Dear Marketplace Friend,
Six-part series, in the Summertime. Most people think that wisdom is characterized by having all of the right answers. Education is offered as the means by which the answers can be transferred, assimilated and archived. Once you've got your hard-drive full... you must be wise; right?
Wrong. Knowledge is - generally - the result of education; Wisdom is - again, generally - the result of experience. Knowledge has the right answers; wisdom has the right questions. When you can put education (and that may come from schooling or it may come from living) together with experience, you've got... someone like Peter Drucker.
Drucker's Five Questions for Leaders is our launch point in this Summertime Six Weeker. Today, it's Q #3: What does the customer value?
This morning, the Denver Post cost me $1.00. I bought it at a convenience store, about 5:00am, to accompany my morning Starbucks, before headin' off to speak at two services nearby. My first move was to "gut" the paper: classified ads, comics, sports page, real estate sections ... into the bin, before I was out-the-door. Half of the paper - by weight - I rejected before leaving the register. Ten minutes later, coffee in hand, I filleted the remainder. It took me 15 minutes to extract the "news" from the display advertising that ran alongside the reporters' work product. What the customer (me) valued was far less than what the seller (The Denver Post) produced. In the Age of the Internet, newspapers may become buggy whips (metaphorically). How long before I save the buck and get the news online?
The old line in business comes to mind: no one goes to the hardware store to buy a 5/8" drill bit: people go to the hardware store to buy a 5/8" hole. The bit is simply the tool they require to achieve their desired outcome. Once they have the hole... they don't plan to frame the bit and hang it over the china cabinet to show their friends. The bit has no value... once they have what they really wanted, originally.
The purpose of this multi-part series (as stated in the beginning) is to challenge you to examine what you're doing in pursuit of God's purposes. You may take my musings into the context of your marketplace leadership and apply it there... but my intent has been to suggest the sophistication of your Kingdom service at the highest level. Last week, we agreed that in our spiritual services, we target specific "customers." Once identified, the next issue to address is ... what is it that they value?
When Jesus launched the "movement" that bears his name (let's call it the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ), he suggested an insightful answer to that question: "The thief (that would be the spiritual competition) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they (the customers) may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10). His intent was not to establish rituals or build edifices or unnecessarily complicate the lives of people who were already confused: He planned to give 'em what they valued, already. Life... to the max. Best they could have in a fallen world and better than they could dream in the world to come. Life ...
Does that have value for people, in general? For 168 hours each week, the vast majority of people live to enhance life, trying every means available to them in search of that elusive experience. "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is the American destination. "Life, to the full" is the Christian destination. Does that, in any way, align with what people value, if left to themselves?
In The Master's Program, we promote... "an irresistible lifestyle and influential works of service" as the intended byproducts of our process. We believe that "... life to the full" is, on its face, irresistible. As we offer our services to prospective participants, we promote those possibilities. Who wouldn't want to discover the secrets to "... an irresistible lifestyle, and influential works of service?"
Jesus' most frequent query of people who came to him was "What can I do for you?" (Paraphrased). He solicited their value statement... and either challenged it or delivered it. Constant market research... and, then, targeted delivery - if it was in alignment with his Mission (that was Question #1)...
"You may ask me for anything in my name (in accordance with my Mission) and I will do it ..."