Surprise! Surprise!

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Do you use people and love the things they do for you? Or do you love people and use the things they do for you?

Have you ever been completely surprised by the abrupt resignation of someone on your team?

Have you ever gotten a call from your wife telling you that your teenage son or daughter has done something totally out of character?

It feels like a kick in the groin, doesn’t it?

That’s how you feel when someone you’ve invested in surprises you with a decision that comes out of the blue, especially if you’ve gone the extra mile to help that person along the way.

Let’s focus on the employee who quits unexpectedly since it’s the simplest example:

People get better jobs…people move on. That’s understood and accepted.

But how do we avoid getting blindsided by these decisions? Why are we not included in their deliberations? Do they not trust us? Are they afraid of us? What should we do differently in the future?

Answer:  We have to know our people’s hearts and we have to let them know ours.

We have to study our key people…know what’s important to them and know “what makes them tick,” as they say. We do this when we hire them. But after awhile, we forget and start taking them for granted. We get busy; they’re busy. It stops productivity for both of us to sit down and talk…I mean, just talk. But those conversations are the only way we can stay connected to a person’s heart, know what’s going on with them, and get invited to participate in their decisions instead of being blindsided.

The next question is even harder:

What motivates us to know another person’s heart?

If we’re prying into their thoughts so we can manage or manipulate them to keep them with our companies and use them, we’re on dangerous ground. People are smart and they’ll see right through us.

But if we want to know them because we truly love them with agape and phileo love, with unconditional and brotherly love, they’ll know it. If we truly have their best interests at heart, regardless of how the outcome may affect us, we’ll be trusted, collaborated with, and included in their decision making processes. Not always, but most of the time.

Certain things have to be in place for us to have their best interests at heart. For instance, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider  others  better than yourselves" (Philippians 2:3). If God is God…if His Word is true, and if He tells us to put others ahead of ourselves and we obey Him, then we have no choice but to trust Him to deliver the outcome He wants. This may mean less business, higher payroll costs, more time off for our employees, a slower pace, lower productivity, etc.

In our flesh, these outcomes seem impractical, illogical, and certainly suboptimal.

But we don’t see as God sees, and He can do anything He wants. (Consider Chick-Fil-A’s illogical decision to close on Sunday. Yet God delivers sales in the other six days that exceed their competitors' sales in seven!)

God is about motive…always.

What is your motive when it comes to your people? Do you use people and love the things they do for you? Or do you love people and use the things they do for you?

The true-to-life answer may be found in how often you’re surprised.

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