Sunday, January 22, 2023

Sunday Praise & Worship Message - Pride and Humility

When I accept a new position with a company, I spend the first thirty days learning the business and, more importantly, learning about the people. As a big proponent of Lean manufacturing principles (sometimes referred to as the “Toyota Way”), I make it a point to do what are called “Gemba walks”. These walks are key to understanding the people and the processes they use to create something. It’s not enough to just think you know what is going on; you must see for yourself what is really going on.

Gemba walks, also known as "go and see" walks, are a popular method used in Lean manufacturing and process improvement to observe and identify areas of improvement in a production process. The term "gemba" is a Japanese word that refers to the "real place" where the work is being done, such as the factory floor or the office.

The purpose of a Gemba walk is to observe and understand the current state of a process, including the flow of materials, the use of equipment, and the interactions between employees. By walking through the process and observing first-hand, leaders can identify areas of inefficiency, delays, or bottlenecks that may be causing problems. They can also identify opportunities for improvement and gather valuable input from employees who work on the process daily.

The mindset of a leader doing a Gemba walk is humility. Leaders who are genuinely interested in learning about a business humble themselves and ask questions that are not condescending. A leader is there to learn and understand what is really going on and to understand what problems individuals face.
After understanding the process, the leader works on improvements to help those individuals address their problems and help them overcome obstacles. This shows that the leader is truly respectful and wants to help.

Helping each other is one of the most important things we can do. By helping one another, we show just how much we love one another. It is not enough to say it, but better to show it. Just like the example of the Gemba walk, we go out among everyone with humility in our heart and the desire to make things better for others. That is putting love into action. But, it must be done out of humility and love.

I have worked for and with others who came into a company and started to “throw their weight around” and let others know who’s the boss. They start pointing out faults in processes without truly trying to understand why things are done the way they are done. They tend to show no respect for others and are happy to point out flaws. These leaders do not humble themselves or try to show respect for others. All they can do is point out faults and proceed to disrupt a business in a bad way. 

The author of Proverbs wrote, “Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2 NLT)

If you are driven by pride, then disgrace and downfall are on the horizon for you. Going back to my business example, prideful leaders who think they know everything and how to make things better without truly understanding the people and the processes will soon find themselves asked to leave the company.

Being a leader is more than just solving problems. It is all about understanding things and making connections with those around you and understanding what they face daily. It is working to promote their needs over your own and making sure they have everything necessary to feel fulfilled professionally and personally. Some leaders will profess that they are there to help, but most are just interested in getting promoted. They came in as senior managers and already have their sights on becoming a director or higher. 

But, when a leader truly comes in with humility and learns the business, that person gains the respect of his peers and other leaders in the company. Everyone looks to that individual for help. No matter how small or large the problem is, that person is the one who can help. By being humble and asking questions that are respectful, that leader will gain wisdom in order to help those who need help.

I know that this message sounds more like a Harvard Business School article, but it does drive home the point of humility and pride. If you act out of pride, it will lead to disgrace and destruction. If, on the other hand, you reach out to others in humility and love, you will achieve honor and wisdom. 
James wrote, “Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up in honor.” (James 4:10 NLT)
If we remain humble before the Lord and show His love to others, then God will lift us up in honor. By living a humble life and walking daily in righteousness, we can stand firm in His grace.

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

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