Growth & Inspiration

Your Questions, Answered!

By Kingdom At Work
February 18, 2022

During our last Kingdom Leadership Workshop, we received several questions during our Q&A with the Betenbough Companies senior leaders and other marketplace Kingdom leaders. If you are new to this movement, we hope these questions will serve as a helpful guide as you begin to put action into your Kingdom leadership journey!

Q: What are some practical ways we can hold employees accountable to their work while still being relational?
A: Define what you are holding people accountable to and walk with them. Have the courage to truly love your people. Be sure that they know that there is something you are concerned about, share it, then walk with them in that. It’s not an “either/or,” it’s a “both/and” — “truth and grace,” love and accountability.”

Q: If only a few of the leadership team is here (at the workshop), what’s the best way to present this new way of leadership, and get them on board?
A: We’ve learned from past workshop participants that it can be tough to go back and explain all of this to people who didn’t experience it with you — and even frustrating for the people you are trying to explain it to. Start by practicing what you’ve learned yourself. Ask the Lord what those conversations should look like. You can also share videos of the keynote talks from the workshop with your team. If you’re at the spot where you haven’t defined values, invite them in to help you define them! Oftentimes, the most helpful thing is to bring your full leadership team to a future workshop with you.

Q: How do you deal with someone who is blatantly against the purpose of the company?
A: If the employee is in a role where they don’t need to agree with the purpose, then all they have to do is not stand blatantly against it. They don’t necessarily have to believe in it. However, there are some roles that have to be aligned with the vision, like at the senior leadership level. If one of those people is blatantly against the vision – they may need to leave.

Q: At what level do the 1-on-1s stop? (operations, entry level, etc.)
A: The intention is that 1-on-1s are for everybody, and they don’t stop on a certain level. The point of 1-on-1s is a repeated connection that over time develops a relationship.

Q: What percentage of your budget is used in relationship building for each department? (coffee, lunches, team building, etc.)
A: There’s not a formula here.  Oftentimes this has more to do with where you spend your time and focus, and not necessarily money. If you are really wanting to get to know one another and invest in relationships, then determine what you have margin for in your business today. If people are important, you might have to stop doing something in your operation to make that the priority. The Bible teaches us that we reap what we sow. If you are sowing time into your people, what do you think you are going to reap?

Q: Most of your example stories come from businesses that are led by 2nd generation leaders (father to son). Do you think this is part of your domain of calling? Why is that pattern consistently recurring? Is there something to learn there?
A: If you’re asking about our calling, God has given us an apostolic mantle to take this into the marketplace. We believe He’s given it to you, too. As far as exclusivity to 2nd generation companies, we don’t believe that is the case. It is an interesting pattern pointed out in this question, but we’ve worked with a lot of companies that are also walking this out and don’t have that structure with their founders.

Q: How do you feel about the principle of tithing and how does that play out in your life?
A: You should do it. It’s in scripture. We each do it in our personal lives. If you’re talking about business, view as “we’ve been blessed, so we are to be a blessing.” When it comes to tithing as a business specifically, ask the Lord for direction in that for your business.

Q: How do you make a 1-on-1 more personable/intimate if you interact with the person daily?
A: One tip we’ve uncovered is to move your 1-on-1s to a more casual environment outside of the office or wherever you normally work. Ask how things are going outside of work. Ask about their family. Ask about their dreams for the future. Simply ask what is on their mind. Those types of conversations don’t usually come up in everyday conversation, even if you work with someone daily.

Q: What do you recommend if my boss/direct lead is not leading well and not benefitting the company or myself?
A: Share feedback with that person. Honor up, honor down, and honor all the way around. Leaders will be more receptive to feedback when they feel honored or respected. We would also encourage you to pray for them. Prayer is effective. God might use that to change their heart, and it will often change yours as well.

Q: How do you overcome hurt feelings with people who are not in a leadership group?
A: Be ready for it. It has happened in Betenbough at different times in our history. You weren’t called to leadership because it’s going to be easy. You are called into leadership because you are willing to do hard things for the company God has entrusted to you. Hurt feelings unaddressed can become bitterness, so be sure to communicate the “why” behind things. It’s a balance of showing grace for the person and trying to help them come along, but also not tolerating divisive behavior with the group you are shepherding. Ask God what that looks like in your specific circumstances.

Q: What contact management systems are you using to keep engagement and communication open within your organization?
A: Systems are something unique to each organizational culture; however, measuring engagement is something we’ve focused intentionally on through seasons of growth. We’ve found that a rhythm of regular two-way dialogue begins with individual leaders really knowing their teams and building trust with them over time. To confirm the culture is healthy or bring potential unhealthy dynamics to the light, we use confidential surveys of all of our employees about 2-3 times per year and use that feedback to coach our leaders.

Q: I’ve noticed many of the featured videos and panelists are men-led organizations; what is the ratio of women leaders within your organizations?
A: In our business, God has clearly invited us to focus on finding the best person for the role, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, etc. We focus on alignment with core values at every level of the organization, leader values for all leaders, and finally leader-of-leaders values for those in our senior leadership group. It is likely that we have more women leaders at every level across our organization than is typical of most American businesses, but specifically promoting leaders because they were female was never a goal – it just turns out women often make great leaders, too. It’s more about recognizing the gifts God gave someone rather than making decisions based on sex.

Q: How have you scaled your processes and systems to support rapid growth?
A: Team members in our company are committed to “growth” and “excellence” as core values. Front-line leaders are committed to being an “improver.” Senior leaders are committed to being “challengers/disruptors.” In the culture God has invited us to build, we are thinking about improving processes and systems to serve people, which means we’re willing to break a process or system to make it better. Sometimes that is targeted around rapid growth, other times that is because we want the people involved in that process/system to have a better experience (team members, suppliers, customers, etc.) We have focused on developing leaders and empowering them, which is a big part of how we’ve been able to grow by 30% year-over-year for more than a decade. We also have refined our “selection process” that we use to determine whether a candidate is the right fit for a role and for our core values – resulting in all of the new people we are hiring embracing and making our culture stronger, not diluting it.

Q: Other than DISC assessment, what are your best tools used during the selection process of your employees?A: Read more about the selection process here. If you would like to purchase a Leader’s Guide, you may do so here.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to those feeling stirred to start a Kingdom at Work action group?A: We would love to connect with you. We would also encourage you to take what you heard, saw, and felt and begin implementing it inside the organization God has entrusted to you – that is your greatest witness. Learn more about our Action Groups here.

Q: As your business has continued to grow, I would imagine you have had to change, alter, pivot, etc. – how do you encourage engagement/connection through change that might happen regularly? People tend to dislike change unless they author it, so how do you get buy-in from your employees?
A: A leader’s role is to engage their team early in the process of change. We don’t always do that perfectly, but when team members are invited to weigh-in on the change before a decision has been made, they often feel heard and their level of buy-in tends to be much higher. Our ‘disagree and commit’ philosophy fosters healthy conflict between team members (or stakeholders affected by a decision) in order to move forward in unity. We also have an intentional way of rolling out changes that encourages an interactive, two-way discussion, whether that is through cascading communication (see Leaders Guide) or small meetings like Town Halls. Part of how our “Generous Stewardship” core value plays out is to give people more than the “need to know” information. We also organize in small teams so leaders can know their people and be deeply engaged with them, which also helps keep everyone together through change. Ultimately, we do change a lot, which is part of our “Growth” core value. So, we specifically look to hire people who embrace change more than most, because that is part of our culture here. See the Leader’s Guide for more about this topic.

Q: During your selection and hiring process, how do you incorporate a cultural fit? Sample questions? What is most important to the organization in cultural fit?
A: Read more about the selection process here. If you would like to purchase a Leader’s Guide, you may do so here.

Q: How do you differentiate between misalignment of spiritual values and an opportunity for transformational growth in a person in your organization? What questions might determine that?
A: This is a tough question because the level of accountability or need for spiritual alignment can vary based on someone’s role in the organization. In general, you can ask yourself, how does this person respond to coaching or feedback? When confronted with the truth of their behavior, do they own their part (take responsibility) and adjust appropriately? Ask yourself if you are leading in a way that allows this person to flourish? Is this individual willing to submit to your authority? Evaluate the relationship you have with that person – do you know what motivates them and can you see God’s work in their life’s story? Can you call out their potential, both in the practical nature of their work and their spiritual growth?

Q: How do you balance being interruptible with productivity? Like having an employee that if you were always interruptible you would never get anything done because they talk – how do you establish boundaries?
A: As a leader, your mission is the team. We see this as an opportunity to build a real relationship with this team member. It may not be comfortable or convenient for you as the leader but investing time with your team member on a regular basis (e.g., the 1-on-1s) is a good place to start. We’re not saying you should let people walk all over your schedule or time; we are saying that people are God’s most treasured possession. Is your calendar packed so tight that it can’t allow interruption or an important, but not scheduled, conversation with someone you lead directly? If you never have time to be interrupted, then you may need to change. This can be an especially tough change for task-oriented people. But, if your team is your mission, and someone on your team needs help – is that an interruption or your job? Would God multiply the time you invest in a team member and give it back to you?

You can watch the February ’22 Kingdom Leadership Workshop Q&A here:

Remember, this is just a guide of things we have found helpful through trial and error. Your Kingdom leadership journey is your own. Have additional questions? Leave them in a comment below!

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