Who is influencing whom?

It has come up a few times in recent weeks how my work life and my church life are overlapping. In most cases, it has to do with concepts around leadership, but it causes me to stop and think about how many churches operate like a business. This is a huge topic that I don’t feel like getting into here because in many ways they have to: finances/stewardship, facilities management, organizational structure, etc. A simple stroll through the bookstore (read: scroll through Amazon.com) turns up a plethora of books about how to use core business concepts in how a church operates. The one that comes to mind is an addendum to Jim Collins’ awesome book, Good to Great called Good to Great and the Social Sectors. Shouldn’t it be the other way around though? Shouldn’t the Church be influencing the business world?

Doing Business by the Good Book

This concept isn’t new. The owner of WWT, Dave Steward, wrote a book called Doing Business by the Good Book (read: reason #1 I love my job). However, imagine if in the same way that if you seek first the Holy Spirit and the fruit come naturally, what would happen if you put Biblical concepts into practice in your business? What if you centered your core values around God’s promises? What if you served your customers in the same way churches serve the community? What does success look like then? Is it measured in dollars or influence? Is it measured in customer satisfaction or changed lives?

What does this even look like?

Marketers love the buzzword-worthy phrase “customer evangelists.” Pretty apparent where that concept came from. Although, I should mention that they don’t mean [insert product here]-thumping cram-it-down-your-throat street preachers. They mean people who are passionate about their product/company who spread the news by word-of-mouth.  (If you don’t know what a passionate community of information-sharers looks like and you are an active member of a church, maybe you need to re-examine your church’s priorities.)

Imagine a company like the church in Acts, where everyone drops everything to help those in need. Think of a time you were failing at the office. Did everyone rally around you or did they kick you while you were down? Nine times out of ten, I’d put money on the latter.

I could go on and on, but I won’t bore the two or three of you that read this (including me). Just think about it.

Quick Update

I wanted to clarify something based on feedback I’ve received. I don’t mean to be explicit in the influence. While perfectly reasonable, I wouldn’t expect you to provide scripture references in your corporate goals or be outright confrontational in your “evangelism”. The intent is to examine the underlying influence and allow your inner spirit to naturally affect your everyday life and work. It can’t be forced or manufactured, just as the fruit of the Spirit can’t be produced without the Spirit. If it is, you’re doing it wrong.

Cardinal Nation

Look, people. If you thought for a second that a deal would be done by Noon EST today, you really need to have that looked at. Remember, there are still two more outs for the Cardinals. They still have until 5 days after the World Series before Albert is officially a Free Agent. Even then, there’s still a third out if they offer something competitive within the market of free agency. So, now that the first “deadline” has passed, I figured I’d throw my $0.02 into the mix.

Fair Market Value

Yes, the economy is in pretty bad shape. Yes, $30 million per year is a crazy number. But yes, we live in a capitalistic society. The Cardinals (or any team) can do whatever they want with their money. Albert Pujols can ask for whatever he wants. The precedent has been set in the Major Leagues for insane amounts of money for the best players in the game. As of the 2009 season, the league minimum was $400,000. That’s for a guy that rides the pine and never gets his spikes dirty. For Albert Pujols, the Fair Market Value is near $30 million per year. In the same way that the value of your house is determined by recent sales figures for those around it, the value for a player is determined by recently signed contracts. Ryan Howard, A-Rod, etc. have set the standard, value or not.

Sure, $300 million could do so much more for our community. A friend recently put it beautifully when he pointed out that $30 million in Albert’s hands isn’t like $30 million in A-Rod’s. Albert isn’t going to get his and hers Lamborghinis (well, he might, but it’s still a drop in the bucket). He’s going to give to the community. If $30 million per year is the fair market value for a player, Albert’s the guy I want earning it.

You can run the numbers to prove any point. I’ve heard Albert contributes up to $240 million per year in revenue to the Cardinals, based on attendance, memorabilia, etc. If that’s true, he’s worth every penny for that reason alone. I’ve also heard that with Albert, the Cardinals only win an additional 10 games per season, so he isn’t worth it. So, is the value in wins or revenue? Obviously, it’s both, but you need to balance those to arrive at a true value to the team.

Off The Field

Then there’s the value you can’t put a price on. The fans. The charities. The publicity. The list goes on and on. Think about the value Kurt Warner brought off the field in the region when he was a Ram. The leadership, inspiration and more that he provided Our Town pales in comparison to that which Albert provides. Can we afford to lose that? Many say no. I tend to agree.

It’s a Business

See Fair Market Value. While it’s unreal to see these types of numbers being thrown around, the precedent is set. You can’t fault either side.

The Cardinals have historically been a very frugal team. I would like to think Walt Jocketty would have made it happen, while Mozeliak has proven himself more interested in development than investing in superstars. To him, Albert is just another player, as he should be. Mo knows he can get 5 top rated players for Albert’s salary.

You can’t fault Albert to want fair market value. I don’t care who you are, you want to be paid fairly. Albert is the greatest player of all time. He deserves an exorbitant salary. At least, he deserves to ask for it.

Player / Team

Albert is one guy of nine at any time on the field. Albert doesn’t win games (argue all you want), the St. Louis Cardinals win games. The old adage “There’s no ‘I’ in team” rings loud and clear in this case.

Calm Down

You’re still a Cardinals fan. You understand the game. You understand the business. I know this because you’re a Cardinals fan. We’ve proven time and time again that we’re the smartest fans in the game. If you’re this worked up, no matter what side you’re on, about one guy’s signature you need to rethink your priorities. And by priorities, I mean you need to consider your allegiance to the game, to the team and seriously, your life in general.