Excerpted from The Good Book on Business by Dave Kahle
Performance Systematix, Inc. is a manufacturer of packing solutions which utilize a high-tech venting technology. The business has been in existence for about 30 years and has seen some remarkable growth in the last decade.
Glenn Dunn, company president, works hard to implement a Biblical culture within the organization. He came to that place in an unusual way. Glenn was hired, as a vice-president, to open up a European division of the company. Shortly thereafter, he was approached by one of the employees, who delivered a memo to him, signed by the majority of the employees in the company, asking permission to pray together for the success of the European initiative. Glenn knew then that there was something special, in a spiritual sense, in that business.
Two years later, he was appointed the president. In the next 2 1/2 years, the business doubled in size. “I’m a good businessman,” Glenn says, “but I’m not that good.” He attributes the growth to God. “My role is to get out of God’s way, to pray and to wait on Him to move within the business.”
Believing that God wanted to be involved in the business, Glenn first had to invite Him in and open himself to God’s involvement in the business. That meant beginning with a commitment to a personal “surrender.” “I had to give up my personal ego, pray a lot, and wait on God. I had to first be willing to listen, and then be willing to be obedient.”
That takes a disciplined approach. Glenn begins every day in private prayer, and then walks through the facility, chatting with the employees and praying for them and the business. He will often ask someone who is going through a difficult time if he can pray for them.
According to him, “Most of our learning, both as a business as well as in regards to our faith, comes as a result of a time of crises. My job is to come alongside of them, to remove any hint of fear, and to help them grow.”
This concern for the well-being of the company’s employees is one of the identifying characteristics of the Biblical business. It expresses itself in some tangible ways in Performance Systematics. “We have, on more than one occasion, kept someone on the payroll for a year or more when they were unable to perform their duties,” Glenn says. “We constantly challenge people to grow, both spiritually and in their business acumen.”
Waiting on God to work in the business, to create opportunities for spiritual and business growth, has resulted in significant progress in both areas. The business is highly profitable and has no debt. Spiritually, Glenn has a sense of ‘the body of Christ working within this company.’ Every Thursday at lunchtime, for example, a group of employees meet outside of the business for a Bible study, which is open to everyone
What is unique in Glenn’s experience is the fact that he is not an owner, but works for an owner who does not share the depth of Glenn’s spiritual commitment. The owner has given Glenn leeway to manage the business in a Biblical manner.
“It’s a wise business decision for him to do so,” Glenn remarked. “He gets an executive who has integrity, who treats people well – both of which are good business traits, regardless of one’s spiritual inclinations.”
And, the business has prospered under that approach. “Doing business God’s way is just good business – regardless of your spiritual motivation.”