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Setting a Course: How to Clarify Vision and Implement Strategy for BAM Pioneers

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 2 of a series. Read Part 1 here.

 

Like many American kids growing up in the 70s and 80s, my parent’s car always had a copy of the Rand McNally Road Atlas under the seat. In fact, I’m certain my parents still keep one.

Our family habit was road trips to obscure points in middle-America, and sometimes I could sit in the front seat. That meant I took on the position of navigator. In my family, the navigator’s job was to hold the Atlas, make sure we stayed on route, and warn the driver (always my dad) of upcoming turns or changes in directions. It all felt so important. Indeed, sometimes it very much was. A more reliable GPS has replaced the Rand McNally Road Atlas in the lap of a 10-year-old navigator. But the fact remains: Navigation is a crucial part of any road trip.

 

Navigation is the primary task of leadership in a business.

 

Every business leader should know two things:

  • Where we’re going
  • How we’re getting there

In my consulting work with Growability®, we provide clients with a “business operating system” built on the three simple ingredients of every organization: Leadership, Management, and marketing. I can’t understate the crucial nature of each of these.

Let’s begin with the most foundational element.

  • Leadership is your business’ navigation system.
  • Leadership is the flour in your bread.
  • Leadership is the seed and the branches of your tree.

Leadership health is critical. Leadership toxicity will kill a business.

There are two critical tasks for leadership in your business.

1. Clarify vision
2. Implement strategy

Read more

How Can We Measure an Organisation’s Kingdom Impact?

by James Waters

Five years ago, I quit my job to explore whether it was possible to measure the Kingdom of God coming through businesses and non-profits all over the world. My background was researching and helping the largest secular development organisations understand if they were being effective. I had seen how measuring complex aspects of human social and economic well-being, and organisations’ processes could move from seemingly impossible, to practical and standardised. And yet the concept of measuring ‘spiritual impact’ remained elusive.

Five years later, after hundreds of conversations, dozens of metrics reviewed, multiple assessment tools developed and organisations analysed, I am convinced it is not only possible, but critical. 

Several years ago, BAM Global identified three Big Hair Audience Goals (BHAGs) for the BAM movement at large. In order to know if we are making progress according to the first BHAG: ‘Solve global issues with innovative BAM solutions’ — we need to know if BAM organisations within the movement are having an impact! The recent State of the BAM Movement Report we published in partnership with BAM Global indicated that indeed, many companies are tackling social and spiritual issues, but we want to have evidence of that impact.

Likewise, we want to be good stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. In my opinion, that looks like knowing the impact of our organisations or investments, so that we can a) help address the needs of those we are serving or working alongside more accurately, b) improve the processes of our organisations so we are more effective, and c) celebrate what God is doing with all our stakeholders.

But how can this be done? How can a Kingdom business leader move from anecdote about their spiritual and social impact, to actual evidence? And how can we become leaders who truly understand our Kingdom impact?[1]

The ‘How’ of Kingdom Impact Measurement

There are many ways to measure Kingdom Impact, but there are three key principles that I have learned from approaching this challenge to date:  Read more

Measuring the Impact and Performance of BAM: Intro to Metrics

Business as mission is hard. Very hard! Missionaries with little business experience but plenty of vision start businesses and struggle. Experienced business people start businesses in new countries or cultures and struggle. Too many business as mission (BAM) companies wander in the desert aimlessly. They need a compass to guide them—something to remind them of their direction and tell them if they are on track. Well designed and implemented metrics can help.

Metrics are measures. They are like the control panel on a car—the gauges, lights and dials that tell you how fast you’re going, how much fuel is left and whether you’re headed for trouble. You can drive a car without a fuel gauge or a speedometer, but you will likely run into serious trouble before too much time has passed.

Measures can be numbers, stories, graphs, or generalized reports. These metrics provide an insight into what’s really going on inside the operation. That matters to all who are working hard to see the business achieve its purpose—to glorify God.

Serious Questions

Do we know if business as mission is making a difference?

Can we tell if a business as mission company is doing well or poorly?

Do you know if your company is doing what it set out to do?

Do you know if you or your employees are doing their jobs and making a difference?

These are not simple questions and they deserve serious answers. Evaluating ministry is a challenge that makes many people uncomfortable. This discomfort is reasonable to some extent, as the focus of our ministry is service to God and we know that only God can judge his servants. At the same time we recognize that measurement is a tool for direction, like a compass, and applies to ministry as well as to other areas of life. Without knowing where we are or where we have been, it is impossible to chart a course for where we should go. This is especially true when the ministry is a business. We owe it to the many people who have made investments of time, money and prayer to do a fair and honest assessment of the work—both the effort and the results. That is part of the discipline of business.  Read more

Three Things the State of the BAM Movement Report Tells Us About BAM

by James Waters & Jo Plummer

As part of the lead-in to the BAM Global Congress last year, BAM Global, in partnership with Eido Research, conducted the State of the BAM Movement Survey to get a snapshot of the global business as mission movement. Watch James’ Video Introduction here.

In response to the Survey, Eido Research have produced a State of the BAM Movement Report. Here are three things it tells us:

1. The BAM Movement is Still Young, but Truly Global

Enough people responded to make a representative sample of our global list, and it revealed that it is still quite a young movement. The majority of companies are less than ten years old, and a good additional number (12% of surveyed) looking to start a business soon. However, the BAM Movement is truly global! Although there are a handful of countries where there is a concentration of BAM businesses, there is a diverse global spread.

 

The global map above shows the distribution of active BAM businesses,
according to their turnover. Each dot represents a country, the size of the
dot represents the number of businesses in that country, and the colour represents the average turnover.

 

As João Mordomo writes for the Foreword for Neal Johnson’s new book on BAM, “Business as mission is not a new concept. It has, however, taken on new meaning for the church and her mission in the 21st Century. The modern BAM Movement started about 25 years ago and, like other great movements of God — being God-ordained, God-ignited, God-led, and God-blessed — it began to take shape simultaneously in different places around the global by way of different and diverse groups of people.”

Read more

The State of the BAM Movement Report Overview [Video]

Video Presentation by James Waters

 

 James Waters of Eido Research shares some preliminary findings from the results of the State of the BAM Movement Survey – recorded at the BAM Global Congress in April 2021.

>>Download State of the Movement Report Here

Read more

7 Markers for a Kingdom Business: A Framework for Entrepreneurs

TOP 5 BLOGS IN 5 YEARS

This month we are celebrating 5 years of publishing weekly blogs on The BAM Review and sending out bi-weekly emails!  To celebrate, we are re-posting the TOP 5 most read blogs from the past 5 years for your reading enjoyment.

by Courtney Rountree Mills

A quick framework to help entrepreneurs learn how to integrate their faith life with their business life in a practical way.

Let’s face it. Life is hard enough as an entrepreneur. The whole world always seems to be resting on your shoulders. The pressure to succeed is immense. After all, if you don’t, you let down not only yourself and your family, but also your staff and their families! What gets you through the pressure? Mainly prayer and the passion you have for your business. You love the challenge of being an entrepreneur. It energizes you more than almost anything else. Sometimes thinking about your business becomes more like an addiction – you could work on or think through challenges you face all day, every day and never feel like you are completely caught up.

The only thing you care about more than your business is your relationship with Jesus and your family. Still, it seems your business ends up taking over your prayer life and family life, too. You keep hearing about how you should live an integrated life, but you have no practical idea how to achieve this. You hear people around you using the phrases “Kingdom Business” or “Missional Business.” These sound great to you, but you don’t even know what the definition of a Kingdom Business is. Measuring your business’ Key Performance Indicators is easy, but how do you measure your KPIs when it comes to integrating your life as a believer and business owner? This article provides a quick framework to help entrepreneurs live out their faith in their business. This is a topic that resonated most with the 450 entrepreneurs we have accelerated who were asking the same question. Most of this is not material I wrote. Rather, it is a compilation of some of the best material I have found on living out business as mission.

Kingdom Business: The Definition

First, what is a Kingdom business? The best definition I found is one I slightly adapted from Acton School of Business in partnership with Gateway Church:

A kingdom business is an enterprise directed by the Holy Spirit and managed by a godly leader that uses its time, talent, and money to meet the spiritual and/or physical needs of the community around them to advance God’s purpose.

Ok good. We’ve defined it. Sounds pretty simple right? Now, let’s break apart this definition piece by piece to define the characteristics of a Kingdom Business. From this definition, Acton matched 6 characteristics they believe a Kingdom Business should exhibit. Each one has an associated question you can use to evaluate yourself and your business. I have slightly modified this framework to add a seventh dimension (“Reflection of God’s Character”) that I think is quite helpful. Read more

The Real Finish Line: Maximising Missional Potential

How do you know your BAM project is achieving all it can for the Kingdom of God?

This is a challenging questions to answer for many leaders of BAM projects.  Often at a loss as how to measure anything spiritual, it leads to those nebulous statements such as: ‘Jesus is the centre of everything we do’ when questioned.

But it doesn’t have to be nebulous.

It IS possible to measure the progress towards your spiritual goals, but in order to do that you need to know what the target is.

Key Concept – Missional Potential

Not all BAM projects are able to impact for the Kingdom at the same level.  When we opened a data entry company that had Christian employees working for Christian customers, we realised that this was a very limited ‘fishing pool’ from which we were able to impact the Kingdom through evangelism.  The enterprise just didn’t ‘touch’ many people who were not already Christian.

As a response, we opened a bakery in a much busier part of town.  The bakery, by way of the nature of its business model, had many more interactions with people ‘far from God’ and so had much more potential for reaching people for Christ.

Is it fair to expect the data entry business to achieve the same level of spiritual fruit as the bakery?  We think not.  So what is the standard we are measuring the projects by?

The answer?  Each project needs to maximise its missional potential.

The Real Finish Line

By evaluating what the full missional potential is for your project, you now have a target to shoot for.  A finish line to work towards.

Read more

Procurement and Technology 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 sixth and final part of the series, we continue to examine the support activities of the value chain, this time focusing on Procurement and Technology.

 

800px-Porter_Value_Chain

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

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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.

 

800px-Porter_Value_Chain

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

Read more

The Role of Business Leadership Through a Spiritual Lens

by Ross O’Brien

This article picks up where we left off last year in the series on Value Chain Analysis Through a Spiritual Lens. 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.

As we continue examining the way the value chain analysis can be useful, we need to keep in mind that these activities do not operate in isolation or for their own purposes. The activities in one functional area impact other areas and must be coordinated to help the company achieve its overall strategic objectives.

For example, if a firm takes a differentiation strategy in which its products, services, brand and marketing messages are unique from its competitors, then every functional area must seek to add value to achieving that objective of uniqueness. A company like Apple spends significant money on R&D, quality components and exceptional advertising to set its products apart. Primary activities including inbound logistics (sourcing components), production (quality control processes), and sales and marketing (advertising) must all support this objective, as well as the support activities of procurement (spending the necessary money to ensure differentiation) and human resources management (hiring, training, evaluating and compensating the kind of employees who will maintain the standards of excellence needed).

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