Leader’s Pocket Guide: The Center Of What We Do

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The best leaders not only lead well but also reflect on their leadership long enough and thoughtfully enough to articulate the philosophies that cause them to do so. Whether serving in the marketplace or in ministry, good leaders can pinpoint the rationale for their actions and decisions with the ease of reciting their home address. – Bill Hybels

Rick and Ron Betenbough, founders of Betenbough Homes, serving at luncheon

Rick and Ron Betenbough, founders of Betenbough Homes, serving at luncheon

Our leadership style at Betenbough Homes is different than most other organizations. Some of those differences are subtle and others more radical, but they all play into the culture and success we have here. A few of these differences come from principles instilled by our founders, and others grew organically in the management team over time. For the longest time I thought this was tribal knowledge that couldn’t be put in words, but only learned through osmosis as you worked on the management team and saw how others went about their business and served their teams. While that may be true for some elements, it turns out there is a considerable amount of our ideology we can articulate.

So over the past few years, I have written the Betenbough Homes Leader’s Pocket Guide, which is a little 100 page book (really does fit in your pocket) that covers the most important principles and philosophies. It proved difficult to pinpoint these concepts and put definition to them, but I thought this effort would help create clarity and alignment in our growing organization, and also help future leaders more quickly understand the dynamics of how we lead and make decisions. For each point, I tried to find the most concise and clear way to illustrate the core concept, whether that was adapting and adding to an excerpt another author had written or writing it myself from scratch. Each concept was condensed into a terse, bite-size article that presents the idea in as few words as possible.

The Center of What We Do – by Rick Betenbough
As a leader in our company, your job is not building homes, but building people. Your charge is to see people for what they could be, and raise them up to their maximum potential. This is the absolute center of what we do. Leaders anoint kings. They see greatness in people before they are great, then challenge them and help them get there.

In the movie Kingdom of Heaven, there was a scene where the enemy was closing in and the leader decides to knight all of the men about to face battle. Someone asked “Does knighting a man make him a better fighter?” The answer is yes. Calling out the greatness you see in someone can sometimes be what brings it into being.

As a leader, you must be engaged daily with your team. They are your mission – their work is their mission. Don’t do their job for them. Make sure they have everything they need, then let them do it. Don’t be quick to give them the answer, but help lead them to their own answer.

One of the first things Jesus did was build a team, and the makeup and cohesion of that team was a top priority to him. We don’t hire superstars here – we hire team members. We believe most of the skills someone needs to succeed in their job can be taught, so when hiring we try to focus more on their potential and how they would fit with the team.

One of our central themes is asking people to take care of what is right in front of them. If they don’t, then move on. If they do, give them some more.


The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25, The Message)
It’s also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave $5,000, to another $2,000, to a third $1,000, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master’s investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master’s money.

After a long absence, the master of those three servants came back and settled up with them. The one given $5,000 showed him how he had doubled his investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”

The servant with the $2,000 showed how he also had doubled his master’s investment. His master commended him: “Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.”

The servant given $1,000 said, “Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.”

The master was furious. “That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.

Take the $1,000 and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this ‘play-it-safe’ who won’t go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness.”

Look for those moments when your team members have conquered an area and need to be challenged with something else. As a leader, your job is to help everyone get to the next level … even if it is your job! Should you succeed, God will bless you with something else and more territory to conquer. Share everything you know and have with your team, and God will bless you with more.

Jesus Christ submitted to God, his father, recruited a team, engaged with them daily, recognized the greatness within them, and anointed them as leaders … all in the mission to change the world! 2,000 years later their work is still changing the world.

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