Christmas is just a week away. As a CEO, this can be an incredibly busy time of year: wrapping up projects before Q4 comes to an end, holiday parties, your families’ upcoming Christmas vacation, and finding time to buy gifts for everyone and their mother! While it may sound cliche, it’s easy to get caught up in the gift giving or receiving, and lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas. As we near the end of 2022, it’s important to take a look and evaluate your faith and relationship with God. This week, we’ll discuss the edge that faith gives to CEOs and leaders who employ it.
The CEO of Hobby Lobby, David Green, opened his first crafts shop in 1970 with a $600 loan and turned the company into a $13.7 billion enterprise. Green cites his success to being a steward of God’s work. In 1946, Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-Fil-A, made the decision to close his restaurants on Sundays so that he and his employees could set aside one day to rest and worship if they choose. Today, Chick-Fil-A remains steadfast in closing all of its stores on Sundays despite missing out on an estimated $1.2 billion in sales. Lynsi Snyder, the president of In-N-Out Burger, a $3 billion California based burger chain, prints Bible verses on much of the company’s packaging. Snyder continues this tradition started by her family to keep the ethos of the company visible for all. The wrapper on the famous “Double-Double” lists Nahum 1:7.
What’s the commonality between David Green, Truett Cathy, and Lynsi Snyder? They led their companies to substantial success with faith. And their faith gave them purpose. What is your purpose? As a CEO? As a person? Whether you’re an entrepreneur at a start-up or the CEO of a Fortune500 company, your leadership purpose is who you are and what makes you distinctive. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do your job and why. Having a strong faith means knowing your purpose and staying grounded as you execute your business and life goals.
As a CEO, it’s inevitable that you’ve dealt with adversity at some point in your career. When you’re going through a tough time, whether it be something personal or something at work, leaning in on your faith is critical; it provides strength and peace in times of difficulty. It’s also fuel for optimism. Throughout your career, there will be times when everyone in the company turns to you during times of uncertainty: a slowdown in sales, a financial recession, or even a pandemic. Even if you are full of doubt and fear, a CEO of faith can lean into his relationship with God to lead the company with confidence and optimism.
What stops people from reaching their business goals? Greed and making bad decisions. In the dog-eat-dog business world, it’s hard to avoid the survive-at-all-cost cutthroat mentality. This mentality, in fact, is a key factor in the success of many businesses and CEOs. But it also has the power to screw everything up, especially when greed kicks in. Take for example Bernie Madoff. Before the Ponzi scheme that made Madoff famous, he ran a wildly successful and legitimate business – Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities – making between $25 million and $50 million per year. Bernie Madoff fell into the trap of greed. He risked everything in the pursuit of wanting more and executed the largest Ponzi scheme in history, defrauding thousands of investors out of tens of billions of dollars. The noise, outside voices, and pressure may suggest that you win at all costs, but a faith based perspective encourages humility, ethics, and balance in your decision making.