What Are Your People Afraid Of?

This whole idea of an entrepreneur…what definition should we use?  Within a company, perhaps it should be called “intra-preneurs”… Regardless, the traits we seem to attribute to this idea seems to the same.  These people take risks, they start something new, they never quit, they get the needed resources, they sell a vision, they take responsibility for success or the failure…

If we want any of the above from any part of an organization (including from us), if we’re really honest, we have to battle fear.

Fear that we’ll be found out, that we won’t succeed, that we will succeed, that people won’t like us, that someone will be mad, that we’ll get in trouble, that we’ll fail or flounder or not be whatever we think we should be.

Here’s a few questions to ask yourself:

1)   Do I really want others to act as entrepreneurs?  Really?

2)   Do I want others to act without fear?   If not (i.e. you want them to fear something), what do I want them to fear?  Not to fear?

Stop here...until you’re really clear.  It may take awhile.  It did for me.

Now what?  Depending on your answer, could you take another step?  Could you ask your most trusted team members:

  • What are people afraid to tell me?
  • What decisions are people afraid to make that they should be making?  What was in the way of making the decision?
  • Where do you need my help?  The help of others?

Facing fear, and helping others to do so, is a key to so many things.  In perhaps an odd way, I find it encouraging to know that Paul battled fear – after all, he had a growing organization in Acts that he was trying to care for.  I wonder if we could encourage ourselves and others in the same way God spoke to Paul:

 “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you…”  Acts 18:9-10a (NKJV)

As Proud Entrepreneurs We Have The Opportunity To Share

We business types are proud to be described as entrepreneurial.  According to Peter Drucker, entrepreneurship is about taking risk. The entrepreneur is willing to put his or her career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. Most of us would agree with that definition and most of us have had the opportunity to experience the “highs” of success and the “lows” of failures from the risks and ideas we have pursued.

As Christian business owners, what are we called to do with the wisdom and experience gained through these successes and failures?  The Bible is filled with passages that give us direction on that question:

"Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God." (Hebrews 13:16)

"One who is taught the word must share all good things with the one who teaches." (Galatians 6:6)

Knowledge of God’s plan for our business talent and experience directs us to the question, "How can I help others develop their entrepreneurial capability?"

Peter Greer, President of Hope International and a speaker at the 2015 Convene Leadership Summit, continues to challenge all business leaders to share their entire entrepreneurial gift and experience with others.  In his recent book with co-author Chris Horst, Entrepreneurship for Human Flourishing, we see that free enterprise and entrepreneurship are integral to advancing human flourishing around the world. And it is the most effective way to overcome poverty and hunger.

Jeff Rutt, a member of our Convene team, founded HOPE International in 1997 motivated by a church mission trip to the Ukraine where he recognized that the charity food programs were not being successful–the people needed a “hand-up” instead of “handouts.” Jeff has always been bold in his business and life pursuits.  He bought the 200 acre family dairy farm from his father when he was 16 years of age. He and wife Susan operated the farm for 10 years, and after a decade of hard work and 100 hour weeks in dairy farming, Jeff decided to change careers. "I looked for something with lower risk and fewer hours" Jeff says with a straight face. "So I got into home building."

For the past 8 years Keystone Custom Homes has been the highest ranked builder in the mid-atlantic region. The 2015 sales goal for Keystone is 400+ new units. Whether farming, building, or founding Hope International, Jeff Rutt has always been an Entrepreneur who seizes The Opportunity