Adding Salt: How to Build and Manage Teams That Work

by Bernie Anderson

My name is Bernie Anderson and I have the honor of taking over the BAM blog for the next several weeks. I am a certified business and nonprofit consultant with Growability® – read more in my bio below. 

This is Part 4 of a series. Read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Thank you for following along with this month with this series on business basics. My prayer is that this series of articles will be an ongoing resource for your BAM project.

Like baking a great loaf of bread, we build every organization with three simple ingredients: leadership, marketing, and management.

If leadership is the flour and marketing is the water, I consider management the salt.

While prepping the dough for my loaf of sourdough this week, I mulled over the necessity of salt. Why does bread need salt? In theory, it’s possible to create a loaf of bread with just flour and water, give it some time to ferment the natural yeast, and a perfectly serviceable loaf of bread should appear.

But, without salt, nothing about the loaf of bread will be right. It will have the wrong flavor, texture, and consistency. Salt regulates the yeast, strengthens the dough, and brings out the beautiful complex flavors of a great loaf of sourdough. Salt is essential.

Like good management in your business.

Many consider management in basic terms of resources, operations, and finance. And it’s true, all this is involved. But the heart of management is people. Management is the salt of your business because management is the most human element of your business. Continuing with the Growability® Business Operating System as a model, think of management as having two parts:

1. Empowering Teamwork
2. Equipping Managers


Empowering Teamwork

The diversity of your team creates a diversity of opportunities. Many BAM teams are cross-cultural by nature. All BAM teams will bring together a variety of strengths and personalities that make your business unique. Community creates and expands creativity. An excellent team is also critical for capacity. Teamwork facilitates both multiplication and stability in your business. Never forget, God delights in and blesses common unity and teamwork (Psalm 131). Joy is an overflow from quality human relationships.

Global business has a reputation of building teams of human beings in some of the most inhuman ways. We hear horror stories of companies who entice employees with the promise of high pay, but to keep the pay coming, workers must sacrifice their humanity. Golden handcuffs, indeed. While paying your team their value is important, it’s not everything. In his book, The Heart of Business, former Best Buy CEO Hubert Joly says:

The carrot and the stick are pervasive and persuasive motivators. But if you treat people like donkeys, they will perform like donkeys.

Your BAM project should be different.

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A Thread in a Tapestry Part 2: Tools to Understand Who I Am in the Context of My Community

In last week’s blog, we discussed understanding ourselves as threads tightly woven by God into a tapestry of community and purpose. This week we’re passing along some great resources and practical steps to pair with part 1.

God gifted each of us with unique skill sets, talents, and abilities to speak into the lives of others. In celebration of that, we have chosen some resources that have helped others 1) identify the gifts and abilities God has given them, and 2) navigate how to use those skills in workplaces and communities.

Without further ado, let’s look at some resources. ‌

Understanding ourselves in BAM

First things first, a great way for someone to understand how their personal calling to business might play out in the context of what God is doing around the world is for them to attend a BAM conference. The BAM Global Summit (online) is coming up this week and provides excellent opportunities for people to discover opportunities to contribute their skills and experiences and hear how God is using others with similar callings to fulfill His Kingdom’s purposes.

BAM Global conferences are community-driven and centered on connection. People all over the world come together to share stories and exchange experiences. As we listen and share we begin to develop a greater understanding of the grand tapestry God is weaving around the world through BAM. For some of us, we may begin to better understand the ways God has been preparing us and what He is calling us to do. Having this sacred time to sit with God and hear from the global church body practicing business for His kingdom is a great opportunity to reflect or launch into something new. We leave with fresh ideas, strategies, and a better understanding of how we fit and how we can impact others. Read more

A Thread in a Tapestry: How God has Woven Us into His Story

Our individual stories are like the “threads in the tapestry” that make up the story of mankind. Each unique thread contributes to the whole picture. This week in The BAM Review, we will use this metaphor as we consider our stories in the context of God’s story, business as mission, and the stories of people around us.

A thread cannot see the whole picture of the tapestry, but the Maker of the tapestry can

Understanding how and where we fit into God’s story is complicated. We’ll never fully know the reason we’ve been woven into the relationships, positions of authority, communities, or situations we are in now.

This can be intensified for BAMers, who are often part of a challenging and complex picture. At some points we might have the most authority in the room, at others we may have the least. Some of us may have many friends, people we’re discipling, and feel rooted in our communities. Others of us may feel outsiders as we grapple with language and cultural differences. Some may have thriving businesses and the capacity to expand. Others of us may have been trying for years and never made it into the black. Many of us have gone between these extremes. Yet God is capable of weaving all of our experiences and all of these extremes into a glorious tapestry. He is able to redeem our circumstances to His glory. In the process, He has more innovative and creative solutions than we ever could imagine.

As just one thread in the tapestry, we know that in our most intensely dry, brittle seasons and in our most glorious and beautiful seasons, we are being woven by Him. God will weave our complicated stories into his big picture, even if we never are able to see the whole.

A thread is deeply interwoven with other threads around it and cannot be separated from the tapestry

A tapestry must be tightly and strategically woven or else it is just a pile of threads, not a picture. Business and mission are both relationship-oriented and we can clearly see how intertwined, dependent upon, and connected we are with other people – the other threads in our picture.

As business people, we consider others daily. How are we providing value for our customers? How are we benefiting our stakeholders? We consider and weigh our interactions with employees, bosses, coworkers, teammates, and the surrounding community. We have more reason than most to deeply consider our interactions with others because the life of the business depends on it. In business we are acutely aware of our connectedness to, and our dependence upon, other people.  Read more

Passing it On: BAM Succession Planning and Exit Strategies

by David Skews

Editors Note: When we asked veteran BAM leaders to identify some of the pressing issues that are facing the business as mission movement in the next decade, among the issues they identified were several areas that could broadly be categorized as ‘resource gaps for BAM companies’, including:

1. Adequate financial capital flow.

2. Adequate human capital flow – both in terms of a) recruiting the right kind of people to begin and sustain a BAM company, and b) succession planning and the successful transition of a BAM company from one generation of owners to another.

3. Adequate support for BAM practitioners, especially mentoring, accountability and care.

We will be posting articles covering each of these issues during the month of June, continuing with the challenge of human capital flow, part b: succession planning.

BAM Succession Planning & Exit Strategies

In the beginning God created a BAM Business but when is it time to pass it on?

I can guess why I was asked to write something on exit strategies by the editorial team!

Having founded a business in the UK in the 1980s, I later realised how it might be used by God with the help of a BAM conference I attended in 2003. Scaling the business was tricky, opening offices in Singapore and then into Southeast Asia. We had a bumpy ride in the 2010s and I completed my exit strategy through the sale of the company – specifically, a management buyout (MBO) – in 2014.

I am currently engaged in advising over 100 BAM businesses on their journey from pre start-up to lean start-up, and now some scaling-up. I am currently working with a BAM business in Asia that is planning the succession of owners, along with a collaboration of two BAM companies as part of a medium-term exit plan.  Read more

People, People, People! Human Capital Flow for BAM Companies

by Peter Shaukat

Editors Note: When we asked veteran BAM leaders to identify some of the pressing issues that are facing the business as mission movement in the next decade, among the issues they identified were several areas that could broadly be categorized as ‘resource gaps for BAM companies’, including:

1. Adequate financial capital flow.

2. Adequate human capital flow – both in terms of a) recruiting the right kind of people to begin and sustain a BAM company, and b) succession planning and the successful transition of a BAM company from one generation of owners to another.

3. Adequate support for BAM practitioners, especially mentoring, accountability and care.

We will be posting articles covering each of these issues during the month of June, continuing with the challenge of human capital flow.

Human Capital Flow for BAM Companies

To some ears, the term “human capital”, especially when applied to the BAM movement, might sound strange, secular, and mercenary – even exploitative.

According to the OECD, human capital is defined as: “the knowledge, skills, competencies and other attributes embodied in individuals or groups of individuals acquired during their life and used to produce goods, services or ideas in market circumstances”.

There is, therefore, nothing at all shameful in this use of the term. Indeed, if the BAM movement is predicated on the assumption that God’s pleasure is to create good things for the benefit of all, and that the marketplace is part of the divine design for how society is intended to function, then we should rejoice in being a part of that process and outcome. This doesn’t mean we are ciphers or cogs in some impersonal machine, for this would entirely negate the splendid truth that we are persons, made in the image of our Father in Heaven.  Read more

Human Resource Management Through a Spiritual Lens

by Ross O’Brien

In this series of blog posts, we have been looking at Porter’s Value Chain Analysis as a useful tool for business people seeking to maximize the value they deliver to customers while also seeking to gain a competitive advantage as they execute their strategy. If you have not yet read the previous articles, let me encourage you to read at least the introductory article linked here, as it will set the foundation for this and all the other articles in the series.

Beyond the traditional use of the analysis, we have also unpacked how the tool could be used as a way to help a follower of Jesus steward the resources of God’s company. In this fifth part of the series, we continue to examine the support activities of the value chain, this time focusing on Human Resource Management.



Dinesh Pratap Singh’s visualization for Porter’s Value Chain: CC BY-SA 3.0 

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A Potluck Approach: Engaging the Marginalized with Meaningful Work

by Stu Minshew

Work is good, and we are called to glorify God through the work that we do, but what does that look like in our day-to-day lives as entrepreneurs and Kingdom businesspeople? A new book by Michael Rhodes and Robby Holt, Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give, has challenged me to intentionally consider how I can provide employment opportunities for those on the margins of society. Today, I want to share two key takeaways for as we seek to engage those on the margins through our work.

Where Do We Start: Potluck vs. Soup Kitchen

No matter where we live and work, we are surrounded by those in need. Many individuals, and even entire groups of people, live on the margins of our society. There are those who have committed crimes and served time in jail, those treated as inferior because of their race or ethnicity, members of low-income communities, single moms, and the elderly. Almost everywhere in the world, these individuals are afforded less encouragement and fewer opportunities for work, and are often prevented from even pursuing meaningful work.

How should Christians respond? We must start by realizing the value inherent in each individual, a value that comes from the fact that they are created and loved by God. As His followers, we are also called to love them and we demonstrate that love in the way we engage them.  Read more

Workplace Relationships: Loving Your Employees

by Michael Thiessen

As a business owner, you provide many amazing things for your employees. You provide financial security for their families, a sense of belonging, and the emotional well-being and satisfaction that comes from doing good work. However, if Jesus were running a business, do you think he would stop there?

I believe that we are called to much more than that. We have so many more opportunities to bless our employees and care for them – to love our neighbors as ourselves. We can learn leadership lessons from Jesus, think more deeply and compassionately about who we are hiring, find ways to engage spiritually with our employees, plus some other great ways of caring more for our employees.

Leadership Lessons from Jesus

In true biblical fashion, it turns out that the best way to lead others is to serve them. Stephen Covey, who wrote one of the best-selling business books of all-time, was an advocate of this style of leadership, aptly called Servant Leadership. This is also the style of leadership that Jesus used throughout his ministry. We see this in how he washed the feet of the apostles, humbling himself to serve them even though he was their King. In fact, one of the people I have interviewed for Marketplace Disciples has based their entire business on teaching others how to lead in this way. Jannice Moore coaches the boards of businesses and non-profits, and gets to share the story of Jesus with all of her clients:

“The model of governance in which my business specializes is Policy Governance ®. One of its fundamental principles is that the board is not there for itself, but for its owners, those on whose behalf it governs, and that the board’s relationship with those owners should be one of servant-leadership.

So I build the concept of servant-leadership into every presentation, and use it as an opportunity to note that the concept was one taught by Jesus Christ.” Read more

Three Female BAM Owners Tell Us Their HR Stories

Three female BAM owners share their Human Resource stories from around the world – from Mongolia to Turkey to Puerto Rico! People issues can make or break a BAM company. Listen in to these real-life experiences.

hospitalityJulia in Mongolia – Hospitality Industry

Keeping staff steady has been a major challenge! We have had a 10 year saga of people leaving just when we have them trained or half trained. We have also had struggles with people who don’t show up for work, some legitimate, some not. Many have had pressure from family to get work elsewhere for a better salary. This is understandable as many of my workers, mostly young people aged 19-24, are the only providers for their families, parents, and siblings. But what I don’t understand is why they often quit before they find another job!

On the other hand, we have had a pretty good success rate building staff loyalty by setting up flexible schedules that were doable for mothers and students. We have tried to prioritize strong families and build staff schedules that are hand-tailored to their needs. They stay on because no other business takes these things into consideration. We have built very loyal workers from this. Read more

The Risk of Making Assumptions When Hiring Christians

by Jim Nelson

Making the right hiring decisions is crucial to a company’s well-being. From a BAM company perspective, I have sought to hire local Christians to work for me. By our shared faith, we can understand each other better and seek Kingdom values in the company and surrounding community. If proper research, interviewing and trust building is cut short, the consequences I have experienced have been less than ideal. Here are a few stories of lessons I learned in hiring Christians to work for my business.

Caught Off-Gaurd

In 1999, I had a chance to open an office in a new business area. An older Chinese Christian recommended I hire Zhang, a Chinese Christian who could speak the local dialect. I interviewed him on his business thinking and agreed to let him manage the office. I felt the older Chinese Christian who recommended him knew about his faith, so I did not bring up the topic during the interview.

Zhang then hired two local Christians to join the team. I learned that the local Christians he hired did not own Bibles so we eagerly provided them. We assumed all were Christian and ethical to run the business. The business soon had trouble and I realized that Zhang could not be trusted. We found he had stolen a few hundred dollars. I let him go.

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