“Our vocation should be our calling.
Our calling is who are we.”
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Jeff Rogers is the founder and chairman of One Accord Partners, a leading business and non-profit consultancy based out of Kirkland, WA. One Accord seeks to bring Christ-Centered transformation and redemption into the workplaces of its clients which range from Microsoft to World Vision to smaller family businesses.
What principles did you build your company upon that have broader implications for life?
There are two simple values that we carry with us at OneAccord: absolute truth and absolute compassion, which is another way of putting truth & grace into practical business application. Without both working together, we can’t properly serve our clients. Truth means sharing the full data set, even to the extent we may lose a client as a result. The compassion aspect says we need to deliver that truth in a way it can be received – contextually, based on the recipient.
Can you give examples of how absolute truth/grace playing out?
Just as in our family, learning to share truth through the eyes of the one receiving the correction will help it to be received. More often the issues a business or non-profit are struggling with are with the founder/CEO/leader – as culture “descends” through the organization. Whether confronting personal behavior that’s inconsistent with the best interest of the people or bringing to light a gap in capability, these are issues that can be difficult to receive. There are SO many examples in Scripture where the language, examples, perspectives, and approach were given so the person(s) receiving the ideas could hear & the heart & head level.
As someone who’s called on to fix organizations, what do you see as the most common errors that business partners make?
This is a HUGE issue in the faith community. The majority of believers, starting organizations “feel” they should have a partner. Yet, this is typically not God’s highest & best.
In marriage, many of us are familiar with this concept of equal yoking—that both parties need to be on the same page in agreement on key before getting married. In reality, this statement in 2 Corinthians 6 speaks to not just marriage, but any kind of committed relationship, including business. Through my work, I’ve seen far too many casualties from people who jump into partnerships without first assessing whether there’s any basis for compatibility. Just because two people are “Christians” doesn’t mean that there is any greater likelihood that they will succeed or even work well together. To help assess this, I’ve seen 5 attributes that are essential for being equally yoked: spiritual maturity, family agreement, financial equivalency, experiential perspectives, and values.
There’s another aspect in this equation, as well. That concept is “Spiritual Fatherhood”; with whom does the initiation of the idea reside? It’s likely that person has the “birthright” of the new entity and when jumping into a partnership, that MAY be giving away that very essence. The person who birthed the idea likely has the greatest understanding of what the organization is called to be and therefore the vision & mission as it develops. A partner can complicate that alignment process as the organization grows.
How should a follower of Jesus approach networking?
The word “networking” carries stigma simply because we’ve made meeting and getting to know people a means to an end – it’s become a transaction, rather than about building a relationship. We’ve seen people in every sector from for-profit to non-profit to local churches adopt an implicit attitude of “the ends justify the means” when it comes to relationship. For instance a non-profit might adopt partial-truths or truths with notable omission in order to raise enough money to sustain itself. We’re called to a different way of doing business, one that the world may view as impractical in which the relationship is prioritized above any immediate transaction. And while it’d be great to see every partnership opportunity as potential win-win scenarios, each of us has to decide whether we’re willing to embrace win-nothing relationships where we commit to serving others, even with no gain for ourselves.
How do you invest in the people around you at work?
Understanding what IS the purpose of business, the marketplace, and work is core to developing a world-view/philosophy of how to work with others. IF we see people as a part of the “means to an end”, then they are in essence a cog – maybe a highly paid cog, or an integral cog, but we are viewing them as “static” in development – personally & professionally.
But, if we see our role as to develop others, through the environment in the workplace, in accordance with their calling, then the primary objective…changes. The primary driver is not the organization, but rather every person, related to their gifting & calling. We will help them move out of their comfort zone, try new things, develop new skills – whatever may be needed for where they are going rather than just where they are at. This can be very difficult as it may mean advancing a person out of the organization, which may not be in the short-term best interest of the business. Yet, over time, IF an owner is known for doing the right things in development of their people she/he will attract leaders as a result & the company should grow accordingly. But, it’s not a 1-1 cause & effect approach. It takes faith and a willingness to do the right thing.