Dear EICC Members:
The Embassy International Chamber of Commerce, Inc. (EICC) trusts that you had a wonderful and prosperous week!! In this email, we will continue our study on leadership. Why are we studying leadership? Well, according to Mike Myatt, “Businesses don’t fail – leaders do.” So, one of the best ways to help businesses succeed is to build better leaders. This is one of the reasons that the EICC meets every Saturday morning to search the Scriptures for business principles. We believe that God is the ultimate business leader and that He deposited His business acumen in the Scriptures. We also believe that if we adopt His thoughts as our thoughts and adopt His business practices as our business practices then we will become better leaders and our businesses will succeed AND advance God’s Kingdom agenda in the Earth.
Currently, the EICC meets every Saturday morning at Panera Bread Company, 8200 Mall Parkway, Lithonia, GA. The meetings begin at 7:00 AM and end at 8:30 AM. You are invited to attend. Additionally, the EICC is contemplating launching an evening group as well. If you would like for the EICC to launch an evening group, please send your name and telephone number to firstname.lastname@example.org. Also in the email include the best day and time for you to meet on a weekly basis.
For several weeks, we have been studying leadership in the Book of Exodus. Thus far, our focus has been on Chapters 1-14, which describes the liberation of the Children of Israel from their Egyptian slavery. In these Chapters, we noticed that there are three primary leaders: God, Pharaoh, and Moses. This past week, we analyzed this story from Pharaoh’s leadership perspective.
The title “Pharaoh” was not reserved to one particular person. Rather, “Pharaoh” was the title given to the king of Egypt. So, throughout Egypt’s history, there were several Pharaohs. As it relates to Exodus Chapter 1-14, there were 2 Pharaohs discussed. One Pharaoh was discussed in Chapters 1-2, and the other Pharaoh was discussed in Chapters 3-14.
Fear Leads To Poor Leadership Decisions
The first Pharaoh was a fearful leader and his fear caused him to make poor leadership decisions. Pharaoh was the leader of the most power nation on the face of the Earth. He also led the most powerful army as well. Notwithstanding this, Pharaoh was fearful of the slaves in his country (i.e., the Children of Israel). Pharaoh believed that the slaves were mightier than the Egyptians (See, Exodus 1:9), and he was afraid of what would happen if the slaves decided to join with Egypt’s enemies and fight against Egypt (See, Exodus 1:10). As a result of this fear, Pharaoh decided to deal shrewdly with the slaves. In particular, he ordered his people to afflict the slaves with burdens. He also decided to kill all of slaves’ baby boys. Stated differently, Pharaoh decided to overwork and kill his employees. What kind of company do you expect to have if you overwork and kill your employees?
Next, consider the fact that Pharaoh decided to deal shrewdly with his employees. He could have dealt fairly with them. He could have dealt honestly with them. He could have dealt wisely with them. But he did not. Why? Because he was afraid.
What leadership lessons can we learn from this? First, do not compare yourself to other people. Pharaoh’s fear came from comparing the Egyptians to the Israelites (“Look, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier that we” Ex. 1:9). If you compare yourself to others, you will inevitably discount and demean the God-given gifts and talents that you have, and you will envy and covet the gifts that others have.
Second, do not make decisions from a position of fear. When you make decisions based on fear, you will do so to either protect yourself or to destroy your “opponent”. Instead, when fear is removed from the equation, you are free to make decisions that are win-win for everyone including your “opponent”. You can not think in terms of win-win when you are operating in fear.
Third, do not mistreat your employees or subordinates.
Arrogance Leads To Uninformed Decisions
The second Pharaoh described in Exodus Chapters 1-14 was an arrogant leader and his arrogance caused him to make uninformed leadership decisions. In Chapters 3-14, we see Pharaoh making decisions without requesting, and without heeding, the advice of his counselors. You may recall the story. Moses went to Pharaoh and said, “Let my people go.” Then Moses performed a sign for Pharaoh to persuade him to let the people go. The first sign was Moses’ rod turned into a snake. Pharaoh’s magicians made their rods turn into snakes as well. But, Moses’ snake/rod ate the magicians’ snake/rods thereby demonstrating that God is mightier than the Egyptians. But, arrogant Pharaoh missed the message and refused to let the Israelites go.
Next, Moses performed two other signs which Pharaoh’s magicians performed also. But, after the third sign, Pharaoh’s magicians could no longer compete with God. In fact, on the fourth sign (the plague of lice), the magicians (Pharaoh’s counselors) told Pharaoh that “This is the finger of God.” (See, Ex. 8:19). But, arrogant Pharaoh ignored their counsel and made his own decision. Afterwards, Moses performed sign after sign demonstrating to Pharaoh that God was commanding him to release the slaves but Pharaoh arrogantly and stubbornly refused.
Now, even though Pharaoh was stubbornly refusing to listen, some of his people were not. The Scriptures record that after the plague of hail was announced, “[the Egyptians] who feared the word of the LORD … made [their] servants and [their] livestock flee to the houses.” (See, Ex. 9:20). Pharaoh should have listened to and heeded what his people were doing. But, he did not.
Pharaoh’s people started counseling him and telling him, “How long shall [Moses] be a snare to us? Let the men go, that they may serve the LORD their God. Do you not yet know that Egypt is destroyed?” (See, Ex. 10:7). But, Pharaoh would not listen. Some of the people of Egypt were so in tune with God and Moses that the Scriptures record, “… the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.” (See, Ex. 11:3). Unfortunately, Pharaoh’s arrogance blinded him to this fact and caused him not listen to the advice of Moses, his counselors, and his people.
What leadership lessons can we learn from this? First, arrogance will cause you to make unwise decisions. Second, in order to protect against arrogance, surround yourself with wise counselors and listen to their advice. A wise king once wrote: “For by wise counsel you will wage your own war, and in a multitude of counselors there is safety.” (See, Prov. 24:6). Pharaoh failed to follow this leadership principle. The power and wisdom of the this principle can be clearly seen when you compare the Pharaoh described in Genesis 41-47 with the Pharaoh described in Exodus 3-14. The Pharaoh in Genesis sought the advice of his counselors. But, the Pharaoh in Exodus did not seek advice from his counselors. The Pharaoh in Genesis heeded the advice of his counselors including Joseph. But, the Pharaoh in Exodus did not heed the advice of Moses or his counselors. The Pharaoh in Genesis was humble and listened. But, the Pharaoh in Exodus was arrogant and refused to listen. The informed decisions of the Pharaoh in Genesis caused Egypt to prosper in a famine. But, the uninformed decisions of the Pharaoh in Exodus caused the destruction of the most prosperous and powerful nation on Earth.
During our discussion last Saturday, someone asked the question: “How do you find good counselors?” We will answer that question in an upcoming email. So, look for it.
This week will again discuss Exodus Chapters 1-14. This time, however, we will look at these chapters from Moses’ leadership perspective. We hope that you will join us. We look forward to seeing you there.
Until then, may God continue to richly bless you, your family, your business, and everything else that you do!!!!
Very truly yours,
Reginald L. Winfrey, Esq.
Matt Myatt wrote an article entitled “Businesses Don’t Fail – Leaders Do”. Here is the link to that article:http://www.forbes.com/sites/mikemyatt/2012/01/12/businesses-dont-fail-leaders-do/