November 10; Should The Manager Rejoice In A Trial By Fire? MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK: 365 Daily Bible Verse & One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful
Chapter Eleven: Failure; 10 November
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings,
because we know that suffering produces perseverance;
and character, hope.
And hope does not put us to shame,
because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit,
who has been given to us.
|Should The Manager Rejoice In A Trial By Fire?|
Pattie was a good hire and I hoped to move her up to bigger projects. Assignments with greater responsibility, budget, exposure and risk. Even though she was going through the pain of growing, her manager was quietly making the wager and taking the risk.
Her performance was not a sure thing. Real growth requires bending and sacrifice and concern. To give Pattie “a chance to grow” I placed her in progressively challenging assignments. Sometimes it was painful to watch. (Yes, it hurt me more than it hurt her…)
Our current age believes that progress can come without stress. The New World Orderlies believe that a sustainable, friction-free environment can be manufactured. They tried it in the Arizona desert. “Utopia” was not pretty.
It was called the Biosphere and was all the rage from 1980’s to the early 90’s. Hippie turned Harvard MBA John Allen wanted to eliminate external randomness in life and replace our “dead civilization…and press on to build a more acceptable and satisfactory future.” Biosphere was a self-sustaining environment in a closed container—a shrink-wrapped geodesic dome for some $200 million. The Dream World didn’t come cheap.
The “scientific” Biosphere attempted to eliminate the unknowns and the bad and ban any ugly intrusion of the Uncontrolled, Polluted and Overpopulated Outside. They wanted to create a perfect tranquil environment without the normal messiness of mankind.
That is what did the killing.
The fish died. The cockroaches were fruitful and multiplied.
John Allen and nine Biospherians attempted to control variables, eliminate climate change in a risk-free zone in an enclosed man-made (very large) recycling bin. They lived for two years without direct outside contact.
It was a Skinner-like three-acre terrarium protecting the insiders from outside contamination. They wore stylish jump suits by Marilyn Monroe’s fashion designer.
A rare case where style didn’t help.
The Bio-utopian project ended in a Lord of the Flies-like management meltdown between competing factions on strategic direction. They stole food and squabbled over money. Imagine.
But we did (re)learn at least one fact of life: stress-lessness like weight-lessness is not always best. The hermetically sealed Biosphere produced weak, unhealthy, saggy trees. There was no wind, no real breeze in the bubble. No wind meant no movement of the trees. No tree movement meant no “exercise.” With no buffeting winds to bend the trees the plants became weak. Even an ill-wind would have helped.
Both plants and people need challenging head winds to become strong creatures.
The Biospherians wanted to eliminate variables and vulgarities and ended up with sick trees, dead insects and, if, given enough rope-as-time, dead people.
But the follower of Jesus looks for and expects troubles on this earth. Indeed we should rejoice in our trials. Preacher and professor Randy Yeager writes,
Why should a Christian react toward tribulation in the same way he reacts toward the thrilling prospect of eternal heavenly glory? This is an example of superrationalization that the unsaved world can never understand.
The assurance of eternal glory thrills us, and we rejoice. We are even happy when trials beset our path…It is “because we have learned that tribulation generates patience which, in turn, generates experience which, in its turn generates more hope (verse 4).
It is not the tribulation that we enjoy per se but knowledge that it generates more joy for the future. This is what St. Peter meant by “growth in grace” (2 Pet. 3:18) according to Bible scholar Randy Yeager, Ph.D..
A character in Mark Helprin’s Freddy and Fredericka, Queen Fredericka, says, “I wake up in the morning and pray for difficulties— not small ones, not ringing someone up to have him change a light bulb, but the difficulties that, by counterpressure, enliven the soul.” Helprin, Mark (2005-07-07). Freddy and Fredericka (p. 500). Penguin Group US. Kindle Edition.
Pattie was not alone. Your Business Professor back in his managing days gave assignments (re: extra work) to develop team members and to learn who could face a challenge and deliver results. Most staffers, it seemed, were content in their responsibilities and current station.
Pattie stepped up, sometimes stumbled but kept asking for even more assignments (that extra work stuff). Her every bruising decision and bloody nose made her stronger for the next opportunity. She battled for promotion and earned it.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5