“For whoever has will be given more, and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 25:29)
Ouch, this is quite a warning. We all have been given a set of gifts, talents, personality, an allocation of time and resources. The question is how have we taken what we have been given and applied it to being effective in the Kingdom of God? Have we reaped a return from what we have been given?
These are big questions. Do we have adequate answers? It is worth taking some time to take what we have been given before God, and to ask Him for His wisdom in applying what we have, to seeing His Kingdom established.
Quick Prayer. “Help me to be faithful with what you have entrusted to me Lord.” Amen
Honoured to be interviewed by Asia Pacific Associate Editor for Entrepreneur.com, Aashika Jain. In this article I cover what makes a good leader and why culture is so important. Enjoy!
Great Leaders Only Serve Their Teams says This Leadership Advisor You are only as good as the people around you, says Mark Bilton. Leading 40 countries as the Group Managing Director of one of the most popular coffee chains in the world is no cake walk.
When it comes to culture, strategy and transformational change, Mark Bilton raises his hand as among the best in the world. In 2011 he was awarded the Young President’s Organization’s prestigious ‘Terry Plochman Award’ for global “Best of the Best”. He has also bagged the Michael Page ‘2014 Australian Retail Executive Award’.
But having led Gloria Jean’s Coffees’ global business as the Group MD is not Bilton’s only feat.
His Director expertise and experience includes positions in Charles Parsons Group, POD Limited (NZX), Hagemeyer Brands Australia and non-executive positions in more than 6 other companies.
In his current role as the Managing Director of leadership advisory – Thought Patrol – his mission has been to reframe leadership and humanize the workplace.
Entrepreneur Asia Pacific caught up with Bilton for his perspective on various aspects of leadership. Below are the excerpts.
You believe in hacking leadership – how can this be done?
Leadership in the industrial revolution has been command and control. That style is no longer effective; to remain fast, focused and flexible, leaders need to be more transparent, collaborative and empowering. In my leadership practice, we talk about hacking leadership. It is about challenging leaders thinking and helping them be more effective. When we change how we think, we change how we act.
What is the biggest challenge in managing a company?
You can never manage by yourself, by definition leaders need people to lead. The greatest challenge for leaders is creating an environment where the team can be effective.
Who makes a good leader according to you?
Great leaders activate a team – they act as a catalyst to release potential. Good leaders are transparent, authentic and collaborative. They have an ability to clarify, simplify and define reality. They can galvanize a team to action and create a sense of purpose. Ultimately, great leaders serve their teams.
In your twenty years as a turnaround specialist, what has been learning?
You are only as good as the people around you. Hire the best, agree on what needs to happen, and let them get on with it. It sounds so simple but we make business way to complex. There is power in simplicity.
What would you count as the best advice given to your leadership team as the MD of Gloria Jean’s Coffee?
In a massive turnaround with a high degree of urgency, the best advice was to keep focus on the simple outcomes required for success. Business is full of noise and distractions; clarity of actions and outcomes is critical for a positive result. If you major on the majors you can’t sweat the small stuff. This creates momentum and momentum creates progress.
What are the top 5 strategies to lead a company?
- Be visible.
- Be authentic.
- Collaborate to build a clear vision.
- Create a culture of trust, respect, and honour for all, regardless of role.
- Empower your team to act.
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“But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.” (Eph 5:3)
We are all sexual beings, and at work we spend a lot of time with others. There is always temptation and relationship risk when we work closely with others.
Where should we place the boundaries to protect ourselves and our partners? God places the line way back beyond where we might think. There should not even be a hint of immorality—not even the slightest innuendo or flirt.
When you take care of the way it looks, you actually take care of the way it is. If it can be interpreted wrongly, then give it a wide berth. Too many have succumbed to a workplace affair. If you are in danger of being snared, then flee before it is too late.
Quick Prayer: Protect my virtue, give me wisdom, and keep me pure. Amen.
“But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (Luk 6:35)
I do struggle with God’s logic sometimes. Here again we are called to walk in a way that on the surface is just plain crazy. Why would you do good to your enemies? Lending to someone who hates you just lacks plain common sense.
Yet it is God who says this is the best and wisest way, so who are we to argue with our Creator? He works on the heart of man in strange and mysterious ways. When we walk in forgiveness and mercy, we see God’s hand at work in our own lives. When we do things His way, we are freed from the dark places in our own souls.
God treats the Godly and ungodly with kindness, and so should we.
Quick Prayer: Keep me crazy, Jesus. Amen.
“She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.” (Pro 31:16)
Jesus was, and is, one of the greatest liberators of women in history—so much so that early writings see the ‘Christian Way’ as a political movement rather than a religious one. A key reason for this was the empowerment of women. In the society of the time, women were regarded as little more than chattels.
The clearest example we have of a great businessperson in the Bible is the Proverbs 31 woman. Here is a wonderful example of wisdom, application, diligence, and fiscal responsibility.
God is definitely into having women in business, so let’s not get in His way with some of our religiosity. There is no glass ceiling in God’s economy; He will exalt women into leadership roles if they allow Him to do so.
Quick Prayer: I will honor women as You did, Jesus. Amen.
“‘It’s no good, it’s no good!’ says the buyer—then goes off and boasts about the purchase.” (Pro 20:14)
This is such a true proverb. Whenever I have been involved in negotiations in business, I have often seen this behavior. God understands the motives and behaviors of men.
It is good to know that God has our best in mind. When you are involved in any kind of negotiation or deal, why not ask for His wisdom and insight? You may be surprised by the outcome.
God is interested in the outcome because it impacts us, His children. When we ask for His involvement, He is always there to be a part of what we are doing. God is often left out because we think He is not interested in some part of our lives. He is enormously interested in every aspect of our work life—even deals.
Quick Prayer: Give me Your wisdom in the deal please, Lord. Amen.
“Woe to you who add house to house and join field to field till no space is left and you live alone in the land.” (Isa 5:8)
Is there anything wrong with building a house? No, nor is there anything wrong with building many. The same is true of land and the acquisition of real estate. So why is there woe attached to this case?
There are two outcomes here: there is no space left, and the person building is left all alone. What is the lesson here? I think there are two. Our personal lives can be impacted when we build and work to acquire, at the expense of all else. When we have no balance, not only do we consume resources and leave nothing for others to use, but we also burn the goodwill we need to maintain relationships. We end up with a lot of physical stuff but with no one to share it with.
Quick Prayer: Keep me aware of my impact on those around me, Lord. Amen.
“They should collect all the food of these good years that are coming and store up the grain under the authority of Pharaoh, to be kept in the cities for food.” (Gen 41:35)
The wisdom of God and His revelation to Joseph not only moved a man from prison to prime minister in a day, but it also saved a nation from being destroyed by famine.
This is a dramatic demonstration of the intervention of God through revelation. He talks to those who listen and warns those who will heed His voice. When we take the time to invite Him into our work, we will receive insight and revelation.
While saving a nation is a big deal, God is also interested in the smaller scale. We have every hair on our head numbered and every minute of every day accounted for. Large or small, what we face is of interest to Him.
Quick Prayer: Give me wisdom and insight into the future. Amen.