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Jesus, CEO (25th Anniversary Edition)
Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership
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–from the Afterword by Laurie Beth Jones
Bestselling author Laurie Beth Jones brings you the ultimate guide to transforming your team and sparking inspiration in your business—for the new generation of leaders. And who better to learn from than a leader who turned a disorganized staff of twelve into a thriving enterprise that’s lasted over two millennia? In Jesus, CEO, you’ll learn how to use ancient wisdom to tap your team’s energy and intelligence and reinvent your business for a world changing faster than ever.
Filled with fresh, practical, and profound advice, Jesus, CEO helps you motivate your team and yourself. Jones divides this advice into three sections: strength of self-mastery, strength of actions, and strength of relationships. By following the leadership techniques of Jesus, you’ll see that in this hectic, fast-moving business world, the best course is to ground yourself in ancient examples of empathy, integrity, and tenacity.
Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership is a practical, step-by-step guide to communicating with and motivating people. It is based on the self-mastery, action, and relationship skills that Jesus used to train and motivate his team. It can be applied to any business, service, or endeavor that depends on more than one person to accomplish a goal, and can be implemented by anyone who dares.
Perhaps you have heard about the Alpha management style — the one based on the masculine, authoritative use of power.
Perhaps you have also heard about the Beta management style — the one based on the feminine, cooperative use of power.
In this book I will introduce what I call the Omega management style — the style that incorporates and enhances them both.
Jesus, CEO: Using Ancient Wisdom for Visionary Leadership is based on three simple premises:
1. One person trained twelve human beings who went on to so influence the world that time itself is now recorded as being before (B.C.) or after (A.D.) his existence.
2. This person worked with a staff that was totally human and not divine … a staff that in spite of illiteracy, questionable backgrounds, fractious feelings, and momentary cowardice went on to accomplish the tasks he trained them to do. They did this for one main reason — to be with him again.
3. His leadership style was intended to be put to use by any of us.
The idea of Jesus as a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) came to me twenty years ago when I was living in the mountains. It struck me at the time that Jesus had many feminine values in management and that his approach with his staff often ran counter to other management styles and techniques I had both witnessed and experienced. As I started my own advertising agency ten years later and began to encounter businesses on many different levels, I was dismayed to find countless “homeless” people in corporations. I too often saw invaluable human energy and intelligence untapped and underutilized. I saw multiple examples of corporate abuse, neglect, and violence. I decided to write this book to help turn the tide and to empower people in all layers of leadership to re-view the divine excellence in themselves and in those they serve.
I also found it disturbing that nearly all leadership and management books are written by men. Yet women are the fastest-growing segment of business owners in this country. USA Today recently reported that soon women will employ more people than all the Fortune 500 companies combined. Similarly, nearly 80 percent of all businesses in the United States employ twenty people or less. Clearly, small groups of people led by innovative leaders and managers make up the strength, and hope, of this nation. With the business world changing so rapidly and so drastically, it seemed to me that we need creative and innovative role models now more than ever before. I believe the world is crying out for leaders whose goals are to build up, not to tear down; to nurture, not to exploit; to undergird and enhance, rather than to dominate. Jesus as a leader struck me as the noblest of them all.
I believe Jesus’ “Omega” management style incorporates and transcends the best of the Alpha (masculine) and Beta (feminine) leadership styles, because by harnessing spiritual energy, each of us, female and male, can become the empowered leaders that the next millennium will require.
To those who are looking for tips on how to make a fast buck or get a quick management fix, this book will have little or no relevance. I am searching for people who are willing to plant the fields that lead to the harvest and who recognize that the workplace, where most of us spend the greater part of our lives, is indeed very holy and fertile ground.
The Selection Process
In your humanness, you might hope your new staff will have the powers of angels, but the first one pointed out to you smells not like heavenly phosphorescence but like mud and dead fish.
The next one is not drawn from the halls of a university but is out collecting taxes in the name of the government that everyone hates. The selection process continues. … Your staff and followers are plucked from trees, back alleys, and down at the pier.1
And as you gaze on your chosen few, you realize that this group will outlive you and must carry out the task you cannot accomplish without them: to change the world. You have three years to train them. What do you do?
This is the question that faced Jesus, a young leader … a leader who, like many of us, had to depend on others to accomplish a goal.
In studying Jesus’ leadership techniques, I began to realize that he, the original Omega leader, had three categories of strengths:
- the strength of self-mastery
- the strength of action
- the strength of relationships
Currently you may be strong in only one or two of these areas. Yet success in management requires the total combination. For example, a physician who has self-mastery and action skills, but lacks relationship skills, will be limited in her/his career. Likewise, we are all too familiar with the downfall of political leaders who had relationship and action skills, but lacked strength in the area of self-mastery. The goal of this book is to heighten your awareness level in each category and to assist you in the process of mastering them all.
STRENGTH OF SELF-MASTERY
Above all else, keep watch over Your heart, for herein lie the wellsprings of life.
He said “I Am”
What if Jesus did not instantly know who he was? Or what his gifts were? What if it dawned on him only gradually, as it dawns on each of us? Maybe his mother recited stories of the unusual events surrounding his birth. Maybe she set the beautiful boxes the three wise men brought him on a shelf in his room, and at night the young boy would take them down and hold them and wonder.
Or perhaps he knew instantly that he had a special calling and was just awaiting the moment when his powers could be set free. Either way, I believe Jesus had to go into the wilderness to find out who he was — that a wilderness experience was as much a part of his shaping and destiny as it is of yours and mine.
I was once involved in a meeting of real estate developers who were gathered to discuss a possible joint venture. Each developer had an impressive résumé in terms of the task to be accomplished. Much to our surprise, the organizer of the group stood and began to describe in detail one of his greatest failures. He talked about how his eagerness to make money for his investors had caused him to overlook some important details about public opinion trends. He said, “I am much more careful now to get all the facts before acting on my ideas.” The person next to him then, with a slightly red face, admitted that on occasion he had not exactly been a genius, either. In fact, he once purchased a huge parcel of land for development that was, unbeknownst to him, sitting on solid rock.
The youngest member of the group was reluctant to speak when it was his turn to share his mistake. He sort of fumbled around and said, “Well, everyone knows I’ve had many successes.” The leader gently chided him, “Come on, Charlie. Put your rock out on the table. If you have not experienced failure, you cannot be a part of this group.”
What the leader was really saying was “If you have not been tested by fire, you do not know who you are. And if you do not know who you are, you cannot be a leader.”
In the wilderness, Jesus was given clear choices, each relating to his special gifts. When the Devil said, “Worship me and you will own the world,” Jesus said, “No.” The Devil said, “Then satisfy your hunger, and turn these stones into bread.” Again, Jesus said, “No.”
“Throw yourself off the pinnacle of the temple and test your power to spring back to eternal life.” Jesus looked Satan in the face and said, “No.” And finally, after forty days of being tested and refined in that desert furnace, a person emerged who was very clear about who he was and what he was called to do.2 Jesus met the temptation to use his gifts selfishly, and he overcame them.
It is no coincidence that only after the wilderness experience did Jesus begin to use the words “I am” when describing himself.3
In the Old Testament, when the Jews asked God for a self-description, the only answer they received was “I AM that I AM.”4 The simplicity of this phrase emphasized his power to them. The words I AM therefore reflect all the creative power in the Universe.
What wilderness experience has helped you see your gifts more clearly?
List in detail each of your own “I ams.”
Write down three positive and powerful word pictures about yourself. Draw them. For example: “I am a bridge.”
His “I Am” Statements Are What He Became
Jesus did not look back on the events of his life and say, “Hmmm … I must have been the Son of God.” He declared himself to be the Son of God,5 and the proof followed.
Jesus regularly visualized the success of his efforts. “I declare a thing and it is done for me. My word accomplishes that which I send it out to do.”6
Probably many people would describe Jesus as one of the most humble beings who ever walked the earth. Yet consider what he said about himself in the Bible. Absolutely everything he said about himself was positive.
“I always do what pleases God.”7 “God always answers my prayers.”8 Was this conceit? Or was it enlightened creativity and self-knowledge? If you look at the Old Testament, you will read some of its most beautiful verses recited later by Jesus about himself. For example, his mission statement regarding bringing good news to others is taken from the prophet Isaiah. He internalized beauty and claimed it as his own.
There is a proverb that says “A man’s curses will fall and wrap themselves around him like a cloak.” What a powerful visual image that is. What if every word we said fell and wrapped itself around us like a garment? What kind of wardrobe would we have?
Words have power. And Jesus always spoke loving, powerful, and confident words about himself.
It is interesting to listen to the self-talk of super-athletes. I once read an article in which one of the greatest female tennis players of all time reviewed a game that she lost. Every statement she made about herself was still positive. People who succeed speak well of themselves to themselves. Nowhere in the Gospel does Jesus put himself down. Jesus was full of self-knowledge and self-love.
His “I am” statements were what he became.
Whom do you tell yourself that you are on a daily basis?
If each word you said about yourself fell and wrapped itself around you like a garment, what would your self-talk “wardrobe” look like?
What good, pure, true, and beautiful words do you feed your mind every day?
He Kept in Constant Contact with His Boss
Each of us must answer to someone. Any sixth grader familiar with the food chain will tell you that even the king of the jungle ultimately becomes food for little insects. None of us is without someone who could ultimately “eat us for dinner.” In fact, when a person begins to think there is no one to answer to, problems really begin.
Jesus knew who his boss was, and he kept in touch with him daily.
Ed Koch, one of the most reelected mayors of New York City, used to go around town asking the people he met “How am I doing?” The folks loved him for it, and many considered his openness to be one of the keys to his popularity.
AI Neuharth, founder of USA Today newspaper, drove around the country asking people what kind of newspaper they’d like to read. This man, earning over a million dollars a year in salary, considered his bosses to be the people who plunked the quarters into the newspaper vending machines. He took the time to stay in touch with the people he served.
An example of the consequences of not staying in touch occurred when the board of trustees for a national medical association decided to celebrate the organization’s anniversary. They asked all members to donate 30 percent of their time to an anniversary gala. More than one state director told representatives from the national office (where this plan was hatched) that this plan was extremely unpopular with the state offices. The representatives, who often were hired just for their ability to say yes to the executive director, never mentioned the unpopularity of the plan to the board, as it was the director’s pet project. When one newcomer attempted to bring it up at a board meeting, the director threw her such a look that she promptly shut up.
The board held its great kickoff celebration, to which the national media and key government cabinet members were invited; but only eleven people showed up. Nine were board members. Group members had spent nearly $60,000 to promote their event but failed to purchase a two-cent cotton swab to clean out their ears before they launched it. The board members forgot to communicate with their boss(es), who were the members of the association they were representing. They ruled by mirrors, not by windows.
Jesus met with his boss daily, usually for hours. Nothing could interrupt the time that was predesignated, set aside, and honored.
As a leader, it is vitally important that you keep in touch with your boss on a regular, sacrosanct basis. Chances are your boss can provide an aerial view that will make your path more clear.
Jesus kept in constant contact with his boss.
Do you know who your boss really is?
Draw a picture of your “food chain.”
How regularly do you communicate with your boss?
He Stuck to His Mission
Jesus knew his mission statement, and he did not deviate from it. He declared that his mission was, in essence, to teach people about a better way of life. He saw himself as a teacher and a healer.
An ancient adage says “If you want to defeat them, distract them.” In the wilderness Jesus was given several “business opportunities” that did not relate to his mission.
Each of these opportunities was related to talents that Jesus had, and used, in some form or another during his tenure. But he resisted them because they did not fit his mission statement.
Pause for a moment and consider the things Jesus did not do. Here is someone endowed with limitless power from on high. He could have done literally anything. Yet he did not build a temple or a synagogue. He did not write or distribute books. He did not even heal all the sick people in the world. He did not go down to the graveyards and raise everyone from the dead. He did not build shopping malls. His mission was very specific.
Jesus stuck to his mission.
What is your mission? Can you define it in one or two sentences?
Do feelings stir inside you that suggest you might contribute to a better way of life for others?
Can you list opportunities currently in your path that might really be distractions? What are they?
He Believed in Himself
Jesus was one of the most confident beings who ever lived. He envisioned himself as a vital opening for the people. He called himself The Gate … The Door. He believed his role was also to nurture others. He called himself The Vine … The Shepherd. He said he came to light the way. In other words, he believed in himself down to his very toes.
Belief in oneself is a crucial quality of leadership, because “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” A leader who fluctuates back and forth sends a very wavery signal. Like the soprano who can shatter glass by finding that high note and holding it, a leader who can hold that high note, without wavering, can shatter walls. Jesus had no ambivalence about who he was or what he was supposed to do.
I once attended a seminar where the leader asked, “How many of you believe in yourself 100 percent?” Two people raised their hands. As the leader went down the percentage scale, more and more people raised their hands. The majority of the people in the room believed in themselves 75 percent of the time. The leader then asked, “Why are you afraid to go that extra 25 percent? What do you think would happen?”
The group leader asked, “Do you realize that power is assumed, not granted?” I questioned this at first, but then I thought about the times when someone in a group setting took it over, whether he or she had the authority to do so or not. How do people get tapped for leadership positions even when they are not looking for them? Probably because they emanate self-confidence. They have power over themselves, and people pick up on that energy.
Perhaps we think 100 percent belief equals arrogance. Arrogance, however, is lack of self-confidence, not self-belief. Jesus was never arrogant or cocky to anyone. Even when he was bound and thrown before the Sanhedrin for trial, he was not arrogant. Nor did he deny his own power.
My father, an action-oriented person, was never known for his love of poetry. However, I’ll never forget the day he sat down with me to plan my college career. He said, “Laurie, I learned only one poem in school that stuck with me. Here it is: ‘I bargained with life for a penny, only to learn, dismayed, that any wage I would have asked of life, life would have paid.'” He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Go for what you want. You can do anything you set your mind to.”
What do you think the world would be like if people believed in themselves 100 percent? How much damage is done in this country and in the world every day because of humanity’s low self-esteem?
How many times have people said:
“I don’t think I have any real power, so I’m going to get a gun and dhow that guy who’s really the boss.”
“I can’t really change my life, so I’d better escape it. Give me a drug.”
“I’ll never amount to much, so I might as well drown my sorrows. Make it a double.”
“I’m afraid that you’ll take my power away, do here’s a fist, a knife, or a knuckle sandwich.”
The list goes on and on. If only we believed in ourselves, the world would be a better place.
Jesus said he came from heaven and was going back to heaven. He came to teach us what heaven was like and how to bring it about on earth and, more important, in ourselves.
Jesus believed in himself 100 percent.
How much do you believe in yourself?
What would it take for you to believe in yourself down to your very toes?
He Had Internal Anchors
Jesus said, “Why do you seek after people’s approval but do not seek the approval that comes from only God?”9 He was an effective leader because he had internal anchors. He did not get his approval from external mechanisms. His actions were not based on what Peter, John, and James thought. He didn’t come unglued when John the Baptist began to doubt him. He didn’t care whether Caesar smiled or frowned.
Have you ever experienced that euphoric bubble when you finally reach a decision that you know is right? People have various names for it — feeling centered, being right on, being in a state of grace. Those who have experienced this feeling say there is nothing to compare to it. One woman said it was like being out at sea and hearing only silence, even though she could see people waving their arms on the shore. Here is how she described it: “Nothing mattered as much to me as that still, silent point of being. Everything else seemed meaningless … almost like it was just a puppet show.” She said she had never felt closer to God, even though the decision she made upset many people around her.
The Omega leader has a backbone like a rod of steel when it comes to doing the right thing. You may have to search for it, but once you hit the harmonic “C” — the note that matches perfectly with your soul — you, God, and destiny will be one harmonious sound. And others will stop, perk up their ears, and begin to gather around.
Jesus had internal anchors.
What are your internal anchors?
From whom do you seek approval?
He Guarded His Energy
If you had the power to do anything, how would you decide what to do? This may seem like a minor problem, but look, for instance, at people who inherit large amounts of money. Many of them manage to make it disappear rather quickly. Likewise, people who have unlimited free time often find themselves involved in activities that ruin their health or peace of mind. Having too much can sometimes be as much of a burden as having too little.
Jesus had tremendous energy, and he knew how to direct it. He was so clear about his mission that he avoided many real and potential energy leaks. For example, even though he was a teacher, he refused to engage in meaningless debates with people who wanted not to learn but to argue. Even at his trial, he did not waste time or energy in what he knew would be a meaningless defense.
Although he was a recruiter of sorts, he never wasted energy begging or manipulating others to follow him. In fact, he trained his staff to “wipe the dust from their feet”10 and to keep moving if people were resistant to his ideas. He also said not to “cast your pearls before swine,”11 a very graphic image about the importance of knowing where and with whom to share the treasure of your energy.
Jesus was so aware of his energy that once when a woman reached out and grabbed his clothes in the middle of a crowd, he turned around and asked, “Who touched me?”12 The staff members were astonished, since he was being pushed and shoved and crowded by many as they walked along. “Everybody’s touching you,” they said. “No, I felt power go out from me,” he said. He then turned to face the woman, who asked to be healed. Her intense desire drew on his energy so that he could literally feel her faith.
We are told that he came through walls without opening doors, and of course he emerged from a sealed tomb. This man was a master of the physics of energy — especially his own — and he was very careful about how he used it.
How many energy leaks do we have in our own daily lives? Leaks such as angry words, distractions, or tampering in someone else’s business while neglecting our own.
To be a leader requires a tremendous amount of energy. Perhaps that is one reason why entertainers and rock stars often succumb to the energy boosts offered by alcohol or drugs. They are pouring out so much energy to the crowds that their own reserves get depleted. They then look for instant energy.
A close friend of mine who is known for her highly polished intuitive ability recently returned from a meeting where there had been many hidden agendas and open conflicts. She sat down with a heavy sigh and said wearily, “I think my psychic feelers have been damaged.” She has learned to develop ways to replenish her “antennae.” Quiet prayer, rest, and time alone are ways that work for her … as well as a good round of golf.
Most leaders are intuitive, or they would not be able to hear and see things that no one else can see or hear. Leaders must therefore be aware that their energy is subject to depletion, and they must make guarding that energy reserve a priority.
Energy is everywhere, but stillness plays a major role in its conversion from “potential” to “actualized” energy. At Callaway Gardens I was amazed to learn that butterflies have
- On Sale
- Mar 30, 2021
- Page Count
- 336 pages
- Hachette Go