Tag Archives: humility

A lesson in corporate life Dennis Kozlowski

Thank you to Dr Meyer for this, I had not heard about Dennis Kozlowski recently. I think Dr Meyer is being kind, I had a very tiny bit to do with Tyco at the time, they were a customer, so a very little interaction and at a low level, but it made me aware of what Tyco was and who Kozlowski was. Let’s just say I never heard anyone speak highly. This quote from the Boston Globe: “Kozlowski was among the most caricatured of imperial chief executives in an epoch of white-collar crime that included Bernard J. Ebbers of WorldCom and Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling of Enron. But unlike businesses plundered by other felons, Kozlowski’s Tyco has thrived, employing 57,000. Enron and WorldCom became corporate corpses. Yea, you really have to work at it to stick out in that crowd.” He was a “ruthless cost-cutter”, (Boston Globe https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2015/03/02/dennis-kozlowski-from-infamy-obscurity/fdemfnhgN7eaN2Q88liLmO/story.html ) in this day and age of bureaucratic entitlements, corporate living is, quite often, living day to day with little if any frills. And believe me I’m not the least bit naive about those who are corporate fat-cats, but they are very few and far between.
There’s no indication of whether Mr Kozlowski has been led to Christ, but this is an interesting perspective in how things to catch up with you when you are living for self.

Meyer Minute for March 3

I hadn’t thought about him at all, but why should I? He was all over the news years ago, but news is usually a spectator sport that we watch only to move on to our daily duties. So when Dennis Kozlowski was all over the news because of his crimes, held up for the scorn of us common people, I paid attention, smiled when he was sent off to prison, and then forgot him. Assuming you also forgot, Mr. Kozlowski was the prodigal head of Tyco who, for just one example, spent $2 million on a birthday extravaganza for his second wife. He was convicted for taking $100 million of company money. Now he’s out of jail, totally free, and says he’s changed. “I’m not that person anymore.”

Getting to the moral of today’s Minute: “Mr. Kozlowski tells the story of a man who recently stopped him in Grand Central Terminal. ‘Hey,’ the man asked, ‘Aren’t you Steve Ballmer, the Microsoft guy who just bought the Los Angeles Clippers?” Dennis Kozlowski smiled, turned, and continued on his way.” (David A. Kaplan, New York Times, March 2; A1, B4)

Sooner or later we get it, that the world doesn’t revolve around us. “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more” (Psalm 103:15-16). “The grass withers and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.’ And this word is the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25).

Thank You, Lord, for whatever teaches me, a creature of a day, to be humble and thankful for Your mercies. Amen.

Dr Meyer, gracious as ever. I sincerely pray that Mr Kozlowski comes to know Christ as his Savior. But his life is also a lesson in how the things of the world can draw us away from what/Who is really important and then leaves us dumped in a heap. If we continue to trust the world it only leads to destruction. If we come to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior then we will know true life and eternal life in Him. The world can only destroy us and it will.

Humbleness in the workplace

As Christians whether we are the “boss”, in any kind of prominent position ya like a pastor, or just known as a Christian where you work, or part of group, in the community, there is a kind of attitude and humility that is generally part of being a Christian. I like C.S. Lewis’ quote: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” To be sure, we are more Christlike when we are more concerned with the interests of others then our own concerns, our own agenda. Believe me it is a struggle for me.

What’s that fine line between who is in charge and how that looks and thinking of others. To be sure Father Frederick Nkwasibwe’s observation that: “Humility occasions commitment to conquer all conditioning’s and biases within oneself. In addition, it occasions combat of individual, institutional and structural discrimination and prejudice.” (Business Courage p 397) Too be sure we need to be aware of our prejudices in many areas of our makeup. Jesus certainly modeled that. Certainly 1st century Israel was a very provincial and prideful people. They were God’s chosen and everyone else wasn’t. There was particular acrimony between them and Samaritans, in Jesus’ interactions with Samaritans He showed as much charity to them and other non-Israelites as He did to anyone. He also dealt with those who were prideful in no uncertain terms. In terms of humility, it is being focused on what is important, are we truly acting in a way that brings glory to God. Sometimes you have to hold people accountable and Jesus did that with His own followers and with those in the Jewish leadership. But He did not let another’s ethnicity or as it were “paganism” be a barrier. Jesus treated the Roman centurion with respect, the Syro-Phoenician woman, and the Samaritans. He served them all even though they were very far from knowing who Jesus was and what He was all about.

“Demonstrating humility in leading, interpersonal communication, developing human skills, learning, implementing corrective action and giving feedback among others constitute a big advantage of practicing and living healthy mature-faith-focus workplace spirituality. This highly impacts productivity. For example, a humble and contrite heart of the boss does not accept to live luxuriously at the expense of the staff and endeavors to bridge the disparity in top-up allowances of benefits that exists between himself and the staff. The courage of leadership typified by the virtue of temperance is, for example, required by the highly paid CEOs or MDs at an S&P 500 company or other organizations making over 100 times more than a typical worker receives. Similarly, a humble and contrite heart of the follower is always cautious and prudent yet tight-lipped when it lacks evidence to speak… Humility makes leaders unashamed to behave in a manner that is not a popular workplace fashion yet a righteous one….Humility makes it easy for leadership to establish credible and altruistic workplace structures that can effectively and ethically moderate tempers and mediate between competing workplace discords.” (pp 397-398)

This is a genuine concern of mine, in my own experience I’ve seen too many “leaders” make decisions that were based on pride and/or popularity. It is certainly instructive to me. As a still, relatively, new pastor, I’ve had to learn the hard way about leadership decisions, that might have been more about perception, then an actual act of pridefulness. How to assert authority, but still do it in a way that isn’t prideful, abrasive, or at least even perceived that way? Jesus could certainly do it and impact even His enemies. We watched Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ again last night. Doing this blog and the movie being fresh in my mind, at least in the movie, even in defeat/crucifixion, Jesus left a discernible mark on those who witnessed His “defeat”. Certainly the Roman centurion’s witness at the crucifixion: “Truly this man was the Son of God”. (Mark 15:39) Even in the degradation and torture of crucifixion, Jesus was still perceived having strength and dignity. Was it Jesus’ true concern for those who were there, for all humanity, that showed through and influenced their perception? As a Christian leader we balance the good of the organization, our authority and need to do our job with genuine concern for those stakeholders we serve. We know stakeholders are management, shareholders, peers, employees. Yea, it’s a lot, we trust in Christ to guide us through these situations too.

We meet at the coffeehouse at the corner of W King and Beaver Sts, no cost (yea, I’ll even buy your first cup of coffee), no obligation, come on down, break up the day and join in some good discussion about being Christian in the workplace. Wednesdays 10am, parking is open right behind the church 140 W King.