should be Conscience over Reasons over Sensuality.

This is not to say that Sensuality is always wrong. There is nothing wrong but in fact it is good that we enjoy good food and sex (with the right party - your spouse). This order comes into play when there are conflict of interests.

e.g. smoking -

Sensuality says : Ok. It gives temporary pleasure. (for me, it does not. But for some, it does).
Voice of Reasons says: No. It is harmful to the body in the long run.
Voice of Conscience says: No. It is harmful to those around us.

So, the conclusion is no.

e.g. profiting by selling thermometer at price during high demand time of SARS day
Voice of Reasons say: Yes. It is profit maximization.
Voice of Conscience say: No. It cannot be so highly price so that only the rich can afford.

So, remember that when there is a conflict,

the priority is Conscience, Reasons and then Sensuality.

Feeling is Not Always Wrong - Listen Carefully
With this understanding, I want to clearly differentiate the different types of emotions or feelings. There is the common misunderstanding that one should not listen to our feelings but to our reasons implying that feeling is bad. This is incorrect. Our feeling is a response to something deeper.

We have to differentiate the source that causes the feeling.

* It is from the external through our body senses, or
* due to our thinking and reasoning, (we feel sad or happy when watching movie) or
* due to our conscience.


If the feeling of peace or uneasiness comes from our conscience, we need to listen to it. When we feel uneasy from our conscience, we sometimes want to use our reasonings to overcome it. We should not. We should always listen the inner voice of our conscience. However, if we continue to suppress our conscience by our reasonings, our conscience will be numbed. To ensure we have sensitive conscience, we should feed it by reading Bible, prayers, and obedience.

Feeling can be directed by our thoughts and our conscience. The best kind of feeling is the passion we felt for doing a good cause according to our conscience and our reasons.

2008-03-17

Let Go & Let God - Spiritual or Just Plain Lazy?

There are many so called 'grace-based' preacher that preach men should not do anything and let God do it. There is this nice phase that say "Let go and let God". They see that any effort on man part is of the flesh and men should just lay back and wait to receive from God. Such teaching without clearer explanation is very misleading and wrong. It resulted in people just plainly waiting for God.

It is clearer to say "God initiates and man respond". Man duty is to discover God's plan and then follow accordingly by faith. God has initiated in speaking to man in the past through His prophets and His son Jesus (Heb 1:2) . We are to respond in faith by receiving Jesus as our Savior and Lord. That was the 1st step. Subsequently, we have to discover more of Jesus and God and follow accordingly. The discovery is through the study of God's revealed Word (the Bible) and communication with God. We have the static Logos word and the dynamic Holy Spirit inspired Rhema word of God. This discovery (of the spiritual laws at work) will increases as we experience the working of the spiritual laws through our application by faith.

We can see this in the natural world which are governed by natural physical laws. To do well in the physical world, we need to understand the natural physical laws governing this universe. We understand gravity easily enough to know that we could not fly. However, when we understand fluid dynamics, we learn about the 'lift' as air flows through a wind-shaped object, and then we could build plane that fly. By understanding and application of natural laws, we can do thing that seems to defy natural law. Actually, we did not. Our ability to fly still follows the natural laws, except that we use the law of lift to overcome the law of gravity. Both laws are at work when we fly. We can never defy natural laws.

Similarly, in the spiritual world, if we want to have good success, we must understand the spiritual laws and apply accordingly. Without application according to the spiritual laws, we will not have any benefits. So don't be fooled. We need to do work - work of faith - of discovering God's will and spiritual laws - and putting them to work.

If we are hurt by someone, we are to rely on the Love of Christ and to forgive the person causing the hurt. It is very hard on our flesh. But we must put our trust in God's spiritual laws - love our enemy with the love that Jesus has given me.

If we are out of job, we spend the time discovering God's will, preparing and learning new skills and getting new jobs, trusting God will bring the right job at the right time to us. But we are not to just wait lazily. We are to occupy till He comes Luk 19:13.


2008-03-13

Bible for Business Seminar#7 Designing Strategies

Some who attended the seminars previously felt that as employee, the talks on mission, vision, values and strategies seem not too relevant to work. As employee, we need to understand how our work contributes to our company's mission and visions. I wish to encourage that all to think like your bosses or owners so that one day you will be one. The values covered the previous and this talk tell us the how to behave so that we will be promoted and be successful in life.

We covered the 2nd point of "Appreciation Situations" that not completed due to lack of time. That is to understand the trend and be ready all the time and at any time. We covered Porter's Five Competitive Forces that determines the profitability of a business in the medium & long run.

With the materials given in BJ#6 Strategies the following additional points were added:
  1. The Beatitudes of Mat 5 could be seen as the "Commandments" of NT. These are positive commands - be meek, seek righteousness, be merciful, be pure, be peace-makers etc. This list is comparable to James 3:17. We should and are able to do all these because we are rebirthed as children of God with Jesus in us. We gave the business viewpoints of those virtues.
  2. Branding & Communications - we should have strategies to create our brand, deliver to expectation and to communicate. We are light for the world to see that bring glory to God. We cited Mat 6:1-4 charity giving, 6:17-19 fasting not as exaltation not to tell but exaltation not to be hypocrites. We are not to give to charity to gain glory or to fast to show our piety. Branding is both - telling and fulfilling the expectation. Branding is a promise. Branding should have consistency of experience, look-and-feel, quality, differentiation and repeated exposure. All strategies, while described in details, should have a tagline for ease of communication and memory. e.g. Customer Intimacy, or High Touch Experience, Operational Excellence etc.
  3. Cutting costs uniformly, cutting marketing, training etc are short-term methods with harms on the future. The better method is to cut wisely. Cut the dead weights either in offerings or customers. Be innovative to do more with less. Build employees enthusiam. Outsourcing wisely.
  4. In the Globalization Strategy of the Church, we stressed how God used Saul to get the church to move out of Jerusalem. We sometimes need to have or to create crisis to move us out of our comfort zone to move into higher plane. God used Paul to address a wider market segment - from the Jews to the Gentiles and setting up an HQ in Antioch to address to expanded market.
  5. The Strategies Check List is summarized as:
    1. Support the Values of Corporations
    2. Pursue Differentiation & Excellent / Perfection
    3. Building Relationships – Customers, Staff, Suppliers
    4. Branding (Authentic Experience) & Communications
    5. Be Lean – Cut Losses, Remove Dead weights.
    6. Take Positive Initiatives
    7. Work with Your Competitors Wisely
    8. Do the Talk
    9. Internalized by Staff
About 8 of us gathered together for the seminar. We have a good time of sharing after the talk. Some are reflected in the feedback report below:

The overall score is 84% with the highest score to Speaker Knowledge, Subject Area Coverage, and the lower scores to length of talk 74% and time of talk 66%.

Like Best
  1. Cut loss & stop bleeding, prune the tree so that it bear more fruit
  2. Toyota sharing their technology and expertise with competitor & supplier
  3. Cut loses & Stop Bleedings It is very practical.
  4. Pt 6 take positive initiatives - nuggets of biblical truths which can apply even for personal working life.
  5. Also more examples given this time to explain & expand the various points
Like Least
  1. Ending seems a bit hasty, probably due to the shortage of time.
Others
  1. Give assignments for completion
  2. It will be good to slow down and not to cover too much information in such a short time

2008-03-09

Normal Christian Life Style

An excellent teaching on the normal Christian Life Style that we should be living is given by Peter in 2 Peter 1:1-10. It is about knowing God and knowing what we have in Jesus Christ. This knowledge is to be followed by actions so that we realize the calling and election of God for our lives.

The 8 stages of Christian growth, which also represent the growth of Peter's own life, are pointed out in v5-8, are faith (the beginning stage), virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity. The mind map below gives more detail on the exposition of the verses.