Beliefs that matter Featured

9:57am EDT July 22, 2002

When I was a young boy, the old minister at our little church gave a sermon that, for some reason, still sticks in my mind. The sermon, entitled, “Beliefs That Matter,” primarily addressed beliefs of a spiritual nature that could have an impact on a person’s life.

The message was a simple one, but it continues to remind me of the importance of our beliefs and their role in our daily lives. We tend to become committed to the things we believe in. The message, in spite of its simplicity, has many applications.

Of all the things we believe in — or think we believe in — which really matter? Which are important enough to commit to — to build a life upon? So often, we don’t give this much thought.

If you don’t believe in something, chances are your life will slip by and you will never glean a full measure from the effort you put forth. You will find that your efforts have been dissipated across a broad spectrum of possibilities without making the impact you may have intended.

We as individuals might choose to focus our attention on any number of areas. As the leader of a growing organization, you’ll find several where you can make a significant contribution.

  • Believe in your organization. Too often, leaders are not managing to win. Rather, they manage to avoid losing. Many organizations are being managed defensively. Aggressiveness is set aside in favor of maintaining the status quo.

    This strategy rarely works. It doesn’t work very often in sports, and it doesn’t work in business. Believe in your organization enough to sustain aggressive growth. In today’s economy, an organization that aspires only to hold on to what it has will soon be swept away by a competitor that can respond more quickly to changes in the marketplace.

  • Believe in your people. Over the years, I have heard any number of CEOs stand at company dinners or picnics and tell their employees how important they are. They would say something like, “If all our buildings were to burn to the ground, and I still had all of you, I could begin again and rebuild the company!”

    It was a nice sentiment and seemed to be appreciated. But today it seems that some of organizations, make that many organizations, have lost sight of the fact that it is employees who make the wheels turn.

    To grow your organization, it’s important to recognize the value of your people and the role they play in your success. A lack of confidence limits a person’s growth. By increasing their confidence, you will greatly enhance their value as employees. Invest in training. Help them learn new skills that will make your organization stronger. In return, they will continue to add value to the organization.

  • Believe in yourself. To be an effective leader, you must believe in yourself. I’m not talking about ego. I’m referring to self-esteem — your confidence. Ego often interferes with the ability to recognize available options. It may prevent you from seeking advice from others, resulting in decisions that are less than optimal. It may even interfere with your personal relationships — at home as well as at work.

  • Put the ego aside. Put your trust in your abilities and your intuition. Recognize and understand the importance of your position as a positive role model and leader.

    Believe in yourself — make a difference!

And thank you, Reverend Lemmon, for reminding us that our beliefs do matter.

William Armstrong, a management consultant for nearly 30 years, is president of Armstrong/Associates, a Pittsburgh-based management consulting firm. The second edition of his book, “Catalytic Management: Success by Design” (McGraw-Hill), is available at book stores. He can be reached at (412 )276-7396.