BUFFETT’S THREE KEY QUESTIONS
Warren Buffett is recognised as the world’s greatest business investor. I was intrigued to read the process he follows when he considers investing in a company. His investments are sizable and for the long-term. He begins by studying the history, mission statement and financial records of the prospective company. He reads and reflects on past performances. If all these appear promising, Warren Buffett personally visits the main office to talk to the President, Vice President and the CEO of the company. With his eagle eye, he observes how these top men speak and relate to their staff. He sniffs out the ambience in the operational hub. Before he makes his decision for his company Berkshire-Hathaway to invest its millions, he asks three questions.
DO I LIKE THEM?
DO I TRUST THEM?
DO I RESPECT THEM?
IF THERE IS A SINGLE “NO” TO ANY OF THE THREE QUESTIONS, Buffett refuses to invest a single cent in that corporation.
I’ve met pastors and chief executives of Christian agencies who often lament that they do not have many “A” Team people that can make vital contributions to the growth of their churches and operations. They fervently pray to the Lord to send gifted and committed men and women. Pious wishes. But their prayers don’t seem to be answered.
I have been in churches and organisations where men and women of high calibre – both spiritually and professionally see God enthusiastically involved ministries with exponential growth. Before they commit themselves to support these with their time, talent and resources, they raise the three questions that Warren Buffett asks. I once asked a godly entrepreneur as to why he backed his church wholeheartedly through his service as an elder of the congregation. His reply was simple and direct. “I buy into the vision of the Pastor and his associates. I’m impressed by their transparency, integrity and humility. They are honoured by the Lord and the members in the church.”
If you exercise leadership as pastor, director or manager how would you measure up to Buffett’s questions. Am I sincerely liked/loved by my team and constituency? Do they see me as Mr/Ms Credibility? Do others honour and respect me – my character, words and actions?
As a leader, I’m fully aware of my imperfections and limitations. My co-workers and my constituency see me as one who attempts to walk my talk, to deliver what I promise. When I fail, I apologise and ask them to pray for me so that I will grow into the leader that God wants me to be. I’ve made mistakes recruiting staff that did not share the DNA of our church. One was unwittingly instrumental in driving several key members away by his charming turned toxic personality. If only I had applied Buffett’s questions before their recruitment. Ponder through Buffett’s three key questions and seek to develop a culture of love, trust and honour.
THE SMALL B!G by Steve Martin
I borrowed this paperback from my local library and wished I had my own copy so that I can underline and capture its rich and practical insights. Written by three behavioural psychologists, I found it extremely useful for motivating people and providing them with incentives to switch from bad habits, mediocrity and boredom to passionately adopting life-changing values.
The title THE SMALL B!G speaks of how little changes and shifts can result in enormous differences and outcome. There are 52 short chapters and to whet your appetite, I shall share some of the chapter headings.What SMALL BIG can persuade people to pay their taxes on time
What SMALL BIG can persuade people to go against the crowd
What SMALL steps can lead to BIG leaps when building relationships, partnerships and team work
What SMALL BIG can reduce people’s tendency to procrastinate (and yours too!)
What SMALL BIG can help you to lead more productive meetings
What SMALL BIG can encourage more creative thinking
What surprisingly simple SMALL BIG can get you the help you need
How might a SMALL touch lead to a BIG increase in value
Please note that these are not gimmicks; they are based on extensive research.
Sample Like tax collectors in a lot of countries, officials in Britain’s, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC) had a problem. Too many of her citizens were not submitting their tax returns and paying what they owed on time.
For years HMRC posted letters and communication targeted at late payers. These were focussed on consequences…if they failed to respond and pay on time, they will face interest charges, late fees and legal actions. For some these traditional approaches work well but for many others they do not. In 2009, HMRC consulted the authors for an alternative approach informed by persuasion science. All it involved was one small change: a single sentence added to their standard letter.
So, what exactly was this small change? We simply (and truthfully) informed the recipients of the large number of citizens who actually pay their taxes on time.
(In 2008 HMRC collected 290 million out of a possible 510 million pounds – a clearance rate of 57%. In 2009, HMRC collected 560 million out of 650 million debt – a clearance rate of 86%)
But why should so many thousands of people feel compelled to mail in their checks on the basis of a small change to the letter? The answer lies in the fundamental principle of human behaviour that scientists call social proof – the evidence of the crowd. It means that people’s behaviour is largely shaped by the behaviours of those around them, especially those with whom they strongly identify. (pp9,10.)
Two products were on display.
One lot of customers were invited to touch them.
The other to view but they were not to handle them.
The lot that touched purchased significantly more of the products. Sellers tend to fix a higher price for objects they personally touch.
What about online shopping?
Successful adverts invite customer to imagine that they could touch see and feel the objects they are thinking of purchasing.
At a seminar, participants will read materials in a bag or file that someone has personally given them.
Again, the personal touch. ( pp 243-246)
CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE
If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.
Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.
Sean Covey listed what he called the Six Metastasizing Victimism Cancers:
Select a portion of scripture, then use the following stages:
Take time and slowly read the passage more than once. Pay attention to a verse, a word or phrase that jumps out at you.
Keep focusing on the verse, word or phrase that grabs your attention. Try not to analyse it but as the Lord what he wants to say through it.
Offer your responses to God in prayer. Let his Spirit guide and empower you. Journaling i.e. writing down your thoughts can be immensely helpful.
Be still by relaxing in his presence. Let his Word permeate your whole being.” Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…”
How to Engage with Memory Loss and Build Community
Dementia can be a dark place and it raises many dark questions. When people forget who they are, where is God in it all?
This booklet explores how memory cafés can help churches to support and bring joy to an increasingly isolated group. It proclaims loudly that God loves people of all faiths and none—all equally precious in his eyes—and wants everyone to thrive as part of a community.
Steve Morris, Vicar of St Cuthbert Rev. Church. Wembley UK is also an avid reader of NOTES & QUOTES